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1B2B Sales Pros Report Longer Cycles Stronger Pipelines

Sales Still ChallengingIt’s still tough out there. Although B2B sales professionals see a brighter future for 2010, closing deals remains a major challenge. Sales pros say that a mix of traditional and newer web prospecting techniques is the best approach for accelerating the sales cycle.

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Stronger PipelinesIt may be challenging in the B2B marketplace, but 47% of respondents say their current pipelines are stronger and healthier than last year. 11% reported no change.

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Longer CyclesWhile pipeline health shows modest improvement, sales cycles are getting longer, making it harder for B2B sales professionals to close deals. 59% of those surveyed said current sales cycles were longer than last year. Only 16% reported shorter sales cycles.

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Ring –a-ding-ding! Phone still the sales person’s best friendIt seems the phone is still the sales person’s best friend. Overwhelmingly, B2B sales pros rated outbound prospecting as the best source for finding qualified prospects, followed by Web leads generated through the company website.

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Webinars & Direct Mail Take a HitThe least effective lead sources, reported by respondents, were direct mail, and surprisingly, webinars. Inbound calls, e-mail marketing and events and trade shows were considered helpful, and social media is also aiding sales pros make qualified connections.

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Social Media Makes an ImpactEveryone is talking about how to harness social media to drive revenue, and survey respondents pointed to corporate social networking site LinkedIn as rating high in helping with sales prospecting, followed by blogs, Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn also showed big growth with nearly 50% of respondents saying they used LinkedIn more today than a year ago.