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Sales Tips: 2 Factors That Determine the Length of Buying Cycles

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company

Many sales organizations rightfully focus on their pipelines. In my experience, transactions that are likely to close happen relatively quickly while those that drag along seem to fall under their own weight and ultimately wind up in “no decisions.”

Buying Cycles Fast or SlowThere are two factors that go a long way toward determining the length of sales/buying cycles:

  1. The point of entry. I find A Players often start at or near decision maker levels. The good news is these buyers will quickly determine if it makes sense to get subordinates involved in evaluating offerings. If not, it’s likely to be one call and done. As we say, bad news early is actually good news.

Better to lose quickly than slowly.

As you can imagine, doing bottom-up sales will mean:

-talking to levels of buyers that can say no but can’t say yes
-long sales cycles
-low win rates

  1. How much potential value can be established. Sellers are generally in a rush to complete sales cycles. If and when strong business cases are built, buyers have a sense of urgency. In such cases rather than needed to be pulled, they push to get to a buying decisions because they realize every day that goes buy there is potential value not being realized.

It Works
I have a client that has been able to shorten their average sales cycle from 4 to 3 months. While that may not seem significant, a closer look shows that it allows sellers to complete 4 sales cycles per year rather than 3. This is the equivalent of having 16-month selling years and it means that A, B or C player sellers should close 33% more revenue in a year.

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