Building a Smart Sales Structure Part 2: Shortening the Sales Cycle

This is the final part of our “Building a Smart Sales Structure” series with Marc Schröder and Lars Conrad.

Building a sales structure that works is vital to a business’s wellbeing, it is the fuel for most companies; you can have a great product but if you don’t know how to wrap it properly, it will be challenging to keep the company afloat.

While still in crisis what should a company focus on?

Nobody knows what is going to happen next, the only thing companies can and should do right now is to stock up on their “ammo”. The ammo is the company’s standards of excellence; digging into the basics, and optimizing processes, so that you have full overview on the status quo as impacted by COVID-19, as a result setting new goals, and new ways to optimize processes according to those goals.

“Have an undefeatable will to win – do whatever it takes to prevail.”

How do you optimize your sales funnel / sales process?

In order to structure and optimize the sales funnel, make sure to evaluate what the current status is, and what can and should be changed to adapt to present circumstances.

Here is an example of what different stages might look like in a direct sales channel:

At each stage of the process write out which actions need to be completed in order to move to the next stage.

Dive deep into each structure and write exact guidelines; what needs to be done at what stage and by who. Everything should be scripted, communicated and lived by. Make sure it is reviewed and adjusted according to those circumstances that have emerged due to the current crisis and the rise of the new normal. 

In the sales process accountability is extremely important, knowing; who does what when; which tools are being used at which stage of the process and for what. In order to maintain consistency, this should be transparent throughout the team, not only for some actions, but for everything.

“Maintaining clarity on these things increases efficiency when working remotely.”

When it comes to B2B sales, how can you effectively shorten the sales cycle?

In B2B sales, selling to an organization means targeting different roles therefore more time needs to be allocated to prospecting. It is vital to understand each role involved in the process and how to approach them.

Roles within an organization’s B2B buying center that need to be covered include:

-      Influencers

-      Gatekeepers

-      Users

-      Buyers

-      Initiators

-      Decision Makers

Each role have different targets they need to reach and therefore require an individual approach.

Understand each role; understand what drives them professionally; and on a personal level, what their hopes, fears and desires are.

If you understand a person’s desires you can also deduce their fears, and if you address that it will increase chances of progressing through the sales funnel significantly.

Is there a model to be applied when approaching B2B leads that will help shorten the sales cycle?

When gathering information, follow the MEDDIC model to structure and apply metrics at each point of contact:

M – METRICS – what is the economic impact of the solution? Metric proof points.

Action: To understand this, compile open questions before the appointment or call to highlight the benefits.

E – Economic buyer – is the person who has discretionary use of funds and create budgets.

Action: Find out who your personal budget manager is.

D – Decision Criteria – is the formal criteria applied by the business to compare different vendors’ offerings. Ex- Capabilities, vendor info, and financial hurdles, rates.

Action: Ask open questions that address the indispensable decision-making criteria in this project.

D – Decision process – The process used to select and purchase a vendor offering. The events and timeline – validation and approval process.

Action: Find out how the customer organisation’s internal decision-making chain is built by asking the contact person specific questions.

I – Identify Pain point – What is the pain point? The link to business consequences (KPIs) and a compelling event? Define the cost of doing nothing to address this.

Action: Use precise and penetrating questions to identify project participants who have the greatest need for the solution within the customer organization.

C – Champion – is the key player in the organization who has the power and influence to drive the opportunity: Sells on your behalf.

Action: Determine your advocate by discreet questions; “Who is indirectly helping me win the project with the client?”

The MEDDIC model helps determine whether too much time is being spent on any given customer, and whether there needs to be a shift in the target group in order to increase conversion rates. As a result, the sales cycle is shortened, allowing more time for leads that have a bigger chance of going through.

At each stage of MEDDIC ask questions that will help in understanding the agenda of each role involved;  this will either help get you further through the sales funnel, or help reach a quicker conclusion as to whether the lead will be a successful one.

Remember to apply the give/get matrix where necessary; Never give anything out without getting something in return. For example: Providing information in return for an appointment.

Apply the disc model to better understand the person you are selling to and how to approach them.

Which models can be combined to increase conversion rates and shorten the sales cycle even further?

Combine the MEDDIC model- seller centric approach with focus on closing a deal across all criteria with the SPICED model - customer centric approach with focus on achieving impact to shorten the sales cycle even further:

S – Situation – Any facts or external circumstances with impact on the customer

P – Pain – the issue(s) that brought the customer your way

I – Impact- How you can improve your customer’s business

C – Critical Event – Any particular deadline to achieve the impact by

D – Decision process

D – Decision criteria – Any special considerations for purchase


Recurring revenue is a result of recurring impact; Make sure the sales team can apply both the MEDDIC and SPICED models for a holistic selling approach from both perspectives.

Combining these will help to shorten the sales cycle while still sticking to a structure and getting the information necessary to go through every step in the funnel.

Where can I find leads, and what is the best way to go about lead generation?

In order to minimize time spent on initial lead generation, automate the process as much as possible.

Here a few examples of automation tools that help automate the lead generation process:

-      Zoominfo - particularly useful for B2B lead generation

-      Echobot - sales and marketing intelligence

-      Voogy - useful for content marketing, and social media

-      Datanyze - useful for B2B insights

-      GrowthOK - useful for resources

-      d-salesbot - personalizes linkedin messages

We hope you found this two part series on "Building a Smart Sales Structure" useful.

In case you missed part one, find it here. Find valuable webinars from our program here.

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