B2B Sales Cycle: 4 steps to avoid the wasteful ‘no decision’
B2B Sales: Andrea Johnson June 18th, 2012
CSO Insights, which interviews thousands of chief sales officers to benchmark B2B sales best practices, has tracked an alarming trend. Over the past six years, forecast deals are closing at a lower and lower rate, and a dramatically higher percentage are ending up with the prospect making no decision at all.
In the technology industry, for example, “no decisions” have jumped from 17% in 2006 to a whopping 26% today. That’s more than one in every four deals!
Jim Dickie, CSO Insight’s managing partner, says this should make any sales leader cringe.
“It’s not a big deal to lose to a competitor; it happens to everyone,” he explains. “But, if I’m a VP of Sales, I’ll be really peeved if you lose to ‘no decision,’ because you probably wasted my time as well as a lot of resources around the company in terms of getting help from manufacturing, customer support and finance — all to get to the point where nothing happened.”
No deal = broken sales cycle
He says the escalating number of “no decisions” is a sure sign that sales cycles are broken.
A healthy sales cycle, one that is well aligned with prospects’ buying cycles, will enable sales professionals to find out very early if their solutions fit their customers’ needs, and if there’s a strong enough business case to get the purchase approved. If there isn’t, he advises walking from the deal as soon as you can.
“Let someone else waste their time to end up with no decision,” he advises.
Take these steps to ensure your sales cycle is set up so you can either win the deal or achieve the second-best option – getting to “no” fast.
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