The four levers you can pull to increase sales velocity and how to make an impact
Why is it so important to track sales velocity? A higher sales velocity means you’re bringing in more revenue in less time.
Sales velocity is calculated using the number of opportunities, conversion rate, average order value and time to sale. Each offers a lever you can pull to drive business growth.
In this article, I’ll teach you how to increase your sales velocity, including practical steps you can take to influence the process. I’ve also included 22 diagnostic questions that can help you identify what to focus on personally.
Sales velocity meaning
Sales velocity is the speed your company makes money. It’s based on the number of opportunities, conversion rate, average order value and time to sale.
That means there are four components to the sales velocity formula:
Number of opportunities X Conversion rates X Average order value
Time to sale
|= Sales velocity|
In simple terms, you want to increase the conversion rate, opportunities and order value while reducing the time to sale.
The four levers that can increase your sales velocity
So, how do you impact that equation? We’ve looked at each area to share the techniques and sales training that will help your business improve.
1. Increase the number of opportunities
A powerful social media and social selling strategy is the cornerstone of bringing in leads.
Compelling thought leadership is a great way to attract the right people and build trust, whether it’s done through articles, events or another format.The key is to share information that’s valuable, which teaches new ideas and perspectives that lead to your solution.
This type of social selling is a marathon, not a sprint. Think about compelling content that provides value and how you can involve yourself in your prospects’ conversations.
Clearly, increasing sales velocity isn’t just about the volume of leads. It’s integral you’re creating the right kind of opportunities: deals that are mutually valuable for you and the client.
That means getting rid of the scattergun approach and knowing what the people you want to go after actually look like. That starts with past client analysis.
What types of trends and themes pull your best types of clients together? What conditions trigger a need for what you are selling?
Knowing that information allows your sales teams to have conviction that prospects are right for your solution and equips them to talk their language and qualify leads quickly.
Finally, salespeople need to be able to sell the value of a conversation.
Reaching out to prospects and selling your product limits the chances of a conversation as they will make a decision then and there whether it’s the right time to buy.
Instead, sell the value of a conversation with you using compelling insights about their peers or end-users; they need to believe the conversation will be worth paying for in itself.
Work out what volume of leads you need
Know the effort you need to put in. Sales people are often fixated on revenue targets but the way to reach these is to focus on effort.
Work out the target, average order and conversion rate, and map that back to the number of leads you need to achieve this target.
2. Improving conversion rates
Conversion or win rate is the percentage of leads that turn into business in a given period.
If people are dropping out of your pipeline unexpectedly, it’s normally because they can’t convince a key stakeholder, weren’t a good fit in the first place or were doing a price or competency comparison on an existing supplier.
Making decisions in B2B is personally risky for your client and trust is key to how they choose. Pitching your company in the right way and aligning your brand with client needs has become far more important than ever before.
Selling internally is not easy and, in most cases, the likelihood of a deal going through – and going through quickly – can dramatically increase if you work as a team with your client.
Here are four ways you can increase conversion rates.
Focus on client outcomes
To act on your conversation, clients need to see why they should shift from their status quo. Just diagnosing needs isn’t enough. Your role is to help clients understand and redefine their real needs.
Make sure you focus on client outcomes and then explore their current approaches, so they see a compelling reason to change. That comes from effective questioning.
Make your pitch “co-creational”
It is 10 times more likely a client will buy from you if they’re involved in creating their solution.
- Learn a framework for co-creating recommendations
- Learn how to run effective creative discussions
Write incredibly compelling proposals
Compelling proposals outline why a client should change, choose you and why the project is going to work. It’s crucial to create them with the different stakeholders in mind.
Hypothesise challenges and stakeholder objections
Salespeople need to be able to help the client navigate the decision-making process by foreseeing the challenges that the client will face building consensus with stakeholders.
3. Increasing average deal size
Deal size is the average selling price for deals you close in a month.
It’s a tough lever to impact. But, similar to conversion rates, pitching and proposals are vital to pulling this lever effectively.
Talk about long-term outcomes and position yourself as a partner that will help them achieve those outcomes. That allows you to develop a growth plan.
Effective negotiation is critical to increasing deal size:
- Learn why your clients negotiate, how to avoid it and how to adapt your approach dependent on theirs
- Find out how team members compare to the strongest negotiators
- Learn a powerful and simple framework for planning and running your negotiations
Identify high-value clients
Optimise low and high value deals by identifying the type of customer and what they need.
This allows you to invest more time in opportunities that have a greater potential deal value and close smaller deals quickly.
Don’t force solutions on to people that don’t need them; you’re wasting everyone’s time.
Learn how to identify accounts that have the potential to be high value, then work on real account plans and strategies to grow them over time.
4. Length of sales cycle
Length of sales cycle or time to sale is the average time it takes to close deals.
To reduce that, you need to be really good at foreseeing and overcoming objections and proposals need to be really strong.
Make sure you understand the stakeholder group that’s involved in the decision-making process and equip the people you’re talking to with the resources they need.
Finally, you need to be strong at negotiation, so you can come away with a win-win solution that both you and the client are going to be happy with moving forward.
The strongest sales people instil confidence in the client by being proactive and assertive to move the sale through to the close.
If it’s taking too long to close deals, break down your sales process into steps to identify issues and opportunities for improvements. That could include automation, creating sales assets, decreasing follow-up time or any number of other improvements.
Ask yourself these questions to increase sales velocity
Want to know what lever to focus on first? Use these questions to test your strengths and weaknesses.
If you answer “no” to a number of questions in a section, spend time working on it so you can increase your overall sales velocity.
25 questions to ask yourself if you want to increase your sales velocity.
Increase the number of opportunities
- Are you working on improving the channels, from referrals to lead assets and events, that generate leads?
- Are you regularly sharing thought leadership and opinions, and engaging in conversations that your clients have already started?
- Does your sales team have access to past client analysis and customer personas? Is this covered in your onboarding process?
- Do your introductions to prospects clearly outline the value of the conversation?
- Are you using multiple methods of contact to reach out to clients?
Improving conversion rates
- Are you questioning clients about their desired outcomes?
- Does your sales process include mapping stakeholders?
- Do you have a template for planning client interactions?
- Do your personas allow you to easily identify how to tailor and add value to each client conversation?
- Do you know the personality types of different clients?
- Do you have a toolkit to deal with client objections?
- Are you working with the stakeholder that has the most influence?
- Are you helping clients identify potential challenges they will face with other stakeholders?
- Are proposals professionally designed?
Average order size
- Do sales reps know their clients’ long-term goals?
- Do you plan for specific objections relevant to the deal stage and type of client before meetings?
- Do you co-create recommendations with clients?
- Do you share compelling insights?
- Do you have long-term goals and plans for existing clients?
- Do you plan for negotiations to allow you to take control of the conversation?
Shorten the time it takes to close deals
- Are you sharing best practice in handling objections?
- Do you maintain self control, use silence and structure negotiations purposefully?
- Do you help your client see the decision making process ahead and work with them to avoid barriers?
- Are you working with the person who can build consensus and drive change in their business?
Next steps to increasing your sales velocity
Training is key to developing habits that will increase sales velocity.
Use Flume’s Sales Enablement platform to access:
- Platform-based learning and live action coaching
- The ability to drive consistently brilliant sales performance all year round
- Cutting-edge sales training at your fingertips
At Flume, we’re all about embedding behaviours that move the needle. That’s why we’ve developed a course that looks specifically at sales velocity. It’s perfect for companies that are committed to coaching and turning knowledge into habits, and want to drive performance at scale.
Book a call to find out more about how you can increase your sales velocity.