Sales Strategies

7 Surprising Reasons to Extend Your Sales Cycle

7 Surprising Reasons to Extend Your Sales Cycle
Image credit: Shutterstock
Reader Resource

Position yourself for growth in 2017—join us live at the Entrepreneur 360 Conference in Long Beach, Calif. on Nov. 16. Secure Your Seat »

The B2B sales cycle is changing, and among certain buyers it is getting longer by the day. This can be partially attributed to prospects having access to more information than ever before thanks to the Internet and social media. Another contributing factor is that they are more aware of the real costs of choosing the wrong solution. Some buyers are paralyzed by the fact that the wrong purchasing decision can cost them revenue, productivity and customers.

Many businesses are looking for ways to shorten their sales cycle. While this may be beneficial, these sales teams are not considering the potential upsides of a longer sales cycle. Below are seven reasons why sales representatives should try to wait longer to close a sale.

1. It gives you the chance to discover untapped needs.

The longer your sales cycle is, the more time you spend engaging with your prospects. This means you will have plenty of opportunities to learn exactly what their problems are.

A longer discovery process enables you to discover untapped needs that they might not even be aware of. In the end, this could lead to a much bigger sale and additional opportunities in the future.

2. It gives you more time to disperse educational content.

The digital age means more information and shorter attention spans.

In an expedited sales cycle, you may unintentionally inundate your prospects with information they are unable to fully absorb or process. A longer sales cycle, on the other hand, allows you to strategically stagger the delivery of marketing materials.

Related: 10 Secrets From Leading Sales Execs

In the latter scenario, your prospects are more likely to retain the information you share, and they may even trust you more. This increases your liklihood of closing the sale, which is what really matters.

3. It gives you time to develop better sales collateral.

Not every customer is the same.

The quicker your sales cycle is, the less time you have to personalize your marketing materials for each buyer. An enormous benefit of a longer sales cycle is that you will have more time to personalize sales materials for each prospect.

4. It allows you to tweak your product.

It is important to note that your product is not a perfect fit for every prospect. If your client has a specific need you cannot currently fulfill, you will be unable to close the sale, and they will simply find an alternative provider that is a better fit.

Related: Here is the Equation for Increasing Your Sales Team's Success

Given enough time, however, you can tweak your product to something that meets and exceeds all of their expectations. With a more patient sales cycle, you won’t have to worry about missing the sale, and you will have an even better product for the next prospect that knocks on your door.

5. It increases trust.

This point is extremely simple. The more time you spend selling to a customer, the stronger your relationship will be. By the end of a lengthy sales cycle, you will have more contacts and a better idea of how the organization works. The relationships you develop will be well-nurtured. Provided that the sale goes smoothly, you will have a much better chance of retaining their business in the future.

6. It shows you are chasing the right customers.

Longer sales cycles may indicate that you are chasing the right kinds of deals. Evidence shows that prospects at large organizations tend to have long sales cycles more often than small or mid-size businesses.

Related: 4 Tips for Managing a Seasonal Sales Cycle

Additionally, a long sales cycle is usually indicative of high revenue, complex deals. These are the types of customers and contracts you want in your pipeline. Although it is natural to feel apprehensive about increasing your average sales cycle timeline, remember that strategically elongating your sales cycle can lead to more valuable opportunities.

7. It allows you to examine your sales cycle.

Spending a lot of time on every sale forces you to examine each one closely. You will be able to analyze whether or not your inbound marketing is effective or if there are any particular steps hindering sales. The information you glean from doing this is invaluable.

Longer sales cycles are challenging and sometimes frustrating, but they are not always a bad thing. If you can teach your sales team to embrace longer sales cycles you will be better equipped to handle prospects, and enjoy a wide variety of benefits.