How To Build A Sales Process For The 7 Sales Cycle Stages

June 17, 2021
    sales cycle stages
    Image by Dylan Gillis from Unsplash

    You may have been a salesman for a while but have not quite accumulated the sales process for the7 stages of the sales cycle. These stages are very necessary when it comes to evaluating sales efforts, training new sales reps, and increasing sales effectiveness.

    What Is A Sales Cycle

    A sales cycle is the process that outlines the entire selling process involving a series of steps. All the activities involved starting from lead generation to converting prospects into full-paying clients fall in the sales cycle stages. There is no fixed definition for it, but it involves all the stages associated with closing sales.

    Why Is The Sales Cycle Important And How Does It Work?

    An effective sales cycle that is regularly analyzed and perfectly implemented can bring about a clean sales system with sustainable results.

    Predict Future Sales

    You can effectively predict your future sales with elaborate information from your sales process. For instance, you can figure out which sales are likely to succeed by the way they are panning out or you can use the information for setting a sales target by identifying the number of sales made by your reps in a month.

    Increase Sales Efficiency

    Keeping track of the sales cycle stages helps in getting business insights that increase sales efficiency. Analyzing and comparing your sales cycle to the standard length shows if you are behind or ahead of your competitors so that you could take steps accordingly. A shorter sales cycle is better as it reduces the chance of your sale failing.

    Figure Out Areas Of Improvement

    As the sales cycle stages are detailed when you break them up into small steps, you'll effectively be able to gather data. You can automate this data collection with the proper CRM (customer relationship management) tool. Suppose, you're using cold emails for prospecting and driving sales. If the CRM tool is integrated with it, you'll be able to identify the exact point where your sales fall through in your sales cycle. It shows you which steps in your sales cycle help to take the sale forward and which ones fail to. So, if you're on the lookout for such an email sending software that will automate your email sending process along with integrating CRM tool, email warmup, reply tracking, and many more features, OutreachBin is the perfect one for you. Build sales relationships without having to worry about managing multiple email accounts and campaigns with OutreachBin.

    Train New Reps Easily

    A detailed sales cycle will be like a blueprint or template of how new sales reps will go about their sales. This helps sales reps understand the process fully and allow lesser signs of error.

    Optimize Your Team Structure

    Knowing which stages of your sales cycle need more improvement, you can assign more teammates or time in those sectors. You could also eliminate projects that have a low ROI.

    The Seven Stages Of The Sales Cycle

    1. Prospecting
    2. Contact
    3. Qualify
    4. Nurture
    5. Make Your Offer
    6. Overcome Objections
    7. Close The Sale
    sales cycle stages

    Now let's look at how you can build a perfect sales process for your business.

    1.Prospecting

    Create An ICP

    You may think that you know who your potential customers are, but creating an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) can give you immense focus and you can gain new insights on your sales campaign from it. At first, create a basic ICP, which will be a fictional company based on real data that-

    • Represents companies who provide great value in terms of influence, revenue, etc.
    • Are provided great value from your business in terms of improved service, ROI, etc.

    Find Out Your Potential Leads

    As you have your ICP set up, look into your potential leads. This prospecting for leads can also take the form of lead generation. Suppose, you have a function on your website where when anybody signs in on your website, you get notified with their information. As such, you can reach out to them as potential leads. Identifying potential leads depends on your unique requirements. But, you can search for them from social media sites like- LinkedIn and online databases like- CrunchBase.

    After finding the ideal companies according to your preferences, compile a list of them for your sales team to contact and qualify.

    Classify your leads

    The first thing you have to do to get your sales process for the sales cycle stages on track is to identify who your potential customers are. Classify your leads according to these 4 metrics:

    • Budget
    • Need
    • Timing of need
    • Authority

    After the initial qualification, you can look into additional qualifiers, all based on your company’s requirements, like- company growth, size, geography, and so on. Though you need to speak to your prospect yourself to qualify them, these are some good factors that'll help you to classify them during the initial research phase.

    2.Make Contact

    • The next step in your sales cycle stages is to initiate contact with your prospects to show that your interests are on the same line as theirs. The channel of communication through which you would reach out to your customers depends on the type of prospect or the business. Sometimes it may be only a phone call, sometimes an email, and other times a traditional sales letter.
    • But we recommend not reaching out to them through phone calls. It is found that 80% of cold calls go straight to voice mail. Only 2% of the answered calls result in a meeting.
    • The best way to make contact with your leads is through cold emails. Studies show that 78% of decision-makers stated that they've made a purchase or arranged a meeting through cold emails.
    Image by Magnet from Unsplash
    • Depending on your targeted demographic, social media can help you outreach to a great extent. Consider pairing it up with your email marketing.
    • It should be added that, at this stage, you are not giving your full sales pitch to your potential clients, just establishing contact. This stage is established in hopes of a more formal meeting afterward.
    • Sales pitches are the best when they are personalized particularly for the prospect after analyzing their information gathered during prospecting and qualifying.

    3.Qualify Your Leads

    The third sales cycle stage is to qualify your clients which means to vet the lead as much as possible. Most of the qualifying is done during the first sales meeting.

