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What are the differences between long and short sales cycle?


No matter what industry you work in, no matter what your company does, sales will always become an important issue in one form or another

Of course, each company also has different products and services to offer, a different target audience, and even different business practices. These factors can have a significant impact on your company’s sales cycle. After all, the purchasing process for groceries is dramatically different than that of a business software!

When you use a software management tool to track current and potential clients as they navigate through the buyer’s journey, you can significantly improve your company’s results. However, to get the best results, it is also essential that you understand some of the differences between long and short sales cycles.

Here are a few basics you should understand about this important aspect of the business world.

Long Sales Cycle

In a long sales cycle, clients can take weeks or even months from when they first reach out for initial information to when a purchase is made and the order is fulfilled. This is especially common in the purchase of expensive software programs for businesses, where customers are investing in a long-term solution for their company. A potential client will naturally want to investigate their various options by comparing features, looking at reviews, and asking questions of your sales staff before they make a final decision. Quite often, the long software sales cycle includes trial periods wherein a potential customer can try the product first-hand before making a purchase.

During the long sales cycle, building rapport with a potential client is essential. Salespeople spend more time getting to know a customer, answering questions, and providing information about their product or service. There is a bit more flexibility, because the client might not be on as tight of a deadline to make a decision, and as such, it becomes easier to tailor one’s sales approach to a client’s unique needs.

Of course, a longer sales cycle also presents its fair share of challenges — namely, tracking customer interactions and where they are in the sales funnel. Without the right software in place to keep track of customers, it can be easy for a potentially lucrative client to slip through the cracks. A salesperson may need to schedule regular follow-up meetings to answer any questions and confirm the sale.

Short Sales Cycle

Short sales cycles still try to build a rapport with the customer, but the nature of the product or service (or even the target customer) generally means that less in-depth sales information is needed in order for someone to make a decision. Products with lower price points or which require minimal alteration of a client’s workflow tend to have a shorter sales cycle, as the investment may not seem as “high stakes” to a client.

Speeding up your company’s sales cycle can be extremely beneficial — after all, time is money, and the quicker your team is able to usher potential customers through the sales funnel, the more time they’ll have to reach out to other customers. Reaching out to more potential clients will naturally lead to more sales opportunities and greater growth for your company.

With a short sales cycle, however, you still can’t escape the challenges of tracking and monitoring your clients. A rising number of customers means there are more data points to keep track of. Because customers are making quick decisions, losing track of a potential client for even a day could result in a missed sales opportunity.


Regardless of whether your company engages in a short or long sales cycle, one thing is certain: to improve your team’s efficiency, total number of sales, and client satisfaction, you can’t be without an effective method for tracking your sales information. The more you do to monitor and improve your sales cycle, the more profitable you will become.

Bob Paulson