5 ways to shorten your sales cycle
You might have heard the phrase “Time kills all deals.” This is more than just a motivational quip that sales leaders call out on a sluggish Monday morning. The quicker you can move prospects and customers through the buying journey, the greater your chance of conversion — and the lower your customer acquisition cost.
Unfortunately, according to a recent survey, 68% of respondents agreed that the B2B sales cycle has increased over the last year. But no matter whether you’re a B2B or B2C business, everyone can benefit from a shorter sales cycle.
Here are five ways you can slash the length of your sales cycle by using a unified business communications and analytics platform like CallRail. You’ll win more customers in a shorter timeframe while using fewer resources in the process.
How CallRail shortens sales cycles
CallRail’s all-encompassing suite of products adds value at each stage of the sales cycle. Together, they shed light on who your customers are, what they want, and which marketing tactics are successful. They also let you automate key sales workflows that allow you to perfect your sales approach going forward.
Let’s dig into the key tactics you should use to shorten your sales cycle before outlining how CallRail’s tools can help.
Invest in marketing that drives ROI
Every marketer wants to see a healthy return on investment (ROI) from their efforts. For too long, marketers have been left in the dark about how effective their strategies have _actually _been.
However, in the age of multi-touch attribution and the widespread proliferation of data, this is no longer the case. But the question remains: How do you know what actually works? How can you identify which particular marketing strategies drive inbound leads?
Call Tracking (via dynamic number insertions, or DNIs) and Form Tracking (via snippets of code you add to your web pages) directly link inbound communications to the marketing that drives prospects to your business. Thanks to these tools’ multi-touch attribution capabilities, you can gain an accurate, comprehensive view of your specific per-channel and per-campaign performance.
You can precisely pinpoint where every single customer has come from and easily link marketing investment to tangible results on your organization's bottom line.
Call Tracking and Form Tracking also allow you to go one step deeper and understand what your results _actually _mean. Imagine you take a look at Google Analytics and see a recent spike in traffic coming from Facebook Ads. Great! Your Facebook Ads investment is clearly paying off. Well … not necessarily. Perhaps these ads are driving lots of traffic, but when you do a little digging, you see they aren’t resulting in conversions. So how can you figure out what to do instead?
Layering Conversation Intelligence on top of Call Tracking and Form Tracking can help. Form Tracking and Call Tracking link inbound communications to marketing. By diving into these tools, you see that most of your high-value Facebook leads have actually come from your organic posts — not from your Facebook Ads. Since Conversation Intelligence provides complete call transcripts if you turn on Call Recording in Call Tracking, you can review the conversations to determine the quality of the leads being generated from that particular source. In the example above, you may find that the prospect says on a call that they actually found your ad in the local newspaper.
The best part is, you don’t even have to manually pore over transcripts to find these hidden nuggets. Automation Rules — a Conversation Intelligence feature — uses AI-based technology to automatically scour conversations for relevant or sought-after keywords.
Thanks to Call Tracking, Form Tracking, and Conversation Intelligence, you’ll be able to hone in on which marketing actually drives ROI, and you can optimize your marketing tactics to accelerate the path to purchase. Double down on these winning strategies to bring more prospects into the funnel — and to move them through the sales cycle as quickly as possible. After all, shortening the sales cycle is both a marketing and a sales team effort.
Recommended reading: Download “The marketer’s guide to proving ROI”
Know your customers to provide personalized experiences
Your customers all have their own specific sets of wants and needs. If you’re a dental practice, prospects looking for restorative dentistry have different questions and requirements than a prospect who just wants to book an appointment with a hygienist.
This is no surprise. But what does it have to do with shortening the sales cycle?
In an ideal world, you want your customers to go from point A (finding out about your company) to point B (converting) as quickly and as easily as possible. But this is hindered when prospects have to repeat themselves multiple times to different agents. Not only does this unnecessarily lengthen the conversations they have with your staff, but it is incredibly frustrating — and it might undo some of the good work that you have done up until that point.
The answer, as simple as it sounds, is actually incredibly powerful: Know your customer.
That’s where Lead Center comes in, unified business communications software that gives you a complete, holistic view of all interactions with prospects and customers to date. It’s completely centralized and integrates with all your inbound and outbound channels (calls, forms, emails, and live chat). You’ll know exactly when each prospect/customer got in touch, why, and where they came from.
It doesn’t matter if one of your agents hasn’t spoken to this individual customer before — Lead Center allows anyone to dive in and take the reins straight away. You can truly understand each individual customer in detail: wants, needs, pain points, and so on.
This means you can quickly cut to the chase, saving unnecessary time that’s usually wasted on finding out who’s calling and why. Plus, you’ll also set yourself apart from other less CX-focused competitors, which will also help to reduce your sales cycle.
Related reading: 4 ways Lead Center helps you make the most of Call Tracking
Know which prospects/customers to target
To shorten the sales cycle, you must target the prospects and customers who are most likely to have a genuine need for your products or services. This means that lead qualification — classifying leads according to their propensity to buy — is a crucial activity.
But it’s difficult to pick up on exactly what each individual customer wants and needs if you’re simply left with an ever-increasing log of all calls. The solution? Use Call Tracking and Conversation Intelligence together.
With Call Tracking turned on, you can record all calls while Conversation Intelligence transcribes them. Reps can put down their pen and paper and focus on the customer at the other end of the line, instead of madly scribbling down notes in case they forget any key details.
Not only will you know where every caller is coming from (meaning you can avoid the awkward “How’d you hear about us?” intro), but you’ll also have a complete record of everything they say to a member of your team. You can directly pinpoint which prospects have a genuine need for your products, which are ready to buy, and which are just searching for more information but don’t seem all that interested. Then, you can focus your efforts on genuinely qualified prospects/customers — instead of wasting time and energy on those who aren’t yet ready to convert.
