Your company’s sales cycle is an important factor when finding prospects and closing deals. By understanding how your business does this, you can identify bottlenecks, unnecessary steps in the process, and how you are losing customers as they exit the sales process.
Once identified, you can then take action to eliminate these steps and connect aspects of the sales path to complete a more efficient process.
So how do you map out your company’s sales cycle? Here is one solution for you to consider.
Start by Observing Historic Sale Cycles
The first thing you need to do is look at the last five or ten deals that your company closed. What happened in each sale, and where did the customer interact with you and your sales team? Then, look at the timing for each step of the process. How much time did the entire process take, and how much time elapsed between each step?
It is always best to look at the average. The more examples you have, the better your process can be defined. If you can go to the last twenty or thirty deals, do so. You should also consider segregating your examples into different salespeople. Then, you can see who has taken the longest to close the deal and is costing you more in customer acquisition.
Mapping Your Observations to a Standard Sale
What is likely to happen is that your sales paths will be similar to several sales. Therefore, you should start describing how a typical sale moves from introduction to closing. It doesn’t include actions taken by the prospect; this only includes the obvious touchpoints. For instance: social media > website > lead nurture document > email marketing > salesperson > sale.
Your sales map might include some steps that haven’t been mentioned in some of your examples – but having a generic sales map is a great start.
Define the Prospect’s Actions
The next stage of the sales cycle is critical. You need to identify the actions that the prospect must make to move them to the next step of each stage. It can be useful for you in many ways. First, it will help you polish your content and sales steps so that they are more geared towards the desired results. It also allows you to see if there are actions from the prospect that are repeated before they move on.
Included in these activities should also be how the prospect can be lost (or disqualified) from the process. That helps you to seek and eliminate holes in the process. Additionally, it helps you to know whether you are qualifying leads too late in the process. While this might not seem important, the longer an undesirable prospect is within your sales process, the more they cost your business.
Now you have mapped your sales process, but it doesn’t stop there.
Rinse and Repeat
You now need to look at your company’s sales process regularly. The process can change as new people come on board, or as you adopt new technology into your business. Every time you complete your review, disregard your initial map. It stops you from being biased towards your current system. By all means, once you’ve completed the re-analysis of your sales process, you can analyze it against the old one to see the difference.
A review should happen at least once every three months.
Identifying how your business’ prospects interact with your brand throughout the sales process is important. It helps you refine the process and then find ways to improve it. Creating the map isn’t a quick task, but it is worth the investment.