Sales Acceleration is the word of the moment, being tossed around by CMOs and CSOs across large, global companies, but it actually applies to small businesses more than any other sector. Sales acceleration is the process of shortening the sales cycle and getting from prospect to paying customer, faster. For small businesses that lack full-scale marketing teams and the budget to test strategies or take risks, the ability to find the right customer at the time they are most willing to buy can be game changing. Of course sales acceleration can be lucrative for any business, but when your small business desperately needs a win to keep operating, closing a deal quickly can be the difference between success and failure. Here’s what “sales acceleration” actually breaks down to for a small business:
1. Strategic Targeting
The right sales acceleration tool is going to help your sales team target strategically and effectively. Time is money, especially to a small business, and the less time you spend targeting the wrong prospects, the more money you make on the right ones. Look for tools that let you target based off the characteristics of your best customers to help you build a list that looks like the exact type of buyer you want.
2. Triggered, Real-Time Alerts
Sales isn’t just about finding the right person, but finding them at the right time. There’s a small window where you’re actually able to close a sale quickly, otherwise it could take months or over a year. If you’re using a tool that alerts you to key events at your prospect’s company –like the changing of CMOs or mergers and acquisitions – you can immediately see the window of opportunity and seize it. Shortening your sales cycle saves you money and helps keep you competitive.
3. Better, More Informed Conversations
Small talk probably won’t help your sales team close many deals, but engaging, informed conversations can. When you have more information at your disposal you can strengthen your pitch – imagine knowing the prospects pain points before ever calling them. Generic conversations are easy to say no to, but personalized, relatable conversations are hard to ignore.
4. Less Time Searching, More Time Selling
The key to sales acceleration is obviously speed, and a good tool will provide the information your sales team needs in an intuitive way, so they spend less time doing research and more time talking to prospects and making your company money. How much time do your sales teams spend gathering information before they start selling? Think of how many more sales they could initiate if they cut their research time by 10, 20 or even 50 percent.
At Dun & Bradstreet, we practice what we preach. We use our sales acceleration platform, D&B Hoovers, to shorten our own sales cycle and empower our own sales teams. Just recently, a salesman of ours loaded his customers into D&B Hoovers. After seeing a triggered alert announcing a new EVP of Sales and a new EVP/CMO at one of his customers, he sent a prospecting email to introduce himself to the new contacts, proposing a meeting to talk through their go-to-market strategy, priorities, and anticipated challenges.
What was the result? The CMO’s assistant responded, suggesting a day and time, and is bringing the EVP of Sales into the meeting. By elevating the conversation in a meaningful way, our sales rep put himself in a position to have a calculated conversation with the decision makers that will help guide his customer’s strategy.
Ultimately, this type of account intelligence can increase the number of active opportunities that a rep is engaged with and ideally offer a solution to help address a customer’s overall needs.
Our sales acceleration customers have realized significant benefits as well:
- Lead funnel size improved by 59%*
- Pipeline built 3 times faster**
- Sales close rate increased more than 60%*
- Revenue growth increased 10% on average†
Just because enterprise companies are buzzing about sales acceleration doesn’t mean small businesses can’t be part of the conversation. As helpful as a shortened sales cycle is to a large company, it’s even more important to a small one. Sales acceleration can help your small business get in front of the right people at the right time, helping you close more business and stay competitive.
*Fortune 500 Bank/Tech Validate
†D&B S&MS Gartner Study