A Complete Guide To Sales Acceleration

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We all know the story of the tortoise and the hare. The lesson is you will be more successful doing things slowly and steadily than quickly and carelessly. It doesn’t quite work that way in sales. 

While you shouldn’t be careless, you can’t afford to be slow. Businesses that respond quickly to customers’ expressed interest are eight times more likely to convert them. Therefore, the best way to increase revenue is to sell more and sell quickly.

Unfortunately, many sales professionals only spend one-third of their work hours actually selling. They spend the rest of the time on non-revenue generating activities like conducting buyer research, data entry, and crafting emails. Although these are essential tasks, they take time away from selling.

Is there a way companies can optimize sales processes? Absolutely. With sales acceleration, your sales department can prospect, nurture hot leads, and close deals quickly without compromising customer experience.

What is sales acceleration?

The average business-to-business (B2B) sales cycle is four months, with some cycles lasting seven months or more. That’s a long time. Business-to-consumer (B2C) sales cycles are comparatively shorter (as few as a couple of minutes even), but they too can benefit from sales acceleration. 

What is sales acceleration?

Sales acceleration is the shortening of the sales cycle with the help of enhanced technologies and strategies. A successful sales acceleration framework delivers engagement tracking, data analytics, automation, and personalization.

Sales acceleration aims to move prospects along the sales funnel as quickly as possible, managing resources effectively and boosting revenue. Without a sales acceleration framework, salespeople spend valuable time following leads that may or may not convert.

The chart below highlights the differences in prospecting with and without a sales acceleration solution.

Like sales proposals examples, sales acceleration takes the guesswork out of the sales process, leaving the professional to follow leads that are likely to convert. Because of this efficiency, the sales professional can generate more sales, too.

Of course, companies still need to complement their sales acceleration strategies with other tactics for the best sales results. Let’s say you’re running a manufacturing business. You’ll want to grow your manufacturing business online and implement client retention strategies as well.

Ensuring the product consistently meets customer needs helps with sales, too. You can do this by gathering and implementing customer feedback.

Areas to focus on for sales acceleration

Sales acceleration isn’t complicated. You only need to look at your current workflow and identify where the bottlenecks lie in your sales process. Examine sales data and analytics. Ask your sales team about what’s working and what isn’t. 

Next, define what needs to be changed and identify the appropriate strategies to overcome the inefficiencies. Finally, implement those strategies and train your employees where and how to apply sales acceleration.

Let’s look at the specific areas where you can use sales acceleration solutions to improve the sales process and ignite growth:

1. Buyer research

Every salesperson knows that to win sales, they need to personalize sales pitches, avoid buzzwords, and follow up. Sales agents should be armed with extensive and detailed client information to capitalize on conversion opportunities like sales pitches or client demonstrations.

Buyer research

Knowing your customers is essential to increasing sales conversions and revenue growth. The more your sales reps know about the customer, the more likely they will close a deal. 

Sales teams need to collect the following customer data:

  • Profession/industry
  • Income/revenue
  • Goals and values
  • Frustrations and pain points
  • Buying behaviors
  • Competitor insights

Unfortunately, identifying and researching customers takes a lot of time. Equipping sales staff with the right tools speeds up this process. Sales prospecting software like Outreach or LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator finds and filters potential customers using unique data search points like geographic location or income.

It frees your team from tedious research and gives them personalized information to ensure they address a lead’s needs and pain points.  

2. Lead routing

Assuming you have more than one sales rep, the sales manager decides which leads go to which agent. Lead routing is the process of assigning leads among sales reps. The sales team supervisor can accelerate this process with lead distribution software like Distribution Engine or LeanData.

Rather than allocating leads manually, they are distributed automatically by routing leads based on a predetermined criterion. Sales supervisors can distribute leads alphabetically or by deal size, rep’s experience, geography, agent availability, and other specifications.

Using automated lead routing saves supervisors time figuring out which lead should go to which agent. That, in turn, accelerates speed to lead and enables sales teams to quickly respond to the customer trigger event when the purchase intent is still high. 

Speed to lead is the time sales teams take to respond to a prospect’s expressed interest. The clock starts ticking once a lead hits the submit button on a contact form or demo request. A much-referenced MIT Lead Response Management Survey found that a lead begins to turn cold ten minutes after the first expression of interest.

