If you're in sales, then you know that the cycle can sometimes be long and drawn out. You might make a great pitch and have a client interested, but then they disappear for weeks (or even months) before getting back to you.
We all know the drill - prepare your sales demo, follow up on leads, and close deals. Unfortunately, the economic downturn is slowing down many deals. Sales cycles that were once two weeks are now three or four because of fear amongst reps.
Depending on the industry, sales cycles can vary greatly in length. For example, if you're selling into eCommerce right now, you may experience a slight slow-down, but if a sales team is properly trained, they should close more deals than ever since Summer is ending and the holiday season is just a few months away.
If companies you're selling into have also seen major layoffs, then I imagine that has a DIRECT impact on purchasing timeline. With less staff, more hands are on deck and less time to evaluate a solution that was once a priority when they had investors pouring in money.
If you're in the business-to-business (B2B) software-as-a-service (SaaS) space, you're probably used to shorter sales cycles. But what do you do when you're dealing with longer sales cycles?
What’s the Typical B2B Sales Cycle Length?
HubSpot did a study and found that the typical B2B sales cycle length is 84 days.
The length of the b2b sales cycle will vary depending on a number of factors, including:
The size and complexity of the sale
The industry sector
The purchasing company's own internal processes
However, there are some general trends that can give us an idea of the average b2b sales cycle length.
Here are four steps to help you understand your deals' sales cycles:
Step 1: Study your buyer’s industry
Step one to understanding your buyer is studying their industry. This will help you understand the language they use, the pain points they're feeling and overall what's happening in their world. You might be surprised at how much you don't know about their industry and that's okay!
We can't be experts in everything, but by taking the time to brush up on some basics, you'll be able to converse with buyers like a pro in no time. Not sure where to start? Try reading some trade publications or following some key influencers on social media.
If you want to go the extra mile, consider attending an industry conference or two. There's no substitute for first-hand experience! By getting immersed in their world, you'll be able to more easily put yourself in their shoes and understand what they're looking for from a vendor.
For example, here are 2 things that will help you better understand your buyer:
What’s changed in their world that could be affecting their time to buy?
Set up Google alerts (and do a manual search) for the industry you sell into (e.g. "martech") and see if anything drastic has changed in that industry (see example below)
Step 2: Study your buyer’s company
Before you can begin tailoring your pitch to a specific buyer, you need to learn as much as you can about their company. What are their core values? What are their pain points? What are their goals? The more you know about the buyer's company, the better equipped you'll be to make a compelling case for why they should do business with you.
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to help you research a buyer's company. You can start by looking at their website and social media accounts, and then doing a general internet search. You can also ask for recommendations from your network of contacts.
Here are 2 tactical things you can do to better understand your buyer's company.
Have they been seeing layoffs recently that could be causing a delay in purchasing?
LinkedIn and LinkedIn users is a great source to use for this
Step 3: Study your sales calls:
As a salesperson, one of the most important things you can do is to study your sales calls. By reviewing your calls, you can identify areas where you can improve your sales technique. You can also learn from your successes and figure out what works best in certain situations. Additionally, studying your sales calls can help you build relationships with customers and better understand their needs.
Of course, studying your sales calls takes time and effort. However, it is well worth the investment. By taking the time to review your sales calls, you can take your sales skills to the next level.
Are you properly doing discovery at the deepest level to identify pain, goals, other decision makers/influencers, timelines, and budgets, business processes?
Were there deals that you should have closed but didn't?
If you need a free resource to work on sales discovery and closing, check this out.
Step 4: Speak to colleagues outside and inside of your organization:
There's no doubt that research plays an important role in any organization, but it's also essential to keep in mind the importance of speaking to colleagues in other companies as well as your own. After all, they may have different perspectives and insights that can help you to improve your research skills.
In addition, speaking to colleagues in other companies ca
Speak internally to your sales colleagues and see if they've been experiencing a slowdown in sales cycles and why.
Schedule conversations (or do it impromptu via chat) with other sales leaders from other companies to see if:
They’ve been experiencing a slower sales cycle.
If they identified why that was for their customers.
Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways FDTC can help: