Insights from our experts:

The Ever Shrinking Sales Cycle

And What Business Leaders Need to Know about Modern Marketing

New research reveals that the average sales cycle in nearly all sectors has decreased dramatically – in many cases in half. Just a decade ago, closing a sale required an average of 5.6 personal interactions. Today, a prospect’s decision to buy progresses in a blistering 1.7 meetings. What’s more, many prospects reach a decision before the salesperson arrives.  

The shrinking sales cycle spells good news for a business’s bottom line, the ability to reduce its salesforce and control ballooning expenses. The downside is that buyers are making their own decisions based not on what they are told in a sales pitch, but what they read online. What’s more is that when online messaging is weak, the salesperson faces an uphill battle.

Most prospects already know what your company represents before a sales meeting begins. They know your products and services and they know their alternatives. They know where the salesperson went to college, who their friends are and where their kids go to school. Every day car dealers struggle with the challenge of customers armed with better negotiating knowledge than their own salespeople.

Like most of us, corporate decision makers now shop their information online well before meeting a salesperson. This has driven nearly all industries to button up their online presence with information that sells. This includes businesses that have traditionally relied on the sales call, such as manufacturing, legal services, health care and consulting.

Every piece of information – digital, printed or spoken – that represents an organization, must be driven by a unique value proposition that clearly defines the brand and sets it apart. When prospects can’t find clear differentiators, they assume none and move on.

Whether your proposition is based on price, value, service, quality, lifestyle or a myriad of other persuasions – it must hit the target audience square in the face. So why even have a salesforce? After prospects have formed their perceptions online, they seek personally reassurance that a unique value is real and not just marketing hype.

Sales professionals today not only need to articulate their company’s differentiators, they must activate it in ways that are meaningful to each prospect. This requires researching each prospective company in ways that rival the amount of due diligence they will performed on you.

While the sales cycle has decreased in recent years, the need for salespeople to be more efficient and targeted on the first call is critical. They need to instill confidence about their company’s value proposition and overcome a deeper set of objections from prospects equipped with untold amounts of information.

But before any salesperson places a call, a company’s web presence must first tell an unmistakable story that will allow the sales person to walk in, reinforce the message and close the sale.