We just love how fast The Flash moves. Won’t it be great to have The Flash supercharge your revenue as well? Probably in another universe! However, having a formal sales cycle can help you increase your revenue generation rate by 18 percent.
Do bear in mind that every organization follows some basic sales cycle stages to close deals regardless of their industry. And, we have further simplified the process just for you. For, this blog is all about sharing a clear and consistent approach for nurturing leads.
So, let’s start with the basics before getting into the stages of the sales cycle!
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Sales cycle definition – A sales cycle is a series of steps that you must follow to obtain new customers. It is divided into several phases that correlate to the sales funnel phases and describe a task that the salespeople must complete before bringing the sale to completion. Each of the sales cycle stages serves a specific purpose.
It’s a potential client’s journey from identifying the need for a service or a product to making a purchase. The sales process acts as a blueprint for the sales reps. It’s a step-by-step process that a salesperson follows to convert a prospect into a long-term customer. Both B2B and B2C organizations use the terms sales cycle and sales process interchangeably.
A sales cycle encompasses much more than a sales script. It includes everything a salesperson does before contacting a prospect, during the nurturing period, and after closing the sale. It also specifies triggers for when your prospect has progressed from one level to another. The most excellent method to make your sales more consistent, unify your entire team’s efforts, and scale-up is to have that structure in place.
Businesses can gain insight into the productivity of their sales activities by using a structured sales cycle. By identifying and analyzing the stages at a detailed level, you can understand what worked and what didn’t. Defining a comprehensive cycle in your organization is critical for the following reasons :
The sales cycle is how you identify, qualify, contact, negotiate, close the deal, follow up, and build a client relationship. However, the sales funnel is the same process but for viewing in-process deals. It contains a list of all active sales projects resulting from contacts with prospects and clients.
The sales process usually refers to the repeatable actions your sales team performs to get prospects to move from an early stage to the final stage of closing the deal.
Your company utilizes a series of procedures to generate leads and close sales. Your sales pipeline and funnel should be aligned with your company’s specific sales process, offering a blueprint for your sales staff to follow. Review your sales funnel, turn pipeline stage activities into stages, visualize your sales process, and establish a system to track each step to create an effective sales process.
It would help if you considered the following when building a sales cycle:
Selling a B2B product requires many decision-makers, high-value deals, and a lengthier sales cycle than selling a consumer product. Because of the general lower deal value and the smaller number of decision-makers involved, the cycle for consumer items is typically shorter. While most sales cycles have a set of logical phases in common, you must tailor them based on the product and prospect type in either scenario.
Here are the sales cycle steps or stages:
Prospecting is the first stage of the 7 stages of the sales cycle. You may be looking at your target customer profiles at this point, selecting possible clients to contact, and deciding how to approach them. Create an Ideal Customer Profile first (ICP). Your ICP will be, at its most basic level, a fictional organization that:
You can start constructing a database and list all the potential prospects that suit that profile after building an ICP. You’ll need to create a list of prospective leads and qualified leads for your sales reps once you’ve identified the right companies.
You must qualify your prospects even if you’re working with the best ICP. Try looking for the following:
Then, based on your specific needs, check at additional factors like company size, growth, geography, etc. While you may have to meet your lead in-person to qualify them fully, your preliminary inquiry should indicate their qualities.
Now that you found them, it’s time to contact and build a relationship with your prospective client.
By qualifying your lead, you can learn more about your target prospect. When making decisions, try to understand their sales goals, challenges, budget, and other important factors. It’s also critical to confirm that you’re engaging with the proper decision-maker.
It is also a chance to qualify them as prospects and verify that they meet the primary criteria. Don’t be discouraged if you discover they aren’t a good match. It’s pretty unusual for less than 50% of your initial options to be a good fit. The most straightforward approach to determining if a prospect is a right fit is to speak with them directly.
Prepare to answer essential questions regarding your unique offers and what pain points you can solve for them. Nurture your leads based on what you learned. Lead nurturing includes educating leads about your product, service, and industry, personalizing your message, and resolving common issues. Here you attempt to build a reputation as a helpful, responsive, and dependable resource in your field of expertise.
You’ll almost certainly run across interested and generally qualified prospects but aren’t ready to sign up right now for whatever reason. In such a situation, it’s critical to keep in touch periodically and provide assistance to stay top of mind. You’ll be the first person on their mind when they’re ready to buy.
So far, the cycle is prospect-centric. You’ve reached out to them, learned about their needs, and addressed their concerns. It’s time to start putting all you’ve learned to good use and present the best offer possible.
Maintain your offer’s relevancy, targeting, and customization concerning the needs you discussed before. Make your proposal relevant to their problems, budget, and long-term objectives. Finally, think about how you can present and market your offer.
Typically, prospects will object to your offer. Price vs. value, risk, contract terms, and other issues are some of the most typical sales objections. It’s best to address these issues as quickly as possible, ideally during the nurturing stage. However, dealing with them in advance is not always viable. When reacting, be patient and empathize with their difficulties. Rushing or pressurizing won’t help in any way.
After you’ve clarified everything, request them to affirm that you have resolved their concerns and make sure that your lead understands your offer.
One piece of advice to get to the root of any issue is that you’ll always have to ask more questions. After you pose a question, try to pay attention to their response rather than thinking about what you’ll say next. You can proceed to the final stage when you address all the objections.
