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The Sales Cycle

by Doug Davidoff | Apr 4, 2012 7:55:00 AM

This week we begin a new focus for The Weekly Fast Growth Tip:  shortening the sales cycle time.  Shortening sales cycles should be a primary objective for every company looking to sustain growth.

As a matter of fact, one of the primary indicators to determine whether your company is being commoditized is what’s happening with your sales cycle.  Longer cycles are a clear indicator that you are in the middle of The Commodtization Trap, while shortening cycle indicate that you’re bypassing commoditization.

To shorten the cycle, you must first understand what it is.  Too often, selling organizations confuse the sales cycle with the pipeline cycle.  So, let’s define the terms:

    • The pipeline cycle begins when the selling organization becomes aware of an opportunity or target it wants to pursue.
    • The sales cycle begins at the first opportunity that a qualified prospect has, to become aware that you, the seller, exist.

This means the sales cycle begins:

    • before the seller is aware of a prospect, and
    • often before the prospect is even aware they need something.

Only about 3 – 7% of the prospects in any given market are actually looking for solutions.  So, the first secret to cutting sales cycle times is the ability to connect with prospects before they in an active buying process.