Look, we’re not gonna lie——sales acceleration is just a fancy way of saying “sell faster.”
And, if you’re spending time in the endless B2B sales cycle, then you’ll know why it’s the buzzword of the day.
It took you weeks to even get on a call with a prospect. Then you have to talk to their manager. Then they want a demo with their tech people. Then they think they like it, but they want a pitch to sell your solution to the CFO.
And then… they go quiet on you for, like, three weeks and you have no idea why.
And now you’re looking at your target for the quarter and thinking about that bonus that you’re not going to get——again. Sigh.
So, what can you do to speed things up?
In this article, we’ll walk you through the sales acceleration strategies and best practices that will help you put a rocket under your sales processes.
What is sales acceleration?
Sales acceleration is the process of speeding up the sales journey.
The overall goal of sales acceleration is to:
- increase deal velocity
- reduce sales cycle times
- improve sales team efficiency
- and ultimately boost your bottom line
This involves optimizing each stage of the sales process, from prospecting to qualifying your leads to closing the deal, so that you hit your targets faster—without being pushy and irritating.
Sales acceleration matters for every sales team—nobody wants deals to drag on forever—but it’s especially important if you’re in the B2B market. Nearly three-quarters of B2B sales to new customers take at least 4 months to close, and 46.4% take 7 months or longer. Ouch.
Sales acceleration strategies & best practices
Sales acceleration is about making small tweaks to streamline the entire sales process. Over time, these minor improvements can have a dramatic impact on how long it takes you to close deals.
Here are a few tips for each stage of the buyer journey:
Finding new leads to go after can be a real time suck. To cut down on how long prospecting takes your team, try:
- Focusing on customer referrals, instead of casting around for new prospects. 66.5% of sales professionals said that customer referrals produce the kind of high-quality leads that move through the pipeline quickly. (In contrast, 47% found that kind of juicy lead via social media and just 44% saw solid leads coming in from trade shows or telemarketing.)
- Encouraging customers to give you referrals by remembering to ask for them (it sounds obvious but many companies forget this step). If you need to, try offering a small incentive for referrals—a gift card or a free month’s subscription can be enough.
When it comes to accelerating the outreach stage, technology is your friend. For example:
- Use email automation tools like Outreach and Salesloft to make it quicker and easier to send follow-up emails and schedule appointments.
- Use a lead scoring app to identify the right leads to prioritize—for instance, leads that have opened previous emails or engaged with digital content are more likely to move through the sales cycle in less time because they’re already further along in the decision-making process than cold-start leads.
- Add a calendar scheduling widget to your website and email, to make it faster for your leads to book a demo.
If you really want to optimize your sales process, you have to make sure your sales reps are going after the prospects most likely to convert.
Here are a few tips for accelerating the all-important qualification process:
Use standardized criteria, not gut instinct. It can be an easy trap to fall into chasing after a prospect because your sales rep clicks with their contact person, even though they don’t line up with your ideal customer profile (ICP). Give each sales rep a clear set of qualifying criteria to use on every discovery call.
Verify your assumptions. If you’ve got a prospect who seems like a great fit, use the MEDDIC approach to confirm that you’re right. MEDDIC stands for a list of questions that your sales team should find answers to before moving forward with a prospect:
- Metrics—How does your prospect measure their success?
- Economic buyer—Can your buyer contact authorize spending?
- Decision criteria—What is your prospect basing their decision on?
- Decision process—How is your prospect reaching a decision?
- Implicate pain—What pain point (if any) is forcing them to buy?
- Champion—Who will advocate for you on your buyer’s team?
Find your friends. Use tools like Champify or UserGems to identify former customers in the prospect’s organization, or look for a buyer champion within the organization. You need an insider who can confirm that you’re not barking up the right tree.
So, you’ve found prospects more quickly, contacted them more efficiently, and qualified them more effectively. How can you speed up the so-called presentation phase (your sales demo, if you’re in SaaS, or a sales pitch or one-on-one discussion if you aren’t)?
Here are a few pointers for moving things right along:
- Get the right people in the room first. Research by Gartner shows the average B2B buyer journey today involves between 11 and 20 stakeholders. Of these, the most important to your conversion rate is what Gartner calls the “core buying committee”—the people who are evaluating options and will make the final decision. Make sure that the key people you uncovered with your MEDDIC questions are in the room with you when you pitch. Or, if you can’t get them to talk to you…
- Give them multiple options. These days, you can’t assume you’ll be able to get your prospects on a call or into a meeting. Today’s buyers spend just 17% of their time talking to vendors during the purchase process. So, make it easier for them to get a sense of your product, without needing to set aside time for a call. For instance, depending on your product, you could offer a live demo, a recording of that demo, an interactive walkthrough, and a video showing the most relevant use case.
- Finish with a bang. The presentation phase isn’t just about the presentation—it’s about keeping the conversation moving forward. End the demo or presentation with clear next steps, such as a mutual action plan.
- Set up a digital sales room so the buying team can find all the information they need to make a decision. Instead of sending the prospect a stream of follow-up emails, use Dock to set up a personalized workspace where they’ll find a recording of the demo (for the people who couldn’t make it), meeting notes, a mutual action plan, relevant case studies, and even an order form.
- Don’t overwhelm them with information. Instead of bombarding your prospect with everything all at once, you can upload new information to their sales room as it becomes relevant.