    Figure Out If Your Client Is The Decision Maker

    This is a crucial step in qualifying your leads. If you are talking to the decision-maker, you'll be able to offer high value by identifying your opportunities as per your ICP. If they don't have the authority to make decisions in this regard, ask them to include a superior in the meeting politely.

    Research

    Conduct researches to ensure if you can provide what your clients want, their budget, goals, challenges, and other such factors. This is the step to make sure that they meet the criteria mentioned above to further qualify them as leads. Also, you have to talk directly to your prospect to realize if they’re the right fit or not.

    4.Nurture Your Clients

    This sales cycle stage allows you to prove your relevance to your prospect.

    • An important step to nurturing your clients is building trust. That is possible by providing constant value.
    • Now, your prospects might be the perfect fit for you but for whatever reason they’re still not purchasing your product. What you can do for this is, contact them regularly and offer help to them constantly. This way, you’ll be on top of their head once they’re ready.
    • Build rapport with them by answering their questions concerning your product.
    • Your performance in this stage is key while ensuring sales. 79% of marketing prospects never convert into customers due to poor performance in lead nurturing.

    5.Make An Offer

    • By now, you know your business and product inside out, but can you explain it accordingly that makes sense to your clients? Focus on what your customers want and need to hear.
    • Prepare an aligned, authentic, and targeted offer that caters to your prospects especially.
    • You’ll need to present your product or service in a way that solves their major pain points. This stage requires the most preparation. Make sure your offer stands out from every other company out there with a clear call to action.
    • While presenting your product, you have to establish a reputation amongst your clients for being responsive, helpful, and resourceful.
    • Answer your prospects’ burning questions to further push them down the sales pipeline.
    • Explain to your customers, what your products can do that no other product in the market can and how they’ll be great to improve your clients’ day-to-day operations.
    • Remember that the presentation is everything when making ng an offer. So, your posture, confidence, body language, the tone you’re talking in, etc. Affect hugely in this regard.
    • Create a sales funnel that is relevant to you and your prospects. Step through each step of the sales funnel putting yourself in your client's shoes.
    • Allow yourself time in the market for people to get to know and trust you. Let your prospects get to know you as it builds credibility.
    • Think about how creatively you can present your offer. Connect your offer to their budget, challenges, and goals.

    6.Overcome Objections

    At this point in the sales cycle stages, the ball is in the leads’ court. They know all the information about the product and your business, so it’s their call now. Usually, at this stage, you’ll face some objections from their side and you’ll have to be prepared for answering them.

    Learn About the Most Common Reactions

    Even the most enthusiastic leads will have some kind of hesitation or objections. What you need to do is, figure out the most common objections and ways on how to handle them. This way you’ll already be way ahead of the game. Of course, all the objections won’t be common to you, but you’ll be able to improvise them on your own.

    Don’t Drop Out

    We know objections can be hard to handle. But, handling these objections while alleviating the clients’ concerns is what makes someone a great salesman. Studies show that 44% of salespeople drop out after their first rejection, 22%, 14%, 12% drop out after their second, third, and, fourth rejection respectively. Though the chances of complete rejection from prospects are slim at this stage, you should still be prepared.

    Handle The Objections Early, If Possible

    The earlier you handle your objections the better. Try to overcome the objections at the nurturing stage. Though, sometimes it’s not possible to handle them ahead of time.

    Read Between The Lines

    Sometimes, your prospects won’t conspicuously tell you the reason for them being uninterested. You have to understand them yourself. Maybe they have had similar products or services before that didn’t work out for them or they’ve had some bad experience which they are afraid of happening again. To overcome these, ask them lots of questions about why they’re not interested, if they’re uninterested because of this or that. This will make them open up about their concerns and you can overcome them outrightly.

    Don’t Give Them A Chance To Say No

    If they come up with an objection, follow these steps accordingly,

    • Listen to the objection carefully.
    • Understand the concern completely.
    • Respond accordingly.
    • Confirm that your clients are satisfied with the solution.

    Provide them multiple solutions to their objections. Suppose their objection is about the price of your product or service. Now, you can explain to them the value of your product and how it’s worth the price tag it comes with. You could also rephrase the pricing information in a per-day breakdown. Like, if your service charges $200 a month, tell them it’s $6 a day! That’s less than a Starbucks drink.

    7.Close The Sale

    Image by Cyntonn Photography From Unsplash

    That’s the last sales cycle stage. Now, this can go in a lot of ways.

    • If your prospects are still unsure about your product or service, repeat their major pain points and how your service alleviates them. Also, mention why they agreed to have a meeting with you in the first place. Make it easier for them to say yes.
    1. Provide them with a free trial.
    2. Initiate urgency. Like, the price will go up at this date.
    3. Offer them incentives.
    • If your prospects are sure and seem interested, cut to the chase and ask them directly about closing the deal.
    • The fact that you couldn’t close the sale in the first meeting, does not mean it’s over. Give it time, be patient and follow up with them. The sale continues until it is made or called off.

    After you’ve closed the deal, keep in contact with them and answer any remaining questions that they might have. After the in-person meeting, send an email with a summary of the conversation and agreement to their assistant.

    Now that you know the basic outline of how you can arrange your sales process, tweak it and adjust it according to your experiences and what fits your customers best. So, that’s how you can curate the perfect sales process for the 7 stages of the sales cycle.

    Article written by syeda
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