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  • Writer's pictureAndy Hamer

The Sales Cycle Myth - Sets You Up for Failure!

I’d argue there is no such thing as a sales cycle!

A sale cycle implies customers will magically work to your timescales. Yes, there is a sales process, sales stages and sales playbooks that guide the sales team to deliver deals in the most productive and efficient way.

In my long career in sales and business development, I’ve never experienced a customer who works to a sales cycle why because they work to their own buying cycle and procurement process.

The sales cycle is myth when you try to make a customer comply with “your” cycle will lead to frustration from both sides of the table and almost certainly kill the sale.

You need to understand your customer:

· Buying cycle

· Objectives and motivation

· Issues, problems, challenges, and risks

· Timescales

· Budget available and required

· Procurement process

· Stakeholders

Otherwise, you will fail. The sales process will help uncover the information necessary to make the sales process move forward without any late-minute surprises.

Once these facts are uncovered, I’d log them and share them with the customer to ensure we are both aligned and get them to sign up for them. Using their timescales means you can apply pressure at the appropriate time. The “appropriate” time needs to be used with caution and tack.

I had a manager who was unhappy with the progress of a sale I told him progress was being made, however, they insisted I tell the customer we need to speed up. The reaction from the customer was as I expected “I’ll buy when I’m ready not before and if your manager doesn’t like that tough”!! It was an ill-advised intervention which did more harm than good.

Sales Techniques

When you are selling complex solutions with long buying cycles there isn’t just one single sales technique that gives you the full picture whether it’s: gap, value, challenger, Meddic etc. I believe a successful, seasoned, and experienced salesperson needs to use all these techniques whether they are formally trained or not, consciously or unconsciously to progress a deal through the sales stages.

It now brings up another sales myth you can shorten the buying cycle for complex solutions!

When you know a market, you understand the complexity of your product or solution and your ARR value is in the hundreds of thousands and millions then it’s highly unlikely you will land a deal in less than 12 – 18 months. Yes, obviously there are exceptions to the rules, but they are exceptions, not the norm.

Go To Market Strategy needs to be realistic!

Setting up your Go To Market Strategy by ignoring the buying cycle and its length will lead to frustration and failure, and unnecessarily burning money and resources.

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