5. Overcome objections
This is the graveyard where B2B sales go to die. You’ve delivered what you think was a great pitch. You’ve answered all their questions. You have a buyer champion ready to hype your solution to anyone who’ll listen. And yet—your prospect goes dark, and you often don’t even know why.
This is the dark funnel—the time your buyer spends considering the purchase decision internally, without your feedback. Moving through the funnel more quickly will take empathy, education, and great content—in other words, buyer enablement.
Here are a few tips for getting back into the light, stat:
- Use a revenue enablement platform that lets you track what the buyer is actually doing. With Dock’s sales rooms, you can see when a prospect engages with a specific piece of content, and how often. This can be a great way to sense if they’re actually moving through the funnel and could use a bit of encouragement—or if they’ve really gone dark on you.
- Anticipate likely objections—and share relevant content to help move past them. Your buyer champion can be a great source of insight here. Tackle the issues they raise with data-focused content, relevant case studies from similar organizations, battle cards that show how you provide greater value than key competitors, and clear answers to common objections about things like cost, contractual obligations, integration capabilities, and security.
So, you’ve done all the legwork, and your prospect is ready to buy. Maybe. Some day. To get them to Just. Close. Already., try the following:
- Use your mutual action plan to create a nagging sense of a task left undone. That feeling even has a name—the Zeigarnik effect. With a clear, easy-to-access mutual action plan, you can harness that uncomfortable feeling to gently nudge your prospect to close the deal.
- Make it easy to buy. For instance, if you’ve got a digital sales room set up in Dock, you can add your order form right there as soon as you feel like the prospect is ready for it.
Best sales acceleration software
Sales acceleration tools can be a huge help when it comes to expediting your sales pipeline. Automation, standardized templates, buyer enablement, and sales engagement platforms all make it easier to drive more sales, more quickly.
If you want a deep dive, you can read our guide to sales enablement software, but here’s a quick summary of the tech stack you’ll need to increase deal velocity:
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Platforms
This is the foundation of any sales tech stack. Your CRM stores all your customer information (contact details, your relationship history, deal metrics and statuses, and so on) in a single unified platform. Some CRMS are sales-only, while others also include features for customer success or marketing teams. A few options:
Sales Enablement Platforms
These are tools that help sales professionals be more effective and efficient. They typically offer two main functionalities: a learning management system (for sales coaching and sales training resources) and a content management system (to help get useful sales collateral into the hands of your sales team when they need it, so they don’t waste any time digging for it).
Here are a couple of options:
Revenue Enablement Platforms
This is the category that starts where sales enablement leaves off. Sales enablement tools were built to empower sales managers and sales reps, but they’re weak on buyer enablement.
This is a big problem, especially for B2B sales teams. The buyer champion carries a lot of the sales burden in B2B sales. They need the tools to convince the core buying committee and other stakeholders that your solution is the right one to get.
That’s where a revenue enablement platform comes in. Revenue enablement tools give you:
- the features of a sales enablement tool (content management and learning management)
- buyer enablement features like proposal and quote management tools
- collaborative workspaces to communicate with clients and prospects,
- digital sales rooms
- and mutual action plans
There are other tools that you could put in this category—some of the sales enablement platforms we listed in the previous section are trying to pivot towards revenue enablement, for example—but we ain’t gonna.
We built Dock specifically to deliver sales and buyer enablement at the same time, and people tell us we’re pretty good at it.
Schedule a demo if you’d like to see for yourself.
Sales Intelligence Software
Sales acceleration takes data. You need to understand more about the leads that will close more quickly, where you’re wasting time, and how long each deal is taking you. Enter sales intelligence tools that help you get to know more about your leads, prospects, and sales performance. This category breaks down further:
- Conversation intelligence tools collect and analyze information about your sales calls so you can take a more data-driven approach. Leaders include Gong and ZoomInfo Chorus.
- Revenue intelligence tools give you predictive analytics so you can forecast your revenue more accurately, such as Clari and Gong.
- Product-led sales tools, like Pocus and HeadsUp, let you combine data from your CRM with user product usage data to identify sales leads based on product usage.
- Competitive intelligence tools, like Crayon and Klue, let you automate any information you’ve gathered about your competitors, so you’ll know what your prospects are seeing, what’s trending, and what new objections they might have.
Sales Engagement Software
Also known as prospecting and outbound software, these platforms can make the prospecting and outreach stages of the sales funnel much faster. For example:
- Outbound email software, like Outreach and Salesloft, helps sales development reps and account execs scale cold outreach by automating email workflows and email tracking.
- Lead generation platforms, like ZoomInfo and Clearbit, have huge databases of B2B prospects that you can purchase.
- Social prospecting software, like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, makes outreach on social media faster and more effective.
- Sales demo software, for making interactive demos for SaaS products, lets you create a quick walkthrough of your product without needing to get the buyer onto a call. Examples include Reprise and Storylane.
Use Dock to sell faster without working harder
Accelerating your deal velocity comes down to empowering your sales team with great content and the right technology. Couple that with a buyer enablement mindset and toolkit that makes it easy and quick for your prospects to purchase, and you’ll notice significant sales acceleration over time.
Dock can help. Our digital sales rooms, order forms, and sales content platform are going to push your prospects through the pipeline much faster.
Curious? You can try Dock free here.