Once you’ve done a fantastic job, complete the sales cycle by closing the deal.
If the prospect’s profile matches your ICP, you’ve reached out in a way they prefer, and you’ve provided value, they should be willing to buy. You should never feel compelled to use deception to persuade them to buy, but even the most ideal prospect may need a nudge before deciding. You can’t count on them to close on their own. The objective is to make it very simple and approachable for them to understand and say yes.
Closing the sale also lays the groundwork for the next steps. You can now request a start date or give them an additional bonus if they sign today. Avoid giving discounts, even if it seems contradictory. Closing is also a good time to remind them of a specific result you think you can deliver for their company. Feel free to use your imagination in any way you like. You can also try the following:
Stick around after you’ve closed the deal and received their commitment to answer any remaining probing sales questions and give them clear subsequent actions. If you’re having a face-to-face meeting, offer to send them and their assistant or superior a summary email that summarizes your discussion and agreement.
Follow up – Finally, despite your best efforts, things beyond your control may result in the response being ‘No’. In this case, adding them to a nurture campaign and following up with any prospects who aren’t ready to say yes regularly is the best thing you can do. You could also use this opportunity to connect with others in the organization.
It would help track a few key performance indicators (KPIs) to enhance your sales process further. This will assist you in determining whether or not your cycle is effective. For optimal sales performance, keep track of the following 2 critical KPIs:
B2B sales generally requires more than one person to make decisions. It has to do with the sale of goods and services from one company to another. B2C sales is the process of a company cross selling a product to a single customer. The B2C sales cycle is shorter because the customer is encouraged to buy the product right away. Furthermore, it rarely involves more than one person in the decision-making process.
Here’s how you can improve your sales cycle,
Begin to weave your personal story into your sales pitch. Make your story about your prospect and the hardships they’re going through that you can help them with. It should be relevant to the discussion you’re having. Try to listen more than you speak. Make use of a pre-contact plan that will pique your prospect’s interest before you contact them. Create a marketing pitch that reflects your individuality and distinguishes you from the competition while supporting your sales objectives. Send it to the prospects before you call them.
It can help you cut down on non-sales activity. This frees up time for your salespeople to focus on sales and repeat business. There are numerous sales automation tools that simplify your tasks. And SalesBlink is one of them that takes you from prospecting to outreach to closing lightning fast.
Here’s how to optimize your sales cycle:
The average salesman spends just 36% of their time selling, and the remaining time goes to administrative tasks. Your staff can easily outsource their support activities and focus on sales to optimize your sales cycle.
Without following up, you can’t change the prospect’s ‘No’ into a ‘Yes’. You have to be quite persistent with your approach without getting too annoying.
A foot-in-the-door approach can help you build a stronger relationship with your prospects. You use this strategy to encourage them to agree to close the deal by asking them for a tiny favor after another.
Case studies and customer testimonials are great for both social proof and countering arguments with your leads. Make sure you make the most of them.
You can’t expect great results without properly training reps and providing them with the right knowledge. They have to know about every phase of the cycle in detail.
As the importance of service and customer care grows, more organizations are beginning to add a service cycle to their sales cycle. You have to synchronize or coordinate the it in this scenario.
Sales cycle management involves keeping track of what happens at each stage of the sales life cycle and adapting to the buyer’s behavior throughout those critical times. The elements of sales cycle management include : Sales Operation, Sales Strategy and Sales Analysis.
As you know, a sales process refers to the repeated steps a rep follows from the start of the sales cycle to the end of it. To manage your sales cycle well, you have to focus on creating an effective sales process. It would help if you follow the best practices outlined here while creating one for your business,
Find out the strengths and weaknesses of your sales process. In the absence of a process, you can always look at how your sales reps work towards converting prospects. Speak to each of them to understand what brings them results and what doesn’t.
When you set long-term and short-term goals, it gives the entire team a purpose and makes them work hard to achieve it. They also help you measure the performance of the new sales process.
Study how a prospect moves from one phase to another before becoming a satisfied customer. Find out how they came to know about you in the first place.
Understand the customer’s pain points and see how your product or service can resolve them. Try to think from the prospect’s perspective and find your answers.
All sales processes are not the same, just like how two companies aren’t. You may see similarities, but in the end, they have to align with the culture of your company. Ensure that your sales process gels well with the company motto.
After you finish creating your sales process, ensure that your team adopts it. Get their feedback and try to make them feel valued.
Ensure that the process is easy to repeat so that everyone in the team can use it and fetch results.
To check the effectiveness of your sales process, you have to analyze the result periodically. Also, don’t forget to get your reps’ opinions.
We hope this post has helped you understand what sales cycle stages are and why it is important to have them in place. It would be a good idea to start today if you don’t have a systematic approach. You never know, it may make your businesses outperform your competition!
A sales process refers to the repeated steps a sales rep follows from the beginning of the sales cycle to its end. You have to focus on creating an effective sales process for managing your sales cycle properly.
A sales funnel refers to the journey leads go through on their way while purchasing a product or service. The three main stages of the sales funnel include top, middle and bottom.
Managing the sales cycle requires effort from your end. The main elements of sales cycle management include: Sales Operation, Sales Strategy and Sales Analysis.
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