How Marketers Can Help Shorten Sales Cycles & Close More Sales

Rick Burnes
Rick Burnes



This article was written by  Dave Kurlan , a best-selling author, top-rated speaker and leading international sales development expert. You can hear him speak Nov. 3 at the  Bentley University Executive Luncheon

You're an  inbound marketer , generating lots of leads, and feeling really good about what you do. From an  SEO  and  content  perspective, everything is golden. Yet, despite the great job you're doing, the sales force is screwing up all of those great leads you have generated.

Among the many problems you've noted, most prominent are:

  • They aren't reaching a large number of prospects.
  • They are closing a very small percentage of leads.
  • Leads that are closing are taking a very long time.
  • Salespeople are reporting that a lot of the leads suck.
  • Salespeople are having difficulty getting interested prospects re-engaged.
  • Prospects who aren't buying are citing timing and money as the reasons.


So how can you improve their results so that the great job you're doing doesn't go to waste?

The problems noted above are very common for sellers following up on internet leads. The primary problem is that salespeople in this environment, selling in a tribute to 1965, like to jump right in and demo the product or service being offered. In doing so, they are getting exactly the kind of results to be expected when using such a primitive form of selling.

While much needs to change, what do they change first?

Rather than demonstrating the product or service, they must begin by asking questions:

  • Why were they interested?
  • What were they hoping it would solve?
  • How long have they had that problem?
  • What have they attempted to do about it?
  • How did that work out?
  • As a result of the problem, how is their business being affected?
  • How important is it to solve the problem?
  • What else have they looked at?
  • How did they like it?
  • Why?
  • How committed are they to solving the problem?
  • What is their timeline?
  • Are they willing to spend $x to make the problem go away?
  • Are they are user or a decision maker?


The list above is not the be all end all of questions but it is certainly a start. When salespeople jump into a demo, the prospects learn but don't always buy. Slower is better. More is less. When salespeople begin with the right questions, they can uncover the compelling reasons to buy, demonstrate their expertise, show that they understand, and create some urgency to take action.

Then, when the prospect is sufficiently qualified to get the demo, it can be customized to show how it will solve their problem. Rather than a linear demonstration of clicks and screens, the salesperson can show exactly how it will make their problem go away.

So will making these changes in selling approach solve the marketer's problem with lead conversion?

Not necessarily.

What we don't know is:

  • Can these salespeople make the transition from presenters to sellers?
  • Does the company have the right salespeople?
  • Can the salespeople execute the company's strategies?
  • Can the salespeople be developed?
  • How much help will the salespeople need?
  • How long will it take?
  • How much better can they become?
  • What impact is sales management having on the salespeople?
  • Is sales management effective enough to coach to this approach?
  • Does the company know how to find and select the right salespeople?
  • What are reasonable expectations?


Would you like answers to these questions?

If you're able to get to the Boston area on November 3, your top executives can hear  Brian Halligan  and me talk about these issues at this  Bentley University Executive Luncheon .

If a trip to the Boston area is out of the question, you can  register to get the live stream . Since Hubspot is a sponsor of the event, you can use their discount code to attend the luncheon or the streamed event at no cost. Use HUB1103.

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