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Hope Relly-CobbApr 01, 20245 min read

3 Strategies to Speed Up Your Long Sales Cycle

Managing long sales cycles is one of the problems we hear about the most as marketers. Specifically at SIX, where we work with many B2B clients who have very technical products or services, new clients often come to us frustrated by how slow their sales process is.

But the sales cycle isn't a marketing problem, right? Traditionally speaking, no, it’s not. But any marketing professional could probably tell you about a time they ran an objectively great campaign that generated leads but no sales. And that’s frustrating for everyone involved.

It’s one of the reasons we decided, a long time ago, to expand our own services to include not only marketing, but also sales training and consulting. We’ve found that working with our clients to improve sales cycles helps them see more success in their marketing.

Let’s explore three strategies we typically use to speed up our clients’ sales cycles. 


Streamline your sales with the right technology

There are many elements of the sales cycle that you can’t control. Maybe the leads at your target companies must go through a lengthy buying process with multiple decision-makers and compliance. Perhaps you manufacture parts that must be included in design specifications long before your customer is ready to place an order. Or maybe your customers are just incredibly indecisive.

This might just be the way it is in your industry. And other than changing your industry (usually not a realistic option), there isn’t much you can do about it.

But what you can change is your approach to outreach. Using the right technology to identify, communicate with, and keep track of leads can streamline your side of the sales process and shave off valuable time.

You can make your outreach more effective by using intent data to generate more refined prospect lists. This will allow your team to focus on communicating with prospects who not only meet your ideal customer profile (ICP), but also are most likely to buy.

Technology can also help you automate outreach and follow-up, document and keep track of all leads and communication, and nurture any leads stuck in the pipeline. By cleaning up your processes with technology, you can speed up your side of the sales cycle to help compensate for time-consuming processes on the prospect’s side. 


Support your prospect’s decision-making process

While you can’t directly control how long your prospects take to complete their buying process, you can help speed up their buying process by ensuring they have all the information necessary to make a decision.

Understanding your customers and how they make buying decisions is important. Analyzing ICPs and personas helps us understand your audience, how they conduct research, what sources of information they trust the most, what kind of information they need to make a decision, and more. A detail-oriented person will need more in-depth content, while fast-paced decision-makers might want high-level information that’s clear and concise.

It depends on your target companies, but you may need to sell a buying committee on your products or services. Buying committees involve multiple stakeholders who might have very different personalities and priorities.

For example, if your buyer personas include both engineers and supply chain managers, it's important to realize that it might take different strategies to reach them. Engineers tend to be highly skeptical buyers and need detailed information and specifications to make an informed decision. Supply chain managers will likely be less concerned with the specs and more concerned with your ability to deliver products on time and on budget. It's essential to have marketing materials that speak to each buyer's needs.

What kinds of educational content marketing you need will vary greatly depending on your product or service, industry, and buyers. Some examples include service/product pages, spec sheets, helpful blogs, newsletters, informational guides, infographics, videos, FAQs, case studies, and testimonials. Content takes some time and effort to build out, but eventually, you’ll have a strong foundation of content to support your sales team. 

Related: Content Marketing for Manufacturers: 6 Ways to Use Content


speeding up lead generation represented by timelapse of car lights on a highway

Scale up & refine your lead generation

Once you have better processes in place, you can increase the volume of leads in your funnel and scale up your outreach. Streamlining your sales process and marketing content will allow you to communicate with and market to more leads at a time.

The best way to generate leads depends on your industry and where your target audience is best reached. You’ll need to determine which channels (email, display ads, social media, etc.) are the most effective.

Account-based marketing (ABM) can be the best approach for companies with long sales cycles. ABM combines highly targeted and personalized outreach with advertising and other marketing support.

Using the right technology, you’ll identify specific, high-value accounts that meet your ICP and send messaging to the right contacts at those companies, with content tailored directly to their needs. In addition to direct outreach, you’ll also serve highly relevant ads to your prospects and provide them with personalized educational supporting content.

This lead generation approach focuses on spending your time and effort in the most effective way possible. It helps shorten your sales cycle by ensuring that the leads entering your sales pipeline are high quality and likely to convert into long-term customers. 

Related: The 3 Types of ABM & When to Use Them


Speed up your sales cycle

Long sales cycles are frustrating, and in many industries, they’re unavoidable. But streamlining processes, creating educational content, and refining your lead generation can make a crucial difference in your sales cycle. 

If you’d like to learn more about how to speed up your sales cycle, schedule some time to discuss your company’s unique needs with our VP of Business Development, Leah Parillo.


Editor's note: This article was originally featured in Saratoga Business Report's Q1 2024 issue


Hope Relly-Cobb

Director of Content & Senior Analyst | SIX Marketing