Your sales cycle length correlates with how much revenue you bring in.
Let’s repeat that for the people in the back.
📣 Your sales cycle length correlates with how much revenue you bring in. 📣
A shorter sales cycle means your sales team can close more deals while spending less time waiting for cold leads or prospects to make up their minds. A longer sales cycle uses up more of your sales reps’ capacity and puts a strain on revenue forecasts.
The majority of B2B companies (75%) take an average of at least four months to close a new deal, while the average SaaS B2B sales cycle is approximately 83 days, as reported by Klipfolio.
Of course, every business is different, so use this information as a benchmark but not necessarily a target for your team. However, if your sales life cycle is significantly longer than the averages above, your sales processes might need tending too.
Some common symptoms of a long, slow sales cycle length include:
- Poor lead quality
- Overworked SDRs
- Stale sales assets
- Inefficient processes
- A broken pipeline
The long-lasting effects of a long sales cycle can include stalled growth and insufficient revenue forecasting.
The antidote to a too-long sales cycle is to accelerate the sales pipeline. If your team’s sales pipeline isn’t producing the results, it’s time to examine what strategies your organization can take to close deals with greater efficiency. The “old days” of traditional prospecting and closing sales primarily through networking have been replaced by sales tactics built on data and analytics, creating tons of opportunities for savvy sales teams to transform their performance.
The 5 buckets of sales pipeline acceleration
Sales pipeline acceleration isn’t just a job for the sales team, though it might sound like it from the name. Accelerating your sales pipeline flow should be a cross-functional exercise for businesses, involving people across sales, marketing, revenue, and revops teams.
The most common tactics for sales pipeline acceleration fall into the following buckets, which span sales, marketing, and operations roles:
- Improving lead quality and the performance of lead sources.
- Automating processes and establishing or maintaining systems to streamline workflow.
- Creating assets for timely and relevant outreach and maintaining awareness for the company.
- Creating and updating valuable and accurate reports.
- Building and implementing playbooks for high-performing follow-up.
Within these buckets are more minor responsibilities that keep a pipeline running smoothly from start to finish. However, a sales team cannot productively accelerate sales alone.
Benefits of accelerating your sales pipeline
Some of the benefits of accelerating your sales pipeline are clear (more money), while others might not be as obvious (increased SDR productivity).
When we say “you should accelerate sales!” you’re likely thinking “well...obviously,” and rolling your eyes.
It does seem like a no-brainer, right?
Faster sales equal more revenue, duh. But it’s not as simple as picking up the pace of the sales team to close more deals. There are a lot of factors you need to consider.
Don’t rush a sales acceleration strategy. Before committing to a half-baked plan to accelerate sales pipeline flow, consider all of the points within the pipeline that need maintenance. With the right strategy in place, your business will reap great long-term benefits.
Shorten your sales cycle
A long sales cycle isn’t inherently bad. A short sales cycle isn’t inherently good (your ideal timeline may differ from the average due to multiple factors), but there is a positive relationship between shorter sales cycles and increased revenue.
A short sales cycle means that your team can reach more customers through the quarter or year and close more deals, generating higher revenues.
Longer, inefficient sales cycles can turn into prospects dropping off or disappearing and end up being a poor use of your sales team’s time.
Accelerating your sales pipeline flow will help your organization eliminate unnecessary blockages and bottlenecks that lengthen the sales cycle unnecessarily.
Your goal is increasing revenue, and sales acceleration is one of the best ways to do it. Rather than working reactively to improve sales team productivity from month to month or quarter to quarter, turn your pipeline into a proactive tool for generating closed-wons.
Unless you have managed to build the most efficient sales pipeline that the world has ever known, there are probably plenty of opportunities for shortening your business’ sales cycle. That short sales cycle will free up time and resources for your team to close more deals at a faster rate, resulting in revenue lifts.
Boost sales rep productivity
HubSpot found that salespeople spend as little as one-third of their working day talking to prospects. The other two-thirds go to writing emails, data entry, prospecting, lead research, internal meetings, and scheduling calls.
