Are you looking for ways to shorten your sales cycle and make people buy sooner? That’s a smart thing to do. The less time a lead spends in your sales funnel, the more return on investment (ROI) for you!
In fact, with all the resources that go into earning and nurturing leads, if you’re letting people take a long time to convert, you may find you’re spending more money to gain a sale than the sale itself is worth!
But, how do you convince people to make purchasing decisions faster? And most importantly, how do you do it without sacrificing a relationship?
In this article, you’ll find 15 effective ways to shorten your sales cycle and start making money from your marketing efforts sooner.
First, let’s get to understand the sales cycle.
What Is A Sales Cycle?
A sales cycle is a simple process that marks the interactions you’ll have with potential customers, from the very first contact until a sale is closed.
This includes your entire team’s effort towards creating and maintaining interest in your products, engaging your leads, answering their questions, and converting them.
So what are the steps in a sales cycle? How do you figure out how long your sales cycle takes so you can understand if you already have a short sales cycle or a longer sales cycle that could stand to be a bit shorter?
Five Stages Of The Typical Sales Cycle:
Prospect: This the “attracting leads” stage. Listen to your leads and learn to offer them what they want.
Connect: Get leads to sign up for your offers. This is where you’ll use all the great info you learned during prospecting.
Qualify: Determine if your lead has intent to buy. You may need to learn more about them to be sure.
Present: Offer your product/services as a solution to your lead’s pain point.
Close: Make the ask! By now, you know your lead wants and needs what you have. It’s a fit!
Typically, this cycle will align with the buyer’s journey.
How To Accelerate Your Sales Cycle in 15 Simple Ways
Here are some important things you can do to speed up your sales cycle.
1. Sell Only To Qualified Leads
If you don’t already have one, you need a framework for qualifying leads like the example from Clearbit, above.
When a lead shows a higher interest in buying, it’s time to start selling to them.
So, how do you tell the difference between a lead that’s interested and one that isn’t? It’s actually pretty easy.
If a visitor lands on your site through a keyword search, goes to your pricing page, but doesn’t stick around very long? Not super interested. Yes, even if they read a blog post.
But, a visitor that came to your website through a branded search (searched specifically for your company), looks at a product, visits your pricing page, reads a few blog posts, checks out your testimonials, and signs up for a lead magnet or your newsletter? Now that is a qualified lead!
Does that mean the other visitor should get zero attention, ever? Of course, not. Try to grab them with an exit-intent® popup to pull them back in, and welcome them back if they come back to your site. Those things can make a big difference when it comes to moving cold leads to white-hot!
2. Don’t Let Your Pricing Take Them By Surprise
Sometimes, especially when you sell high-ticket products, you may be tempted to hide the pricing information until you show leads the value of your product first.
This is a practice that often backfires.
More than just attracting any old leads, you want to attract high-quality leads that can afford your product. A great way to do that is to make sure your pricing info is everywhere so you’re only attracting the leads that will actually be able to buy your product.
Everyone has a budget, it’s unlikely they’ll step out of it to buy your product (if they’re even able to).
3. Use Social Proof to Gain Trust
With many prospects, just knowing that they aren’t alone in the use of your product will go a long way in shortening the buying process.
One great way to do this is to show real-time visitor or customer activity on your site using a social proof tool like TrustPulse.
Do you have recommendations from big publications that are relevant to your audience? Slip those in strategically.
Use customer reviews and testimonials in your marketing. It’s easier for other people to sell you than for you to sell yourself. Here’s just a tiny snippet of OptinMonster’s testimonials page:
You could even create a dedicated testimonials page like ours and send leads to it! Here are a few more ideas on how to use social proof in your marketing.
4. Handle Objections Early
What are the common reasons people don’t buy your products? Why might they be considering a competitor over you?
Instead of shying away from these key discussions or hoping they resolve themselves, put your potential customer’s mind at ease by addressing fears, uncertainties, and doubts immediately.
You can easily do this using an FAQ section like MonsterInsights does on their pricing page:
5. Automate Your Process
Marketing automation doesn’t just save you time by outsourcing repetitive tasks, it makes for a more effective strategy too.
Using certain behavioral triggers, you can meet your lead with relevant information right when they need it. Timing is essential and you can’t do it right without automating it.
For instance, you can use OptinMonster to target campaigns to leads by interest, based on the blog posts and pages they are viewing on your site.
So, if you run a home improvement website with a “Gardening Tips” blog category, you’d create a campaign specifically for visitors interested in gardening by showing that campaign only on blog posts containing the URL slug “garden-tips.”
Check out more ways to use OptinMonster follow up campaigns to automate your sales cycle.
Did you know that OptinMonster has a WordPress plugin? It’s true! And it’s the best WordPress popup plugin on the market. What will the OptinMonster Effect do for you?
6. Make Time-Sensitive Offers
Nothing shortens a sales cycle like a little motivation to buy at the right time.
Is a lead taking their sweet time to convert on your offer? A time-sensitive discount might do the trick! And luckily, you can easily implement time-sensitive offers using OptinMonster’s Countdown Timer.
See how OptinMonster customer LifterLMS used the countdown timer strategy to increase revenue by $23,700 in 5 months.
