Categories Articles, Sales and Marketing

How well are you managing the length of your team’s sales cycle? If it takes far more time than you would like for reps to close deals, you need to step up your sales cycle management skills.

In order to shorten your sales cycle, you have to first understand the factors behind the length of the average sales cycle. By digging deeper and analyzing the data for individual reps, by sales stage and by Won-Lost deals, you can better understand your sales team and improve the length of your overall sales cycle.

Sales Cycle by Stage

You know how long it takes for your team to close deals, on average, but in which stage are opportunities spending the most amount of time? You have to analyze the length of Qualifying Stage, Present Solution Stage, Closing Stage and other sales stages to find where there is the most room for improvements.

In this report, you can clearly see that deals have historically spent the longest amount of time in the Qualifying Stage, which is a good place to focus. That stage gradually shortened and improved in the past year, but recently jumped back up again in July. What’s going on here? Why are your deals taking longer to close this month? You have to dig deeper into this issue and find out the root cause, in order to drive the sales cycle time back down.

Sales Cycle by Employee

You can begin to shorten your sales cycle by focusing on metrics at an individual level, looking at each employee and identifying who closes deals quickly and who has trouble sealing the deal.

In this report, you see that Robert has the longest sales cycle, and could definitely use coaching to help him improve his numbers. The Present Solution Stage is especially long for him, so you could suggest listening to a recording of his sales calls at that stage to diagnose what could be going wrong. It is important to also consider the size of the opportunities that Robert is chasing, since larger deals take longer to close. But even if he’s working the bigger opportunities, with the right coaching, Robert should be able to push his numbers down and sell more quickly.

Won vs. Lost Opportunities

The other important metric to consider is the length of the sales cycle for winning opportunities vs. losing opportunities. In general, winning deals take less time to close, in comparison to lost deals.

You can analyze your team’s data to find out how long a winning deal usually spends in each stage of the pipeline. By learning this information, you can then direct your team to prioritize opportunities that have spent less time in the pipeline. For example, you can see that deals that spend fewer than 5 days in the Qualifying Stage are much more likely to close, compared to losing deals that spend around 15 days in that stage. By directing your reps to prioritize winning deals, you can eliminate time wasted on deals that are going nowhere. This will help decrease your sales cycle overall.

 

Sales cycle management isn’t the first skill that many sales managers focus on, but it is an area where you could see huge improvements for your team. By analyzing your sales cycle by stage, finding improvements for individual reps, and prioritizing winning deals, you can shorten the time it takes to close deals, and subsequently increase your revenue.

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