Secrets to Shortening Sales Cycles and Growing Marketing and Sales Effectiveness

How do organizations drive revenue growth? For the customer acquisition arms of a business, namely marketing and sales, there are endless combinations of tactics and strategies to deploy. That is, if we’re looking at the inputs at work in the formula. To simplify things, if we instead look at the outputs — what marketing and sales teams need to achieve to grow company revenue — all the possibilities get funneled down to two categories: effectiveness and efficiency.

To drive revenue growth through marketing and sales effectiveness, organizations must improve the quality of their operations. Effectiveness can be as simple as doing the same things, but in a way in which it is identifiably better over time.

To drive revenue growth through marketing and sales efficiency, organizations must be concerned with managing the quantitative elements of their operations. Efficiency, in some cases, means being able to deliver more proposals in the same amount of time, or sending fewer emails over a shorter span to convert a prospect faster.

The ideal means of growing company revenue would, of course, be to maximize marketing and sales effectiveness and efficiency. Marketing generates more leads, sales accepts more of those leads, more leads become more opportunities, more opportunities become wins, and all this happens faster and with less effort. Pragmatically, though, organizations that want ideal growth in the real world need manageable components that can be adjusted bit-by-bit to improve in incremental, attainable ways. In this report, we’ve isolated the epitome of marketing and sales efficiency — the ability to shorten sales cycles — to focus in on and study one such incremental improvement.

What shortening a sales cycle means to an organization is essentially the ability to maximize the value of time spent by the marketing and sales teams. For clarity, Aberdeen Group uses the term sales cycle to describe the general span of time within which an organization identifies or initiates the potential for a purchase from a potential buyer and subsequently converts that potential into an actual transaction. In other words, the sales cycle is the amount of time an organization dedicates to the pursuit of revenue. For most organizations with fiscal or calendar year reporting periods, shortening sales cycles means less time seeking revenue per year, and more time recognizing revenue.