Avoiding the Longer Sales Cycles Characteristic of a Down Economy

Alinean, a company to which we have made reference in earlier posts to this blog talks about the longer sales cycles that have become characteristic of enterprise technology sales in 2012. A number of prominent publicly traded businesses, including Oracle Corporation and Dell Computer have also made reference to longer sales cycles. In the case of Oracle Corporation, mention was made of an order that was finally held up by a CEO of a prospect, for a reason that came to the Oracle sales team as a complete surprise, and at the last steps in the sales process.

How is it possible to avoid these longer sales cycles? In fact, we do not believe that it is possible to, across the board, ensure a prompt cycle for sales that should come in. We, ourselves, have worked over the last year on an order that we quoted in February that should be received sometime in June. We were particularly concerned when a representative from the team purchasing our client’s product mentioned to us last month that we would need to refresh our quote so that the prospect can have at least an additional 30 days to process an order.

We firmly believe that the best route to take to plan for a prompt order is to help a customer to:

  1. Build a compelling case for the need to change, and
  2. Produce an accurate, specific value presentation that clearly demonstrates cost savings that will directly result from a prompt implementation of the changes required
  3. There is absolutely no better way to set the stage for a prompt order.

    Nevertheless, other parties within a complex business can divert an order, or nix an order altogether. We do not presume to render an opinion about the experience recounted in Oracle’s quarterly report. On the other hand, we do note that the recounted experience adds substantial credibility to a complex sales approach for enterprise software. After all, the last minute activity on the part of the CEO came “from left field”. The CEO’s action was neither included in the sales plan, nor handled easily. The only way to orchestrate a successful engagement in such an environment is to plan for a complex set of decision makers.

    If your business is susceptible to long sales cycles please do not hesitate to contact us. We are most interested in opportunities to contribute to more effective sales planning. You may telephone Ira Michael “Mike” Blonder at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion. You may also email Mike at imblonder@imbenterprises.com.

    © IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved

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