Analysis of Days in Sales Cycle Stage and Conversion Rates

Jeff Ernst (@jeffernst) wrote a blog post on a careful analysis of days in each sales cycle stage and conversion rates, on June 3, 2009:

“[…] We took a look at their sales cycles, and found that they were pretty good at getting leads into the top of the funnel, having initial exploratory conversations, and even getting late-stage deals over the goal line.  The choke point was getting folks who had shown interest in their product to convert to sales opportunities.

This type of analysis is not that hard to do. Lee Levitt, the [former] Director of the Sales Advisory Practice at IDC, has long been advocating a careful analysis of Days in Stage and Conversion Rates as a way to target areas for improvement.

So rather than continuing the broad brush approach to sales enablement, we decided to focus on improving that one conversion point.  We looked at what the most frequent objections they were getting in stalled deals, and not surprisingly, it sounded like this:

  • We have no budget
  • Our staff has no time for this right now
  • We’ve got too many other projects in the queue

This told me that we needed to come up with some messaging and tools to allow the sales reps to dig deeper into the “no budget” excuse to the root cause. We needed to arm them with tools to make the prospect realize that they could get started incredibly easily. And we even adjusted the pricing model to reflect the reality of today’s buying environment.

Look for the choke points. Give your reps what they need to improve the dialogue when buyers are going dark.”

From my point of view adjusting the pricing model might be the key.

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