Whew, that’s a lot of time not closing deals. 😅
Imagine a world where sales reps are freed from a million tasks by using automation in their workflows powered by CRM data enrichment. Or a world where SDRs can stop chasing deals with prospects who aren’t that into them. That’s the world of accelerated sales pipeline flows.
This is where we break out into song. “A Whole New World” from Aladdin, specifically.
Streamlining the pipeline means spending less time doing things that don’t get results and more time for sales reps to work with those prospects who are ready to buy.
By aligning the marketing and sales teams, your pipeline will be better optimized for conversions so that reps can close deals faster.
Improved internal communication
Sales acceleration can’t happen unless the marketing and sales teams are on board. While sales and marketing team relations can be, let’s say...tense...there’s no doubt that creating alignment between the two departments will bring more value to prospects and improve company results.
With marketing and sales working in tandem, teams will be more aware of their common goals and more inclined to collaborate. After all, what good are marketing reports without sales results or sales reports without marketing attribution?
10 tested and proven tactics sales pipeline acceleration strategies
As mentioned earlier, sales pipeline acceleration strategies cover five main buckets of sales, marketing, ops, and revenue teams. Your business may only need improvement in one of these categories, or perhaps even all five. Consider implementing these ten tried and tested tactics to accelerate your sales pipeline flow effectively.
1. Automate nurturing and follow-ups
Say goodbye to tedious, error-prone manual tasks. Marketing automation can save your team valuable time and free up more resources for bringing in additional leads or expanding the capacity for sales teams to close deals. With automation, your team can stay on top of follow-ups and information changes, identify and follow through with regular touch-points, and improve lead and prospect tracking.
Where to start:
- Automate follow-ups, so prospects don’t fall through the cracks.
- Deliver timely content to prospects through personal email sequences.
- Use automated scheduling features to prevent missed appointments and double bookings.
- Create sales reports that use CRM data to give revenue teams a bird’s eye view of their performance.
2. Take advantage of the job change trigger
The job change trigger is one of the most effective of the many triggers that sales reps can use to manage their accounts. 20% of your customers will change jobs this year! When your team tracks the career moves of those people already in your pipeline (especially current or previous customers), they can pounce on warm opportunities to make a sale.
Where to start:
- Utilize a prospecting tool that lets you track when a lead or contact leaves a job or starts a new position.
- Identify key contacts to track, such as buyers (directors, managers, and C-level executives) and end-users (sales reps, account executives, and CX teams).
- Set up a trigger to send an automated outreach message to job change leads.
3. Clean up your sales pipeline
Do a little housekeeping to keep your pipeline so fresh and so clean. Seriously, though...a cluttered pipeline creates inefficiency across the board. It probably means you have too many prospects who aren’t ready to buy, your data is skewed, and your team’s workload is being weighed down by bad information. Clean up your pipeline to accelerate sales by getting all that junk out of the way and focusing on the information and prospects that bring value to your business.
Where to start:
- Identity leads that have been stuck in your pipeline for an extended period and dump them.
- Clearly define the stages in your pipeline and ensure that they are set up to track communications, goals, and action steps.
- Set up a system to keep the data in your CRM updated and organized (and keep the information regularly maintained).
4. Multi-thread your deals
Weidert Group reports that more than half of B2B buyers (61%) report that their purchasing process involves more people now than in previous years. In many cases, businesses use buying committees to review potential purchases and make the final decision.
This development can be a double-edged sword for sales and marketing teams. On the one hand, there are more opportunities to reach the individuals on buying committees to share the benefits of your offering. On the other hand, more people involved can mean a slow sales cycle and convoluted communications.
Where to start:
- Make sure you have developed a deep understanding of your prospects to build a robust buyer profile.
- Share content with potential buyers based on their role and level of expertise.
- Personalize communications with contacts that go beyond copy and paste messages.
5. Align sales and marketing as much as possible
With your marketing and sales teams aligned, you can accelerate sales by customizing the sales experience to a contact’s individual needs, especially in terms of creating and distributing high-value content. Getting sales and marketing on the same page may seem daunting, but pipeline acceleration is an excellent place to start. Accelerating the sales pipeline requires both teams to work toward a common goal through collaboration.
