The numbers are in: Research shows it’s taking longer than ever for businesses to close a deal. In fact, 30 percent of salespeople surveyed said making a sale is a lot more complicated than it was a few years ago.
For starters, it’s become more difficult for salespeople to hit their quota. It now takes eight to ten touches just to onboard a new client.
Longer sales cycles can hurt your business in several ways. Less predictability, more disruption, doubting investors, and growing future capital needs are all side effects of a lengthy sales cycle — especially if you’re selling lower-priced products and services.
As a result, companies have to employ bigger sales teams to meet their yearly growth objectives.
The bottom line: It’s time to shorten your sales cycle if you want your business to succeed. Get the interactions and touches down to workable numbers so that it’s still profitable to gain new prospects.
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How do I shorten the sales cycle?
The first thing to remember is not everyone wants to – or is able to – do business with you.
A good sales cycle is only as cost-effective as the quality of the prospect going through it. So figure out your ideal customer and work with those potential buyers only.
Prospects should feel welcomed when they interact with you – your attention to detail, response time, and the ability to follow up can make a world of difference to the length of your sales cycle.
Of course, your pitch and demos matter as well, but ultimately it comes down to how the prospect feels about your presentation.
A quick turn-around or response time is vital to ensure that the prospect chooses you over your competitors. Be present with the answers to potential customers’ questions, and engage them to figure out how they like to buy instead of subjecting them to the way you want to sell.
Here are four tried-and-tested strategies to shorten sales cycles and drive revenue for your business.
1. Get rid of cold leads
Nearly 96% of all your website’s visitors are only window shopping. They won’t convert, no matter how hard you work on them.
The best solution is to eliminate them from your sales cycle entirely, and instead focus on prospects who are more likely to convert.
You’ll be better off nurturing leads who are actively looking for a solution to their problem. You can differentiate them from the crowd because they show genuine interest in buying your products and services. For example, they answer a quiz or download content from your Messenger bot.
Carefully look at your database and get rid of any leads that’ll end up wasting your time and resources.
Messenger bots can qualify potential leads right off the bat, and continue to build a connection with them on autopilot.
Take the example of a juice brand called Organifi. The company attracted qualified leads by asking them if they wanted a Detox Guide using a Facebook post. The catch was that it also mentioned that anyone who clicked on the post would get the guide in their chat window.
In short, they knew that anyone who wanted the eBook guide was interested in their content, and that made them a great lead.
2. Challenge and educate
Buyers are smart and more in control of the sales process than ever before. Which is why sellers must earn the right to gain their time and attention.
You can do this by demonstrating your value to them — show them how you can solve their problems and find new opportunities.
Show leadership with your knowledge and excellence in service. This might seem like a long route, but it’s a great way to shorten the sales cycle.
Personalize your messaging to ensure it’s relevant to the prospects’ needs. If your salespeople consistently deliver the same message to the same person, every single time, your prospects will start believing that they don’t matter to you.
To personalize your service, it’s a good idea to deploy Facebook Messenger bots to customize the content around your product, service, or customer experience.
For example, the Google Ads page on Facebook has a bot that works great for this purpose. The bot starts by sending a 3-option lead form, asking what Google products you’d be most interested in learning about.
3. Customize your sales strategy
Once you have uncovered the needs and requirements of your prospective buyer, only then you should present them with your products and services.
If you show them what you want them to buy before you’ve learned their pain point, you run the risk of hearing, “I need to think about it!”
That’s when they STOP thinking about it and move on – if your prospects don’t know how your product/service can fulfill their needs, then nothing in the world can shorten your sales cycle.
The team at Lego came up with a great idea to get over this dilemma with the help of a Facebook Messenger bot programmed to learn more about the prospect through specific questions.
With queries like “Where are you from?” or “What’s your budget?,” the bot gets an accurate idea of who the prospect is. Then, it helps them along the buyer funnel with button prompts to figure out what exactly are they looking for.
Once the prospect finds something they like, the Messenger bot quickly takes them to a webpage where the item is already waiting for them in a cart, ready for checkout.
Overall, this is a perfect example of how to improve your sales strategy using the right tools.
4. Be attentive and available at all times
If your Facebook page is swamped with messages from people who want to know more about your products or services, that’s a good thing.
Messenger bots are helping many small and large businesses save time and effort in terms of customer support. And the best part is that these bots are always on!
If you want to cut a long sales cycle short, start a conversation with your clients. But instead of hiring an expensive 24/7 customer support team to do this, create a Facebook Messenger bot to do it organically.
These bots can not only answer hundreds of questions at once, but they can also redirect people to specific web pages if they want more information.
In fact, the clothing brand Lululemon has a trained concierge bot to do all of this for them. The bot helps build up a good sales flow as it answers all your questions and helps you find what you are looking for.
What does your sales cycle look like?
A Google report tells us that now, almost half of all buyers are millennials.
With such a massive shift in buyers, how do you expect the traditional sales cycles to be effective with anymore?
It’s time to shift your strategy if you want to shorten your sales cycles. These days, around 54% of salespeople close deals due to engagement on social media. And using a Facebook Messenger bot is an excellent way to solve problems associated with long sales cycles.
Pick one or more of the strategies mentioned above and fill your sales pipeline with leads who will convert into buyers quickly and efficiently.