How To Speed Up The Sales Process

I recently stumbled across a nice infographic related to B2B Sales and which channels convert better and it got me thinking about whether (based on the data presented) there are ways to speed up the Sales Process. We all know and love a Sales Funnel but the findings of the research by Implisit (they created the infographic) makes for scary reading.

Apparently it takes 84 days to convert 13% of Leads in to Opportunity. 84 days. That’s almost 3 months if you count the weekends! The next stat also raises an eyebrow – only 6% of those Opportunities actually turn in to a deal. While there is no reference to the other 87% of Leads I’m wondering if they haven’t been included because the 87% get qualified out. If that is the case then you are definitely going to need a stack of Leads to get anywhere.

Implisit’s research also looked at which channel / lead source tend to convert best and there are a few surprises here as well. Customer & Employee Referrals sit top of the pile but Lead Lists, Events and Email Campaigns convert more slowly and in fewer number.

So what does this mean for those of us in Marketing and Sales? Well…it means we need to set things up to focus on the channels that have the shortest conversion time and and with the highest conversion rate. This research suggests Email Campaigns and Lead Lists should be consigned to the “Last Resort” category with very little attention given to them. I think there is a place for these activities but on the understanding and general business acknowledgement that they are slow burners. Your effort and resources shouldn’t be centred on these channels if the returns are minimal so when a Sales Director asks to send out an email campaign to try and generate new Leads he is doing himself a disservice.

Focus on ways to set up a referral program whereby existing Customers and Employees can benefit. Not only is the conversation rate better but there may also be a cost saving (e.g. no spend on lots of advertising). Also look at how you can incorporate Social Media in to your overall strategy and how Sales can leverage Social for both prospecting and conversion of existing leads. What does a Lead look like? Do Marketing and Sales define them differently? Where is the common ground?

Now you may be able to sit there and tell me that this is all rubbish and that your business has been able to map out exactly which channels convert the best as well as the average time to conversion but you are likely to be in the minority. For those of us who have a million things to do at the same time we rarely get the time to sit down and analyse historical data. Hopefully this post and the infographic have made you stop and think for a second and maybe you’ve even made a note to re-assess your marketing activities to try and determine which ones work best. If not…maybe you’ll keep plodding on wondering why you aren’t getting anywhere.

 

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