I often ask people ‘how long is your sales cycle?’ and can honestly say that 90% of the time, the response is the same:
Do you know what that tells me…? It tells me that most people don’t actually know how long their average purchase takes, from the point of first contact to a converted sale.
Each and every industry has a varying sales cycle that is so dependent on the following:
• Getting in touch with prospects at the right time (a bit of luck and persistence)
• The state of the market (out of your control)
• Where your solutions fits in their priority list
…And sometimes the cycle of things, such as budgets.
The Coffee Story
Let’s look at an example. Around 3 months ago, we decided that we wanted a coffee machine for our office. We know we need it, but other priorities that come with a busy office have prevented us from taking action.
Cue a very timely telesales call from a company that sells coffee machines. After a good meeting and discussion about the options available, we were happy that they were a good fit for the coffee machine shaped gap in the kitchen.
3 months on, still no coffee machine.
Now, I was the right decision maker, they hit us at the right time and with the right product but has anything happened? No, it has not.
Although sometime soon I will get this organised, it sits lower down my to-do list than a lot of other things. One day soon, I will become a sale for that company.
That sale would have come as a result of their telemarketing campaigns, but not unlike many of you and despite best intentions, the process will have taken 3-6 months for my ‘sale’ to be completed.
Perfection isn’t Reality
Great relationships and sales cycles that produce an amazing ROI take time. Much like the coffee salesman, we can only influence our prospects, not guarantee a purchase even if they are at the right stage in the buying cycle.
Most sales processes take 3-6 months. However, some take 18 months, and some potential buyers won’t make a decision until years later.
There isn’t a perfect time to talk to someone and there isn’t the perfect campaign. But, there are actions you can take to make the most of a telesales campaign…
Follow up, Follow Up, Follow Up
There is a statistic I read many years ago that sticks with me. Apparently, in the B2B world it takes an average of 11 touch points before a sale is made. If you aren’t fresh in your prospects mind, you may as well forget the lead altogether.
So this is the key. Good follow up, patience, persistence and an acceptance that it does take time to close even the warmest leads. There are too many elements that you can’t control and the sooner you recognise this, the more comfortable you’ll be in accepting that follow up must be consistent and sustainable.
So how long should a good telesales campaign be run for, before you can measure its effectiveness?
Our trial phase (known as a pilot campaign) at Air Marketing Group is usually 12 weeks long. By this point we are generating leads consistently, and are fully competent in understanding your products, services and offer.
However, during months 7-9, our clients are often still closing sales with prospects we originally spoke to in months 1-3. With this in mind, we recommend trialling something for 12 weeks to prove the concept that good leads can be generated.
But, it’s good to go into any outbound sales and marketing with the expectation that you can only truly measure its effectiveness after 12 months.
Not only do we separate the warm leads from those that are not interested, we nurture and develop relationships with prospects to ensure we only pass over leads that are on the path to conversion.
Want to learn more? Contact us today by email or call us on 0345 241 3038.