A sales cycle refers to the series of steps or stages that a salesperson or sales team goes through to close a deal. Our goal is always to find the shortest direct line from inquiry to sale, but it’s never that easy. 

If you've ever found yourself wondering why deals seem to be filled with twists, turns, and unexpected detours, you’re not alone.

While the quest for the perfect sales cycle is a difficult one, identifying delays and bottlenecks for when deals get stuck or moving too slow through your sales pipeline should be on your radar to keep the revenue flowing in smoothly. 

In this blog, we're diving into 8 tried-and-true strategies to smooth out those bumps and speed up your sales cycle. So, grab your favorite beverage, kick back, and let's find ways to accelerate your sales process!

8 best ways to speed up your sales process

1. Define clear messaging and value

2. Work WITH prospects to find a solution

3. Address deal breakers and obstacles early on

4. Talk to the decision maker from the start

5. Map out a plan for each deal stage 

6. Identify stuck deals

7. Automate your playbooks 

8. Standardize your deal desk process

1. Define clear messaging and value

Your messaging should be crystal clear and focused on the value proposition for your potential customers. If your reps aren’t even clear about where you bring value, what the heck will your prospects be thinking?

Have this documented for your team. What is your ICP? What problem does your product or service solve for them? How does your solution benefit each persona? A big one - How are you different from your competitors? 

Run through different scenarios with your reps and practice, practice, practice! Reps should know exactly who they are talking to, what their pain points will be, and the messaging that aligns with each question, obstacle, or situation that is presented.

2. Work WITH prospects to find a solution

A lot of reps fall into the trap of talking TO the prospect instead of working WITH them to find a solution. Reps need to be curious and ask questions, stepping into the role of a consultant who genuinely aims to help eliminate their frustrations and come up with a solution that will actually help.

Rather than selling a solution, work collaboratively with your prospects. Understand their pain points, challenges, and goals. By involving them in the process of finding a solution, you create a sense of ownership and buy-in. This approach not only builds trust but also speeds up the decision-making process.

Make sure you know how to properly dive into discovery, gathering as much information and understanding as possible from the start. This way, you can fully grasp their needs and every frustration they have with their current workflows.

3. Address deal breakers and obstacles early on

This is a controversial one, a lot of salespeople hesitate to talk about any deal breakers or obstacles that may pop up. Of course, you don't want to risk losing the deal by bringing up these concerns.

Don't wait until the later stages of the sales cycle to address potential issues that will delay or kill a deal. Bring up any concerns or challenges early in the conversation.

Because guess what - deal breakers and obstacles are always there. It's better to identify them upfront so you can either work on finding a solution together or gracefully part ways without wasting anyone's time. 

4. Talk to the decision maker from the start

Nothing puts the brakes on closing a deal quite like investing time in multiple meetings, only to discover that the person you've been chatting with can't actually make the purchase. Then it's back to square one, trying to win over the decision maker, address their concerns, and get them excited about your solution.

Identifying and engaging with decision makers early on can really speed up your sales cycle. If you do find out your contact isn't the one with the purchasing power, don't stress. Use this chance to learn more about their workflows and needs—they might end up being your biggest champion

And get the decision makers involved in the conversations ASAP. Getting them in meetings early can smooth out the process and get you to that "yes" much faster.

5. Map out a plan for each deal stage

Plan out EVERY conversation to keep the ball rolling. Don't just pencil in meetings and wing it with a casual 'How's it going?' You'll end up hitting roadblocks or getting stuck. You do want to move the deal forward with meaningful milestones that align with the prospects needs and timeline. 

Approach each stage of the sales process with a clear plan. Know what actions need to be taken, what information needs to be gathered, and what next steps need to be achieved. This prevents delays and keeps the momentum going towards closing the deal.

Bring value to every conversation you have. Dive into the buying process and understand what your prospect needs to make a decision. Then, make it happen!  

6. Identify stuck deals

Many of you might have gone straight to this section, getting deals unstuck can keep you up at night. 

The best way to identify stuck deals is through data-driven pipeline reviews. Start by keeping an eye on your pipeline pacing. Where do you see the most deals getting stuck? Look for any patterns or trends around deals not closing, and then work to eliminate those bottlenecks.

