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The B2B selling process is slow but steady. On the other hand, a faster sales cycle keeps your buyer’s attention on your offering.

Understanding the sales cycle in separate stages helps predict buyer behavior and selling outcomes. Sales reps can also pinpoint specific obstacles and make improvements with a stage-focused sales strategy.

Today we’re sharing tips and tricks to shorten the sales cycle, broken down by stage. 

Stages of the Sales Cycle (with Tips for Each)

Going through the sales cycle with a “wing it” strategy can cost you in sales deals. Each stage has its challenges and conditions, and tackling them makes the buyer’s journey much smoother.

Here’s a breakdown of each sales cycle stage with relevant tips:


1. Prospecting

When sales reps go hunting for new buyers at this stage, audiences already expect some sort of intervention. 

In fact, 62% of buyers anticipate sellers when they’re in the process of looking for a solution to solve their pain points.

Research is essential in this stage — you want to know who’s fit to be a buyer, and you want to tell them exactly what they want to hear.


So let’s begin our list of tips!:

1. Use your defined buyer personas and ideal customer profiles (ICPs).

2. Find stakeholders in charge of purchasing decisions.

3. Directly address your prospect’s pain points.


2. Engagement

This is where SDRs focus on scoring as many meetings as possible, and research shows more than five touchpoints are required to secure an initial meeting.

Engagement looks different between warm and cold leads. Leads that haven’t shown explicit interest in your product — cold leads — require more research to find their challenges. Warm leads have shown interest by interacting with content or form fills.

4. Make meeting scheduling easier for prospects.

5. Refine and tailor your value proposition.

6. Help build email sequences for lead nurturing — the ones that don’t respond to initial prospecting.


3. Qualification

Unfortunately, not every lead you connect with has the budget or time to invest in your product or service. Having a scoring and qualification system in place will weed out unfit leads and save sales and marketing teams time. 

Marketing teams typically have their process of scoring and qualifying leads (MQLs), but it may look different for sales teams (SQLs).

7. Align with your marketing team for unified lead scoring and qualification.

8. Build a list of lead qualifying questions (i.e., “What issue were you looking to fix with our product?” or “Who are your company’s decision makers?”)

9. Integrate your CRM system with other lead management systems.


4. Product Offering & Presentation

This is typically where sales reps shine and bring out their best “salesman” performances. 

It’s when prospects should be convinced that your product or service will resolve their challenges. More than half (56%) of B2B buyers have four or more people involved in a purchase decision, while 21% have seven or more — so you’ll have to convince more than one person.

10. Maintain transparency on pricing.

11. Show your collection of social proof.

12. Offer a demo to every decision maker.

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5. Negotiation

This part can be tricky and can be considered a different type of selling. Even if you address possible objections beforehand, not every buyer will say yes right off the bat.

Objection handling often leads to offering adjustments such as additional features, seat arrangements, or pricing changes.

This stage only needs one important tip:

13. Plan for every type of sales objection.


6. Closing

After settling objections, it’s time to close it up with a contract sign. This is an exciting, but fragile stage — prospects could still drop out.

You might have to send additional content, communicate with other stakeholders, and show additional presentations.

14. Use easy contract management with signage software.

15. Don’t resist the fact that some things are out of a sales reps’ control.

16. Personalize content specifically for your prospect.


7. Onboarding and Feedback

Even after the deal closes, sales reps shouldn’t end their involvement with their former-prospects, now-customers.

Customers need product training and account exec assignment with customer support and success provided throughout their contract.

17. Maintain communication throughout the delivery process.

18. Keep the onboarding process structured so customers won’t get lost.

19. Streamline the feedback process.


Other Tips for Shortening the Sales Cycle

These tips are for you to keep in mind at every sales cycle stage:

20. Update your CRM (or invest if you don’t have one).

21. Automate as many tasks as possible.

22. Set up consistent KPIs and goals.

23. Expand content and the channels they exist in.

24. Optimize your omnichannel strategy and track performance.

25. Practice data hygiene in all data systems. 

26. Include personalization in every stage.

27. Find balance between persistence and patience throughout the sales process.


Shorten Your B2B Sales Cycle with a Stage Strategy

Understanding the sales cycle stages and applying them to sales strategies can yield great quotas and revenue results.

So here we’ll share our final tip:

28. Never stop improving your sales process!

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About the author

Rayana Barnes

Rayana Barnes is the Creative Content Specialist at ZoomInfo, the leading B2B contact database and sales intelligence solution for go-to-market teams.

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