How to shorten your sales cycle

Steli Efti
Nov 7, 2016 · 2 min read

Oftentimes, the bigger the deal the longer it takes to close it. When you’re selling to large organizations, you’ll find that they’re also very slow moving organizations. Selling to them can bring in a lot of revenue — but it can also cost a lot of time and eat up a lot of resources that you could otherwise deploy elsewhere.

This matters even more if you’re working on a startup where resources are always scarce, and long sales cycles could kill your entire business. You need to move fast and create a lot of learnings in a short amount of time.

Back in the days when I was running an outsourced sales organization where we did a lot of enterprise sales, we had to come up with a way to create results for our clients quickly. We were doing sales for more than 200 venture backed startups in Silicon Valley, and these people were paying us very well — but they also expected results. When you’re running an outsourced sales team, it’s very clear and transparent how much value you’re creating for the organization.

So we had to come up with creative ways of shortening the sales cycle. What you’ll find in a typical enterprise deal for example is that it has to pass through departments, and each department will take time to vet a contract, request some changes, which then have to be reviewed and approved by another department that already had passed it on, and so on. There’s a sheer endless amount of back and forth between you and the different stakeholders on the side of the buyer, and it often takes months.

Now what you want to do is to learn about this process before you begin the process. You want to know who needs to sign off on a deal, whose stamp of approval it needs, who will share input on this deal, and what the whole process typically looks like in the buying organization.

The trick then is to parallelize these processes. Instead of having a contract go through procurement and legal and marketing and IT in sequence… kick the process of with as many departments at a time as possible.

“But won’t this create a lot of confusion and potential for conflict?”

Only if you don’t do it right :) We’ve developed a simple framework for parallelizing the different components of the buying process, and I’m sharing it with you here. Click to read more.

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