How long is your sell cycle? And how accurate are your projections about business in the pipeline?

Let me guess: “Too long” and “don’t make me laugh”?

A key benefit of truly great sales training programs, coupled with great sales coaching, is that they can speed up the sales cycle and make business forecasts far more meaningful. How?

In most cases, the length of your sell cycle is a function of how many calls it takes for a salesperson to complete a deal and how effective your sales process is at moving the business forward with each call. If your salespeople “wing it” on client calls, flying by the seat of their pants, then the average number of calls is probably pretty high.

As for the accuracy of your projections about when and if the business in the pipeline will materialize, that’s probably pretty low.

A lot of good things happen when a company uses sales training courses that teach the right sales skills and are based on a comprehensive sales system. One especially happy development is that sales cycles get shorter. Another is that sales forecasts get more accurate.

How does that happen? It boils down to two ideas: A solid definition of the Milestones that lead to a deal, and a Selling Process that greases the skids to move deals forward faster.

Defined Milestones + Better Sales Process = Speed and Accuracy

When sales training programs and sales coaching efforts are based on the Action Selling system, the sales cycle is studied and documented. The key events that must occur from initial contact to final sale—the Milestones in the cycle—are identified. Commitment Objectives are then tied to those milestones.

So every salesperson goes into every customer call not only with the most effective sales skills but also with a clear idea of what the next Milestone is, and a clear goal for the call, in the form of a Commitment Objective: Gain the customer’s agreement to take the steps necessary to reach the next milestone.

The 9 Acts of Action Selling provide the roadmap for moving the customer along the path to each successive milestone. What’s more, when the Milestones and sales process are consistent among all salespeople, management discovers that pipelines and forecasts become far more reliable.

In a nutshell: It’s quicker and easier to get someplace if you know the route and what to look for along the journey.

For information about how to improve sales skills and make sales training pay huge dividends, contact Action Selling at (800) 232-3485.

Duane Sparks - From Sell Cycle to Success Cycle


Duane Sparks is founder and chairman of The Sales Board, the authoritative source of practical and leading-edge information about the art and science of selling. He has created Action Selling sales training products and learning systems that transform sales organizations. Duane is author of these best-selling books: Action Selling, Selling Your Price, Questions (the Answer to Sales), Masters of Loyalty (How to turn your sales force into a loyalty force), and Sales Strategy from the Inside Out (How complex selling really works).

Discover how the best sales training process can make spectacular improvements in sales skills. Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional (Even If You Think You are One).