Where to start:
- Create a lead or account scoring system that aligns expectations and identifies marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads, so the pipeline isn’t cluttered with bad leads.
- Determine the best ways to fill the top of the funnel with high-quality leads, so the sales team has more reliable opportunities to close.
- Develop content for all stages of the buyer’s journey across buyer profiles so that sales can deliver relevant content at the right time.
6. Use B2B influencers
Think outside the box a little bit. Sales acceleration strategies don’t have to be contained to internal fixes—reach out to B2B influencers who have authority and a trusting audience within their community. B2B influencers might be industry leaders on social media or champions for your business in an organization you are prospecting. Quality B2B influencers can turn reluctant buyers into customers with the messaging.
Where to start:
- Identify B2B influencers in your industry or previous customers who can sway the opinion of a prospect.
- Set up a referral program to tap into B2B influencers in your network who love your offering.
- Use a job change trigger to track when a current champion moves to another company your business is targeting.
7. Invest in sales coaching for your team
Sales coaching is a great way to identify challenges for your sales team and further develop positive skill sets. In a study from ValueSelling Associates, 69% of respondents indicated that they saw organizational performance improvements due to sales coaching programs. These programs create a space for reps to improve performance, establish better working relationships with their cohort, and reduce sales team attrition.
Where to start:
- Build a coaching plan that’s proactive, not reactive. You don’t need to wait for your sales team performance to dip before developing a coaching plan.
- Create a repeatable, scalable process for sales reps to review their performance and engage in conversations for improvement.
8. Implement a sales enablement strategy
Sales enablement is simply the process of providing your sales team with the right resources and support they need to make more sales. Rather than relying on your top performers to keep performing at a high level while others fall behind, make sure you arm your salespeople with the knowledge and tools proven to be effective for your organization.
Where to start:
- Create a knowledge base for sales reps to answer common questions and consolidate information.
- Collaborate with marketing to provide all relevant assets to the sales team.
- Want to motivate your team? Try these 3 ideas that will inspire your sales team to prospect better.
- Establish top performers on the sales team as leaders or mentors to coach fellow reps.
9. Revisit your sales messaging and sales assets with the content team
Your prospects are seeing more content than ever right now. The worst thing you can do to a lead is to overwhelm them with information that can confuse their decision more. Make sure that sales messaging and sales assets are up-to-date and relevant to prospects. While your podcast might be the best thing since Serial, the average member of a buying committee, is probably more interested in seeing a product sheet than listening to an interview when they’re close to making a decision.
Where to start:
- Audit your current sales assets and comb through prospect messaging.
- Remove outdated messages, irrelevant assets, and any communication that creates bottlenecks or negatively impacts buyer understanding.
- Identify key customer touch-points and map out the best content for those touch-points.
10. Prioritize your warm leads and accounts
Cold leads still matter, but they’re not as crucial for your pipeline when your goal is to accelerate sales. Rather than spending tons of time and resources reaching out to cold leads, dig into the data you already have and identify new warm leads who are more likely to buy from you, such as previous customers.
Where to start:
- Get a temperature check on your leads to get a sense of who is most likely to purchase from you.
- Make a plan for how you will prioritize leads based on your temperature check.
- Save cold leads for last, but don’t ignore them completely. Follow the 80/20 rule...the majority of your team’s effort should go toward warm leads.
Accelerate sales pipeline with smarter data and analytics
Accelerating the sales pipeline requires that your team makes a concerted, collaborative effort to improve the sales process, marketing strategies, and team workflows. While it takes a bit of heavy lifting upfront, once you begin implementing tactics to accelerate the sales pipeline, your team (and revenue) will thank you.
One of the most important steps you can take right now to accelerate sales is to use a robust, customizable CRM to collect data and innovative tracking tools to keep your information up-to-date. Find out how UserGems can help you drive a bigger pipeline and close sales faster.
UserGems is the future of outbound sales and marketing teams. We use AI to help companies like yours identify the warmest paths to open opportunities, grow the pipeline, and close more deals faster.