Years ago I worked with a great company that sold to whales, big whales. Their sales cycles were 2 years long and growing. So 2+ years before any business would be signed.
Typically the sales cycle lasted from your first real engagement with a client through to contract signing, although I would say final implementation and payment are the true end. Real engagement was a meeting or a proper phone call.
The objective was always to shorten the sales cycle.
With social selling the sales teams are engaging with prospects and clients much earlier often with very soft touches – but these are still sales touches. The more of these touches and the better quality they are the more likely you will make a ‘good’ sale.
This means sales people can now put a prospect in their pipeline report before the prospect even knows they are a prospect and before they even know they have that need you are going to solve.
The downside to this is that we have lengthened that sales cycle.
Is this a bad thing? Are sales just taking some of the cycle that marketing used to own?
Do you still analyse the sales cycle for your products and when do you think it actually starts?