Posted by John Stoddart
Quite simply, the most important sales factor is volume. Volume of sales in unit and value terms. But there are other important factors and we’re looking at one of them here.
Another important factor in the sales process is sales velocity. That is moving suspects to prospects to clients in the shortest possible time. Now, it is important to say that customer dictate how quickly they move down the cycle. But it is possible to influence the speed of the sales cycle. And if we are talking about selling SaaS systems predominantly over the web, then there are many factors which can be applied to accelerate the cycle. We’ll take a look at these here.
Factors which can be manipulated to accelerate the sales cycle
Price: Drop the price and you would expect to accelerate the process. This is the most simple factor to change. However, there is a subconscious link between price and quality so, if you drop this too far too quickly, you will make someone suspicious.
Using technology to accelerate the technical acceptance: Part of selling a SaaS solution is the customer checking to see if the solution will do what he needs it to do. Often this will be done by some kind of free trial for a defined period (typically between one and two months). Look at something like Walk-me which organises trials to accelerate the process of signing up and getting revenue.
Bundling in more: In old fashioned terms, this is ‘sweetening the deal’ by adding a free addition – full-time or temporary – to the deal to make the customer sign up faster.
Limit time: This is similar to the price thing but it is done for a limited period of time. Most sales systems will have the ability to add promotional codes and you can email these to prospects for their use. Obviously, you will want them to use this code within a given (short) period.
Incentivise internal staff: This can be difficult within a web-based sales environment but if you have a sales manager or inside sales people, then incentivise them more and it will raise the volume of sales and give you better volumes. You increase velocity by constraining the amount to time staff have to get the sales through.
What is the impact of acceleration?
Momentum and acceleration all add together to give sales velocity. But, more importantly it will do two further things: it will put the business onto another plane and it will make sales and marketing look brilliant. Shortening the sales cycle saves resources (mostly capital but some people time too) and it will make the Finance Director very happy. He’ll have better cash flow. He’ll be achieving his targets and the business will look better to investors and, possibly, purchasers.
It will also quickly become the new standard.