Unlike consumer sales, the sales cycle in technical sales takes much longer. From lead generation to the final contract being signed, it often takes months to close a deal. If you want to reach your sales goals faster, check out these tips on how to shorten your sales cycles.
Understand the Process
A shorter sales cycle allows you to achieve a return on your investment in time, effort, and cost of sales much faster. Wouldn’t it be better to spend six months trying to close a deal instead of 10 months? Nobody wants a sale to drag on longer than it should.
A faster sales cycle is a win-win for all parties involved – the technical sales engineer, the sales team, and the client who receives a welcome solution to their problem.
Technical sales engineers work with complex sales. These types of B2B transactions deal with commercial clients. The product or service that is sold includes industrial machines or equipment considered high-risk, involves several decision-makers, and many layers of approvals.
With so many steps in the buying process, it might seem like sales cycles are never ending. To speed up your sales cycle, you need to know exactly how the sales process works, allowing you get the job done in less time.
Stages of the Sales Cycle
Because of the complexity of the products sold, a technical sales engineer may feel like they are stuck in the cycle and have no way to close deals faster.
A typical sales cycle for complex sales involves the following stages: Discovery, Qualification and Diagnosis, Proposal, and Closing.
Discovery is the beginning of the sales cycle. Use this time to research and learn to find out as much as you can about prospective buyers and their needs.
Meetings and consultations with customers allow you to figure out how you can best help them and solve their pain points. During this time, build trust and learn who key people are in the organization, as well as the final decision-makers.
Qualification and Diagnosis
Next are Qualification and Diagnosis. After finding as much information as you can about your potential client, you diagnose the problems that were found and produce solutions.
A technical sales engineer will work closely with sales reps to create technical presentations that show the solution to the customer’s problem.
The proposal is when you send or present proposals to your potential customer. This may not be a one-time event. Oftentimes, you will need to present to more than one person in an organization. For example, your first point of contact may be with a procurement manager, then to a department head, and finally to a company director.
Closing is the final stage of the sales cycle. This is when the sale is finally closed after all that hard work. Sometimes, the technical sales engineer is asked to stay on as a sales consultant even after the sale is closed.
This B2B sales cycle can take many months, or even years, of traveling, meeting, and calls. Luckily, there are ways to shorten the sales cycle, even for complex B2B sales. Do you want to find out some tried-and-tested tips on how to shorten the sales cycle? We are sure you do. All types of salespeople will benefit from a shorter sales cycle. The quicker your sales cycle, the faster you will see all your efforts paying off and the faster your ROI.
How to Shorten Your Sales Cycle
1. Work with Qualified Leads
Although this is important in all types of sales, it is essential in B2B technical sales. Technical sales engineers work on deals that are often perceived as high-risk and involve steep price tags.
Focusing only on qualified leads from the start will help shorten the sales cycle. Pursuing leads that are not qualified or do not fit your criteria will waste your precious time and energy. Make sure that the leads you work with are qualified for the products you are selling and are potential customers.
2. Maximize Social Proof and Referrals
It is always easier to trust someone you have a connection with compared to a cold caller. Ask previous customers for recommendations on who may need your product and request an introduction. Use platforms such as LinkedIn to find connections to potential customers.
Present case studies of organizations that you have worked with to introduce your company. Case studies are more effective when they are about organizations your prospects are already familiar with or are in the same industry.
3. Be Transparent with Pricing
Many technical sales engineers feel the need to hide pricing at the beginning of the sales cycle. This is usually because of the misconception that knowing the price will turn off some potential clients. However, be upfront with pricing early. This will help weed out customers who cannot afford the products you are selling or are unwilling to spend on what you are offering.
If a customer learns the price early on and is still interested in the product, the possibility of closing the sale is more likely. You will save yourself weeks or months pursuing a client that is not a qualified customer.
4. Personalize Interactions with Prospects
No matter what you are selling and who you are talking to, personalization is always a strategy that works.
Take note of specific information shared during meetings so that you can re-cap later. Address your prospects by their first names in emails and ask how they are.
Additionally, tweak presentations to address the specific concerns of each potential customer. You can be professional and personal at the same time. This helps build trust that will eventually help you close the deal in a shorter amount of time.
Quickly learn how to build credibility and the keys to developing trust that will fast track your career and increase your income.
5. Plan Out Incremental Closes
Without a specific and detailed plan, the sales cycle can take longer than necessary. Planning out incremental closes after each point of contact with a potential helps you visualize your end goal.
You can think of other closes you want to make per interaction as well. For example, plan to get the mobile phone number of your prospect after speaking on the phone to be able to contact them more quickly in the future.
Another example would be to set a firm date for a follow-up meeting after meeting the prospect for the first time. When you send an email, ask when you can give them a call. These small closes can help your long-term sales cycle.
6. Find Out Issues and Objections Early On
Like being transparent with pricing at the start of the sales cycle, finding out any objections or concerns at the beginning will save time overall.
You can ask for any concerns about the product as soon as you make the first presentation.
The client may have significant objections that you can address from the start. This will help foster a more open and trusting relationship with the customer. Plus, it also projects confidence in the product you are selling.
7. Automate What You Can
Whether it is using a CRM to keep track of prospects and what your sales team is busy with or as simple as Gmail to schedule emails, automating what you can save you time and keeps you organized.
When you do not have to spend time emailing people all day or collecting data from your sales team manually, the time save gives you the opportunity to work on more important aspects of getting closer to making a sale.
8. Be Easy to Contact
Nothing is more frustrating for a client than not being able to contact a company representative. Since you are the ones who approached them first, being hard to reach will be a negative on your part.
Although this will take more energy and effort on your part, make sure that you are available when they need you. A client’s urgent question that you take the time to answer on the weekend may be the last step in building the trust needed to close the sale. Being easy to reach is always part of being an excellent technical sales engineer.
Reach Your Goals Faster
Success fuels motivation and experiencing closing a sale quicker motivates a person to do even better in the future. People are encouraged when they reach their goals and see results. This is no different for technical sales engineers.
Close More Deals
Learning and applying the strategies above makes a sale move along faster. At the end of the day, it makes your professional life easier, increases your earning potential, and your job more rewarding.
With over 15 years of experience, we don’t just teach “theory.” We provide actionable lessons so you can see results tomorrow by providing you with all the tools you need to not only significantly increase your personal income but become a top performer at any company. If you are ready to take your technical sales career to the next level or are eager to make a career change, then click here to take the next step towards success with Technical Sales University.