Your sales cycle can provide some of the most valuable insights toward improving your overall sales process. The sales cycle is typically viewed solely as the average number of days it takes to turn the opportunities in your pipeline into a closed deal.
However, there are multiple other in-depth perspectives on your sales cycle that provide sales managers with incredibly valuable information. These sales analytics drill downs, when broken down by individual reps, accounts and won/lost opportunities, can give you additional insight into your sales cycle.
1. By Employee
While having your overall team sales cycle average is a great overview, it doesn’t necessarily provide you with helpful diagnostics or coaching points. However, breaking down the sales cycle by individual employee lets sales managers identify the strengths and weaknesses of each rep. You can instantly see which of your reps are able to briskly progress prospects through the pipeline, and which reps are struggling with certain stages.
Bringing those exact stages to the underperforming reps can pave the way for a more productive coaching session, while also holding reps accountable and motivated against their peers. Telling Meryl Streep that she is spending too long with opportunities in trial stages, compared to the rest of the team, is more productive than simply saying she needs to tighten up her sales cycle.
2. By Account
Depending on what type of industry your company operates in, this sales metric could potentially be a tremendous asset. For example, organizations that process repeat orders from the same clients regularly will find this sales metric to be particularly useful, as they can then figure out exactly how long it these clients typically take to close. A shorter sales cycle than average could reveal signs of an increasingly trusting relationship with your company and product, while an exceptionally lengthy one might suggest dissatisfaction somewhere in the process.
Sales managers can also pay extra attention to high-value clients. The most valuable client in the opportunity pipeline should not be taken through a long sales cycle that stagnates at certain stages – opportunities that steadily advance from one stage to the next are more likely to close, and managers will be especially keen to close such high-value clients.
3. By Won/Lost
Comparing the sales cycles of opportunities that closed compared to those that didn’t is ultimately one of the most powerful tools in a manager’s sales cycle toolbox. This metric helps answer a key question for managers – are your sales reps holding on to prospects for too long?
If opportunities that close typically spend 7 days in the trial stage, an existing opportunity that has lingered in that stage for 35 days is not likely to close. Having this information can help you diagnose these situations and let go of unlikely opportunities, instead of wasting all this time working them when they are likely to never convert.
These three fresh perspectives of looking at your sales cycle dives well beyond the surface-level analysis of the teamwide average number of time it takes to close a deal. With this deeper dive into your sales cycle, you’ll be able to manage reps and the opportunity pipeline more efficiently.
Tell us about how your organization measures and studies its sales cycle in the comments section below.