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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sales Cycles: What is the Appropriate Length for You?

Sales cycles can be different for different small businesses, but as a small business owner, you need to know the revenue of your clients during a 12-month period. You also will need to know how long it takes you to earn revenue from the beginning of the sales cycle.

Your sales cycle begins as soon as you get a lead and is not over until the person gives you the first amount of money for the deposit. The sales cycle is the culmination of the hard work you invest when you change a relationship into a paying customer from a mere lead.

You should estimate your complete sales cycle as soon as you start your consulting business. You need to determine how long each average lead will take to travel through the sales cycle. Consider the following elements:

1. How long does a qualification stage take?

2. How long does it take to set up an initial appointment?

3. How long does research take pre-sales call?

4. How long does the sales call take?

5. How many weeks does it take to get from the sales call into the deep analysis and the proposal?

6. What is your follow-up time in the sales cycle?

Also think about the funds you will need for each portion of the sales cycle and what you need to do to turn leads into clients that will pay you.

If you know the general time of your sales cycle, you will have tackled a great deal of the business planning process. You will not know for certain the amount of time each part of the sales cycle will take, but you will at least have a good estimate of the total time you will need to spend.

Blogged By: Joshua Feinberg