I recently came across a great post from Kendra Lee that discussed an interesting idea: Can you get higher ROI by slowing down your sales cycle? It seems counterintuitive at first. But if you’ve ever been a part of a B2B sales cycle, you may have been rushed from one step to the next before being ready to commit or move further. This can really turn off a prospect, and the rep may lose the deal altogether to a vendor who took the time to understand the prospect’s needs. Kendra’s article concludes with advice to slow down and gain the prospect’s trust before speeding them through the buying process. The idea is that taking your time to cater to prospects and recognize their needs will increase win rates and maybe even shorten the sales cycle by gaining prospects’ trust faster.
But this got me thinking: even though slowing down may help gain prospects’ trust, it may still hurt sales reps in the long run. Think about the extra concerted effort reps are making to “gain trust.” How does one gain trust? It requires multiple meetings and feeding information to prospects a little at a time to avoid overwhelming them. It’s true that the increase in touch points and interactions can help warm up a prospect, but any sales rep worried about hitting quota will tell you that he or she doesn’t have time to consider the feelings of each prospect and gaining the prospect’s trust. Is it possible to provide a consistent stream of quality sales interactions to each prospect without cutting down on the number of interactions with different prospects?
There are a few different ways sales organizations tackle this quantity vs. quality conundrum:
–Employ account-based marketing: this approach requires small teams of sales and marketing individuals to dedicate their time to a single prospect or account. This is valuable for high-stake accounts where concerted attention, personalization and details are necessary. But it’s difficult to scale these efforts, and therefore ABM is typically employed alongside traditional business development initiatives.
–Integrate CRM and content repository: Your CRM solution should be connected seamlessly to your content repository so sales reps can share the content they need when they need it, dependent on the sales opportunity at hand. If contextually-relevant sales collateral can be served up for sales reps directly within the CRM solution, they are more likely to have consistent value-adding conversations with prospects without having to waste time “just checking in” or searching for content. This undoubtedly shortens your sales cycle without sacrificing the quality or quantity of interactions.
–Add content automation into the mix: If sales reps are able to automate the personalization of the content that’s already served up for them contextually, there is no way that any sales interaction will be useless to a prospect. This means including prospect-specific details within content, such as data relevant to a specific persona or role, industry-specific use cases, and more.
No matter which approach or combination of approaches you take to enhancing the quality of your sales interactions, just remember that the frequency of sales interactions doesn’t have to suffer. Help your reps work smarter, not slower, to increase your win rates and shorten your sales cycles.