Pro Tip: You can use this hack in your email marketing too.
7. Use Chatbots and Live Chat
One of the reasons why selling from brick-and-mortar stores has a shorter sales cycle than selling from online stores is because of the customer service that’s always on hand to answer questions quickly and provide needed information right away.
Conversational commerce is pretty much required on eCommerce sites these days. And fortunately, there are tons of great live chat options available.
But, if you don’t have the team to support live chat, or if you just don’t want to dive into the live chat pool just yet, chatbots are an excellent option.
Really, chatbots and live chat together are a perfect solution for eCommerce sites because you’re covered around the clock.
Think about it! You’ll be able to help customers find the information they need at any time, help them understand your product before you start selling to them, and you’ll have a shorter sales cycle.
If you already use the OptinMonster Growth Plan, you can get started creating your own chatbot right away.
8. Detailed Product Descriptions Are A Must
Remember we just said that people want answers and information immediately? Well, this is a place where you can’t afford to skimp on the information.
What exactly does your product do? How does it do that? What features does it have?
All these questions need to be answered on your product page so the time spent chatting with customer service can be used in testing the product or making the decision.
Here’s a great example from Lush showing the ingredients of their bath bomb:
They even include a video and reviews on the product description page.
9. Make Your Products Easy To Find
Similar to the last point is to make your products easy to find so that people are going straight to the product page for information before contacting your team.
Amazon, for example, has a robust search feature and displays it prominently:
Pro Tip: If you have a WordPress site, the search functions can be a bit lackluster. Check out Relevanssi from our list of the best WordPress plugins to grow your business. Relevanssi extends WordPress’ existing search functionality and turns it into something pretty amazing.
10. Publish the Right Content
What sort of content are you using to attract leads? This can make the difference between attracting prequalified leads or attracting just anyone.
Ideally, you should be publishing detailed and helpful content for your buyer persona only. Having a content marketing strategy in place can help you attract a well-defined audience.
What do your leads need to know before using your product? How does your product compare with other products on the market?
If a lead is signing up to your website after comparing other products with yours then the sales cycle length for that lead is already shortened.
Ready to create some awesome content? Here are some clever content marketing examples you can start to use right away.
11. Personalize Your Marketing
Personalization is no longer an option in marketing, it’s a must.
People buy when they know your product will help them, so it’s important to show them that it will with your messaging.
The first step is to show them that you actually know them. Sending relevant marketing resources, using behavioral retargeting and follow up campaigns, all these things help to convince them that they’re considering the right product and this will, in turn, shorten your sales cycle.
12. Create an FAQ Page
To make it as easy as possible for leads to find answers to their burning questions and move through the sales cycle, it’s essential to create an FAQ page.
For example, one of the most common questions we get is “How does OptinMonster compare with X Product?”
This is something you’ll need to answer (like we do, here), so your competitor doesn’t answer it for you!
Also make your FAQ page easy to find by linking to it from your footer, in product pages, even in marketing emails.
13. Shorten Your Free Trial
Or make it ridiculously discounted like Ahref’s.
The days of a 30-day free trial seem to be over. And there’s a reason for that.
Reducing your free trial period to 7 or 14 days can create urgency, driving leads to really use your product during the trial period. That way, you’ll have fewer people asking for a reactivation of the unused free trial period and more people moving forward in the sales cycle.
14. Close Small Sales
There’s a reason why some of the best companies use tripwires (small, easy-to-convert offers): to get leads accustomed to saying yes to you!
Take this offer from Digital Marketer, for example. They’ve already gotten one commitment and are immediately asking for another on their thank you page:
When you click “I’ll take a look,” you’re taken to the sales page for a $7 tripwire offer:
If you’re able to get your leads to make minor commitments (called micro conversions) from the beginning, and gradually increase the commitment level, it will be easier to take them from leads to customers.
How can you give them a taste of your product without actually selling it yet? What can you offer them next?
Little steps will always work better than a big jump.
15. Make It Easy To Contact You
No matter how much you optimize your website, and personalize your marketing to answer questions your leads are asking, there’ll still be times when they need to contact you.
Making your contact info readily available on your site will help reduce the time leads spend trying to hunt down the information on their own.
Include a link to your contact page in the main navigation menu of your site, as well as in the footer of every page.
If you use a telephone number, be sure to include that info. If you use an email address, make sure it’s clickable and don’t use a “no-reply” address.
The best thing you can do to help leads and customers contact you is to include a contact form on your site. Check out our pick for the best form plugin (WordPress) and make it ridiculously easy for those important messages to get to you.
That’s it—15 of the best ways to shorten your sales cycle!
By now you’ve probably identified a couple of places where your own sales cycle is breaking down and already have lots of ideas to fix it. Of everything we’ve mentioned, the thing you’ll find most worth your investment is personalization.
And guess what? It’s easy to personalize the user experience and interactions with your leads using OptinMonster. Get started with OptinMonster today!
Published by Lily Ugbaja
Lily is a freelance writer for hire who specializes in B2B Digital Marketing. When she’s not writing for clients, she’s either trying new recipes for her kids or sharing smart business tips for moms on her blog.