Approach your sales cycle like you would approach a cycle tour
Cyclists have been out in force on the roads this month as they gear up for the Cape Argus Cycle Tour on 9th March. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, cyclists who take on races like the Argus – all 109 kilometres of it – need to know a thing or two about strategy if they want to make it out alive.
In fact, there are some poignant similarities between a winning cycle tour strategy and an effective sales cycle strategy. Take a look:
Don’t push yourself too hard in the beginning.
If you set off at maximum speed right from the start line, you’re not going to last very long. Too much, too soon is a sure-fire way to exhaust or injure yourself. You need to start slow and steady, giving your muscles time to warm up before you put your head down and get into the serious stuff.
Don’t push leads to buy before they’re ready.
The same philosophy applies to your sales cycle: if a lead is still in the beginning stages of the sales cycle, you can’t expect a salesperson to pick up the phone and close the deal straight away. Leads at the beginning stages of the sales cycle are still playing the field; sussing out their options and researching potential solutions. They aren’t ready to buy yet, so calling them up now is nothing more than a waste of your sales team’s valuable time.
Leads at the beginning stages of the sales cycle need to be added to a lead nurturing programme designed to guide them down a path to purchase through the use of educational, strategic content. Just as a cyclist needs to gradually warm up during a race, so a lead needs to be warmed up until they’re ‘hot’ – and ready to buy.
You need the right fuel – not junk.
Subsisting on potato crisps, processed junk food and sugary drinks in the days leading up to a cycle race won’t do your body any favours. If you expect optimum performance, you need to make sure that your body is getting the right fuel. That means loads of veggies, quality protein, enough carbs and lots of water.
High quality, strategic content should fuel your sales cycle.
Implementing a content-driven lead nurturing programme is the best way to guide leads through the sales cycle. Consumers make purchase decisions based on independently-gathered information and their own online research. For this reason, strategically written, high quality, original content is the best fuel for your sales cycle.
For instance, when a consumer is still at the beginning stages of the sales cycle, sending them an article exploring the pros and cons of the different options available to them could influence their choice in your favour and propel them on to the next stage of the sales cycle.
You can’t win if you don’t have the right equipment.
At 109 kilometres, you can’t win the Cape Argus Cycle Tour riding a kid’s plastic bike or a buckled, rickety old tricycle. If you want to have even the faintest chance of winning, you need a proper road bike that’s in good nick. That’s not all; your bike needs to be properly set up to suit your particular height and weight, and you need to know how to patch it up if something breaks along the way.
Marketing automation software allows you to run your sales cycle strategy effectively.
Just as you need the right equipment in order to compete in a cycle tour, you also need the right software to run an effective sales cycle strategy. Marketing automation software enables you to track leads’ behaviour as they move through the sales cycle. If you know which stage of the sales cycle a lead is currently in, you can work out what content to send them in order to influence the decision they’re making at that moment. Without properly set up marketing automation software, you wouldn’t be able to do this.
Save some energy for the final push over the finish line.
When you turn that last corner and the finish line looms into sight, you’ll need to dig deep and summon your last reserves of energy for one last burst of speed if you want to avoid getting pipped at the post by a competitor.
Keep a special offer up your sleeve until the last moment.
If a lead has progressed through almost all of the stages of the sales cycle but seems to be hesitating before making a purchase, offering them a time-sensitive special deal could do the trick. At this late stage in the sales cycle, the opportunity to get a discounted rate is often all the psychological motivation a lead needs to actually make a purchase.
Author: Graeme Wilson
Image Credit: Peloton Cafe