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How to speed up the sales cycle in the new financial year

  • Written by Tunc Bolluk, Vice President APAC, Validity Inc.


It’s a new financial year like no other, with the devastating effects of COVID-19 still unfolding, sales are top of mind for businesses more than ever. With so many factors working against them right now though, thankfully there are some simple steps that businesses can take to speed up the sales process and help get them back on track to recovery and growth.

The best place for businesses to start is with their data.

Understand the power of your data

A business’s data is possibly its best asset to propel growth and increase customer retention, yet many businesses aren’t leveraging their data for success, or looking after it to ensure its accuracy. Accurate data is imperative for deriving value from KPIs such as conversion, call and win rates, response time, sales cycle length and strategy, therefore businesses should make sure that they have the processes and systems in place to minimise the input of incorrect data from the outset.

Start by looking at all the places where your data is being collected – this can include data gleaned from your website analytics, information captured in your interactions with customers, Google Analytics, your email mailing lists, sales and inventory records. It’s likely that you’re using a CRM to manage your data but knowing that you are capturing all relevant data to begin with is an important step in leveraging your data for success.

Once you’ve brought all this data together into your CRM there are third-party tools available that can help you manage the quality of your data – for example, Validity Inc.’s DupeBlocker identifies and removes duplicate data.

Automate repetitive tasks

Once you’re confident that you’ve got your data capture and quality under control, there are other ways that you can free up time to focus on the tasks that will have the greatest impact on your bottom line. The average salesperson spends 21% of their time writing emails, and 17% of their time prospecting and researching leads. Sales automation tools can eliminate such tasks or make them easier to complete so the sales team can spend more cognitive time working on high-value tasks.

You can also take advantage of accessible third-party products like Validity Inc’s DemandTools to automate data cleaning processes so that records are consistently up-to-date, including valuable customer data that is critical for your sales prospects. Having accurate customer data at your fingertips will give your business a competitive edge when you most need it.

Focus on high performing channels
 
While we’re all future focused in these uncertain times, it’s also wise to look to the past to see where your previous successes have come from. By analysing performance analytics form previous sales and marketing campaigns, you can determine which channels have produced the highest returns and performed best for your product or service in the past, and focus your efforts on these channels going forward.

Get the most from your CRM system

Your CRM system is an incredibly powerful tool and it’s likely that you haven’t explored all it has to offer. A good CRM helps you go deeper with your data and metrics, allowing you to collect, collate, tabulate, organise, interpret and use your data more efficiently to improve and speed up the sales cycle. It should also work seamlessly with third party data quality tools and other software designed to support your business activities. Take some time to explore your CRM features so you can maximise its value and take advantage of its clever functions that could be saving you even more time and generating even more sales leads.

There’s no question that the months ahead will be tough for businesses as they try to recover from the economic turmoil brought on by COVID-19. But by making the most of your data and the systems and tools available to you, and by focusing on high value tasks and previously successful sales channels, you’ll be in the best possible position to lead the path to recovery and growth.

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