That said, there is a “but” here. Call recordings are great at helping you accurately qualify leads, but you don’t want to have to re-listen to every individual call before picking out the important points. That’d be counter-intuitive if you’re looking to shorten the sales cycle.
Fortunately, Conversation Intelligence provides just the answer.
It allows you to transcribe, analyze, and score/qualify all your calls in a flash. Automation Rules automates this process, instantly classifying and categorizing leads whenever a specific behavior is met in its calls and form submissions — or when a keyword/phrase is mentioned. You can even pick and choose from a wide range of ready-to-go templates, cutting down even further on the time needed to set it up.
Hone in on prospects who are most likely to convert, using automation to instantly pick out key indicators that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. Pour your energy into converting these prospects and put less qualified leads on the back burner (at least for the time being).
Know your offer
We’re not suggesting that you don't know your own business — of course you do. But there’s a difference between knowing what you do and knowing how to convey that to customers. Perhaps your home repair services mainly focus on safety. After all, the bulk of your work focuses on asbestos identification and removal, damp and mold prevention, structural repairs, etc.
These areas can all affect inhabitants’ safety, so this is the main idea that you hammer home in all your messaging: We make your home safer.
But a funny thing happens. You notice during sales calls that prospects don’t appear all that concerned about safety — instead, their main concern is whether or not you will help them increase the resale value of their home.
This doesn't mean that you should ignore the safety benefits of your service. It does, however, mean that you might want to rethink your messaging. Instead of leading with safety-related arguments, perhaps your service would resonate more with prospects if you used customer case studies where your work led to an X% rise in their home’s value.
The example above is fairly simplistic. But for businesses that offer a wide array of products and services, insights like these can often go unnoticed. One rep might notice that a few prospects resonate more with your product’s secondary or tertiary messaging than with its primary messaging. What they don’t realize, though, is that tons of other reps have found the same thing, only they’ve also believed these instances to just be minor, infrequent occurrences.
You can drastically slash your sales cycles by pinpointing the precise messaging that resonates best with your prospects. This is a no-brainer. But how can you do this at scale while spending as little manual time and effort as possible?
Use Conversation Intelligence and Automation Rules.
Conversation Intelligence instantly transcribes all your calls, meaning all customer communications are automatically captured within Lead Center — from that point on, anyone can access these transcripts at any time. Then, using Automation Rules, you can analyze these transcripts and pick up on keywords or phrases that appear time and time again. Using the example above, you might see that the phrases “home value” or “resale value” crop up more often than “safety” does.
In this case, it would obviously make more sense to focus on this pain point messaging strategy than on safety. By fine-tuning your messaging according to what resonates the most with each segment, you can drastically reduce your sales cycle.
Reduce lead response time
The sales cycle is a two-way street. Every business wants to introduce tactics that will make it easier for their prospects and customers to find out about them and get in touch. This much is evident.
But what about reexamining your own role in the sales cycle?
Of course your sales cycle will be excessively long if you take days to respond to customers. That much is obvious. So if you want to reduce your cycle and ensure that consumers choose your product or service, you need to commit to always responding rapidly whenever a lead gets in touch.
Or, you could go one step further and implement a fail-safe system that makes instantaneous responses a consistent reality.
In other words, you could use CallRail’s Automated Responses, a Form Tracking feature. It instantly sends prospects/customers a templated response message whenever they get in touch. But templated, automated responses — while better than no response at all — still miss that human touch.
That’s why we created Quick Responses. It sends reps a notification whenever a call has been missed or a form comes in from a prospect, so they can get back in touch as soon as possible. The Lead Center mobile app even allows your team to respond while away from their desks, meaning you’ll never again miss out on clients because you were out in the field on the job.
Improve your training
Timely responses are just one piece of the puzzle. Sure, timely responses are great — but there’s little point in responding quickly to customers if your reps are poor communicators. They should be confident, knowledgeable, and personable. They should also be able to quickly digest large amounts of contextual information (who they’re speaking to, what their pain points are, and what they need) while still holding a conversation.
Yikes, that’s a lot.
Fortunately, you can train reps to be excellent communicators — it just requires the right approach, backed up by the right tools. CallRail makes this process as easy as possible. Call Monitoring allows managers to listen in to reps’ interactions with customers, helping them identify what they need to work on and praise them for what they’re already doing well. If managers think that their presence on calls will be a distraction, they can use Silent Call Monitoring to listen in without anyone even knowing.
But what if they’re listening to a call that seems to be going from bad to worse? Surely they shouldn’t just wait until it’s over before highlighting what went wrong?
That’s right — they shouldn’t. With Whisper Monitoring, you can secretly communicate with your rep without the customer hearing, giving them ongoing pointers to gently guide the conversation toward a positive conclusion.
Reimagine your sales cycle
When it comes to converting prospects and upselling customers, speed is the aim of the game. The longer you take to get the deal over the line, the higher the chance they will look elsewhere — and your conversion rate will take a massive hit. Complex, convoluted, never-ending sales cycles paint your company in a bad light. Consumers will quickly feel like you don’t care about them or that you’re inefficient — perhaps both.
CallRail’s all-encompassing suite of tools turbocharges sales cycles. Internally, they provide you with a complete guide into who your prospects/customers are, when they got in touch, what they’re looking for, what resonates with them, and how likely they are to convert.
Externally, customers will feel valued, like they’re being listened to, and that you care. Most importantly, they’ll feel like your team is working hard to help them fulfill their pressing needs — whatever those might be.
To test out the waters and see the impact that CallRail’s products will have on your organization's sales cycle, sign up for a free 14-day trial today.