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Slow and Steady: Winning the Long Sales Cycle

4 min read
Updated Oct. 18, 2023
Published Aug. 25, 2017

When your opportunities shift from mid-market to enterprise level, deals get larger as more decision makers and money become involved. The length of your sales cycle will undoubtedly increase as well.

According to TOPO’s 2017 Benchmark Report, the average sales cycle of enterprise deals is 7.7 months. So roughly 2/3 of the year can be spent working a single account from lead to close.

This long sales cycle should be treated like a marathon rather than a sprint. The consistent care for your deal takes you across the finish line. Like a marathon, getting through the race is as much a mental game as it is a skill. You need to blend the necessary sales skills with patience and gusto to keep the sale moving forward.

So to prep you for the long journey ahead, here are a few ways you can move your slower sales process towards a win.

Aim for a Quick Turn Around

A Harvard Business Review study found that companies that contacted potential customers within an hour of inquiry were seven times more likely to have a meaningful conversation with a key decision maker soon after. In comparison, companies that responded after 24 hours or longer were 60 times less likely to have a conversation.

When you are working with enterprise-level accounts, each and every action you take contributes to the evaluation of your company, including your turnaround time. It’s not just your pitch and demos that are scrutinized, but your attention to detail, response times, and ability to follow up. A quick and attentive turnaround could be the key to a prospect’s decision between you and your competitor.

So stay diligent and respond to your prospects as soon as possible! With Salesloft you can enable Live Feed notifications that ping you when prospects reply to your emails, immediately prompting you to respond. Plus, with Snippets, you can increase your response times by piecing messages together with reusable, informative content. Delivering a quick response with targeted information will show your prospect you’re fully committed and focussed on their company.

Communicate Often with Consistent Nurture

With long sales cycles, it’s easy for you and your opportunity to fall out of touch. To keep your long sales cycle alive you need to consistently communicate with your prospect. Keeping your prospect in a nurture cadence gives your sales cycle reliable checkpoints that can keep everyone engaged with the sale.

Think of your long sales cycle nurture cadence like a safety net for communication. Ideally, you will be scheduling meetings with your prospects that will develop your business relationship. But setting a nurture cadence with monthly pauses keeps you on the prospect’s radar if the conversation isn’t already flowing.

You can even keep your nurture cadence aligned with enterprise prospects that you’ve established a good rapport with. If you consistently speak with a prospect, Salesloft allows you to schedule your emails in advance. This way your prospects can still receive valuable emails from your nurture cadence at just the right time for them.

Know What’s Best for the Prospect

Over the course of the long sales cycle, you’re going to talk to your prospect. A lot. You are going to discuss the pain points and goals of their business, revenue, growth opportunities, how their weekends were, and more. Through all of this communication, you should learn the company’s buying style and adapt your sale to fit their needs.

Use those initial conversations to feel out your prospect’s personality. Gauge from cues whether the prospect is more introspective and may need you to motivate them throughout the sale or if the prospect is a take charge kind of person, they may want to guide more of the sale themselves.

The most important thing to keep in mind when you are working a long sale cycle you aren’t just pushing a sale. You are building a business relationship. If you strategically manage your steady sale cycle, you’ll win the deal and form a partnership.

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