3. Inbound marketing

Inbound marketing is a strategic approach to creating content that connects with potential buyers and aligns with their needs. The most common types of inbound content are blog posts, social media posts, videos, guidebooks, and infographics.

Inbound marketing

The graph shows that the best marketing content for moving prospects through the sales pipeline is blog posts, followed by white papers, then video. According to Forrester, adding visual elements like videos in your email marketing campaigns increases engagement by up to 300%.  

Invest in generative AI like Writer to create copy for landing pages, infographics, how-to guides, videos, and other sales or marketing content more quickly. All you need to do is insert the right prompts and you’re good to go. See the example below:

Other content creation tools you might want to use to help you develop personalized content include Leadpages, Unbounce, and Canva.

Sales teams need content to make professional pitches and presentations and answer prospects’ questions and objections. Marketing teams, likewise, need customer insights to craft content marketing strategies that align with the lead’s buyer journey.  Both departments are the driver of sales success and need to be aligned. 

So, you also need to invest in marketing automation tools with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) integration for a smoother exchange of information. For example, Hubspot Marketing Automation comes with foundational CRM functionality. In addition to sales acceleration technology, encourage a culture of collaboration between sales and marketing teams.

4. Lead qualification and scoring

Lead qualification and scoring help sales teams determine which prospects are worth the follow-up and which aren’t.  Around 22% of salespeople struggle with lead qualification, identifying it as the most challenging part of the sales process

Not every person that expresses interest in your business is in a position to buy from you. Sales teams risk wasting time on leads that won’t quickly, or worse, don’t convert.

Adopting sales management software with lead qualification functions helps sales leaders quickly determine which prospects are most likely to convert to customers. Artificial intelligence (AI) qualifies prospects according to your ideal customer profile or buyer persona rules.

For instance, your ideal customer may be the IT director at a human resource start-up with 25 to 50 employees and a revenue of $3-5 million a year. Prospects that meet these criteria are qualified. 

Lead scoring technology assigns points to qualified leads based on their willingness to purchase. It allows your sales team to prioritize prospects according to available resources. For example, sales reps will prioritize a prospective customer who visits your product pricing page multiple times and requests a demo over a web visitor that downloads your eBook; or an existing customer over an unconverted lead.

Lead Qualification and Scoring

Sales acceleration software like Freshsales and Zoho CRM optimizes the lead scoring process, giving sales representatives real-time information they can use instantly.

These tools use AI technology to predict and score leads based on buyer behavior. In the example above, the highest priority is an existing customer with the most recent contact.

5. Other areas

Sales productivity is a challenge for many sales organizations. Two-thirds of your employees spend their time on repetitive, non-revenue generating activities like data entry, email, and call scheduling. Imagine how much more your salespeople could sell if they weren’t bogged down with copying and pasting follow-up emails to every prospect.

Leverage technology with sales acceleration software to ensure sales agents spend more effort selling and less time on administrative tasks. Here are some technologies to invest in to improve sales productivity:

  • Retail time alerts: Automatically notify the sales rep when customers interact with the business – open email, request demos, visit product pages, etc. Real-time alerts are essential for Speed to Lead and reach customers at their highest point of interest.
  • Email automation software: Has different email templates that a sales rep can use to respond to various trigger events. With email tracking tools, your sales leaders can collect information on open rates, click-through rates, and the best time and day to send emails.
  • Quote to Cash solutions: Allow sales teams to demonstrate customer savings quickly by calculating quotes based on a pre-defined pricing structure.

With automated solutions that drive productivity and provide detailed customer interaction insights, sales teams can efficiently progress through the sales process.

Wrapping up

In sales, it is best to act quickly. The faster sales-qualified prospects move through your sales cycles, the faster your business and revenue will grow. Implementing a sales acceleration strategy ensures your sales teams aren’t wasting time on prospects that are not likely to convert.

Start by researching your target audience and defining your customer profiles so that sales agents can prioritize sales-qualified leads effectively. Next, let technology do the heavy lifting by automating time-consuming activities like emailing. Automation also optimizes the lead qualification, scoring, and routing processes. 

The sales process can be long and complex, but with this guide, you can speed up the process. You can efficiently move potential customers through your sales cycle while delivering a good customer experience.

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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