B2B sales: can you speed up the process?

Can you automate parts of the B2B sales process to shorten the sales cycle?

Clients are often frustrated by the long lead time for B2B sales. One recent study found it takes an average of 84 DAYS to convert a lead into an opportunity.

Then another 18 days to turn those into actual deals.

Yet with our B2C clients we regularly automate many parts of the sales cycle using email marketing, remarketing and workflows to optimise conversion rate.

B2B sales automation

Can we do the same with B2B sales?

We’ve been discussing this with our friends at Tenfold. First you can qualify leads using a decent CRM system. Sift through to grade, score and rank leads that better meet your customer profile. That way your team aren’t wasting time qualifying leads on the phone or face to face.

Secondly, you can track your prospects through the sales funnel as they open emails, view web pages, download content etc and automate alerts to notify your team (or yourself). Again, you’ll need a decent CRM system to make this easier.

Third, how are you nurturing leads within the funnel? What content are you providing them that keeps them engaged with your services? In B2C settings we might segment the leads and send them personalised automated emails (personalisation delivers a sixfold higher transaction rate than non-personalised emails) including:

  • Identify lapsed customers – Target them after x months, the focus will be to get them purchasing again
  • Re-engage – This is to target subscribers who have not engaged with any emails in x amount of months.
  • Recent Purchases – These are your loyal customers, who you may want to hit with after sales
  • Engaged – You most engaged group of subscribers ‘advocates’
  • Product Based – Those who buy a certain product, you may want to target when new products are launched within that area

What similar processes can you use to target B2B customers? What about a ‘Welcome aboard’ message? They may not have “Left items in their cart” but they may download a proposal or other supporting documentation. Is there something else that can be offered at this stage? Buyer testimonial? After a deal is done, what Post Purchase automation could be sent offering additional services or products? What Re-engagement is set up to pick up lapsed customers?

Finally, are you automating the follow up process? Set reminders & draft your follow ups and have them automatically send at key stages.

How long is the sales lead time in your business?

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