We suggest having a conversation and revenue intelligence tool. These help you keep tabs on the sentiment in all your conversations and make it easier to spot potential risks across your pipeline. Are you talking to the right person? Do your conversations have more negative moments from your buyer? Did you rep forget to identify next steps? This can be a great way to find these blockers easily and address them immediately. 

How do we coach our reps to get deals unstuck and moving fast? We keep an eye out for any anomalies happening in the pipeline, especially actions or behaviors from the buyers. By spotting these early, we can speed up our sales process and keep things flowing smoothly.

7. Automate your playbooks 

First, you need to set up and activate playbooks to enhance the buyer's experience. Playbooks should exactly align with the opportunity stages and buyer journey. This means serving up relevant content at the right moments and recognizing buying signals that can speed up the sales process. For instance, if a buyer looks at a pricing page, we respond with a targeted message that matches that intent.

Next, we want to automate as much as possible for the reps. Automated alerts to reps and personalized content for buyers help keep things moving smoothly. For instance, if there's a trial involved, reps get alerted to analyze usage patterns. If they're checking out specific content on our website, we can automate tailored responses to guide them towards a decision faster. 

Sales playbooks provide a roadmap for your sales team, outlining the best practices, messaging, and strategies for different scenarios. By automating these playbooks, you can ensure consistency across your team and streamline repetitive tasks, freeing up time for more meaningful interactions with prospects.

8. Standardize your deal desk process

Many organizations face sales cycle bottlenecks because they haven't standardized their purchasing process. This could involve simply defining negotiation guidelines, specifying when to offer discounts, and setting clear thresholds. Being explicit allows account executives to confidently navigate deals.

For example, when offering pilots or trials, it's crucial to establish success criteria for these initiatives. Another effective tactic to shorten the sales cycle is presenting mutual action plans, aligning both parties on the path forward.

Having clear pricing playbooks helps avoid surprises. You want to steer clear of devaluing your offering with unnecessary discounts or getting into pricing battles. Again, providing transparent pricing guidelines early in discussions with prospects prevents deal delays. When buyers understand their needs and see the value you offer, they're more likely to say yes quickly. When negotiations get stuck on price, it usually means something is unclear or missing.

How Avoma can help shorten your sales cycles

Avoma is an AI Meeting Assistant and Conversation Intelligence solution to boost your sales team's performance, resulting in increased revenue, higher closing rates, and accelerated sales cycles.

Using AI, Avoma provides insights into why your deals might be at risk and where revenue opportunities might be stuck in your pipeline. You'll have a comprehensive look at all customer interactions, giving you valuable data on your pipeline's health.

Here are a few features that might grab your attention:

1. Automated Meeting Transcription and Analysis

Avoma automates meeting transcription and analysis, saving you from hours of listening to recordings or taking notes. Instantly access key insights, action items, and customer sentiments, allowing you to focus on next steps and speed up deal progress.

2. Conversation Intelligence

Gain deep insights across all customer interactions, uncovering key insights and trends like common business needs, objections, and competitor mentions. Avoma also reveals the main topics and questions discussed during meetings, such as intros, demos, and pricing, so you can effectively coach your team to have more strategic and effective conversations. Receive timely daily and weekly alerts for crucial insights, from potential customer churn signals to key buyer signals. 

3. Enhanced Collaboration and Coaching

Avoma promotes collaboration and coaching across your organization. Share meeting insights, best practices, and successful strategies with team members to boost performance. AI objectively scores every conversation based on context and objective criteria, highlighting areas for improvement. This continuous learning and improvement cycle empowers your team to refine their approach and close deals faster.

4. Deal and Revenue Intelligence

Stay on top of your deals with Avoma's real-time deal insights and deal risk alerts. Deal Intelligence gives you an instant overview of your sales pipeline health, ensuring you can take timely action on stalled deals. Receive notifications for key milestones, deal progress, or potential risks. Whether it's a missed opportunity, a new buying signal, or an overdue follow-up, Avoma keeps you informed so you can take immediate action and keep the sales cycle moving.

Talk to our sales team, or sign up to start using Avoma for free

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