Trying to speed up your sales cycle? These organizational changes should make your team more nimble.
Is your sales organization suffering from a lack of velocity? High-speed sales teams tend to outperform industry standards, turning out a large work product on time and with limited resources.
But these high-velocity teams don't just happen—they are built by experienced executives and supported by smart product management, then bolstered by dedicated, skillful sales reps.
If your sales team could stand to move a little faster, start with these four strategies.
1. Add a Few Quick-Sell Products
Establishing new customer relationships quickly is a persistent challenge for sales reps. One way to speed up the process is to add a few simple, quick-sell products to your product line.
These should be items that are easily and swiftly sold, and that bring real value to the customer, even if they don't have significant economic value to the company. Appreciative customers will be more likely to accept another appointment after a first positive transaction.
2. Focus on Upselling Current Customers
Sales professionals often focus obsessively on obtaining new customers. This might be necessary if you're only selling one product or service, but developing multiple lines lets you increase speed by aiming to upsell current customers instead.
It's a much more efficient approach, since it takes exponentially more energy to develop new customers than to sell different products to the ones who already know you.
3. Develop Competitive Blocking Strategies
No matter how great your product is, the competition will always know how to downplay the value of your products to customers. I've run across too many product managers who, when asked how the competition will react to a product, say, "They won't be able to react! It's too good!"
This is a dangerous attitude--even if you do have superior features and an all-around better product. Smarter companies develop blocking strategies to preemptively shut down the competition's efforts to deter sales.
At one company, for instance, we faced a significant competitor that copied all our new product introductions. To block the copycat tactic, we improved all major product systems on a continual basis so that the competitor's copy was always obsolete.
4. Match Products to the Sales Force
Once, at a time when I was working with a large corporation, our sales team was given a new medical device to sell. The problem: This device was for general surgeons, while our expertise was in selling to orthopedic surgeons. We failed miserably--primarily because this product was a terrible match for our team.
If your sales force can't effectively sell a product, sales are going to be low. I know it sounds obvious, but this is an all-too-common mistake, and one that drags down the velocity of any sales group.