How to build a successful sales process: the sales cycle
Improving sales efforts rarely results in success. A tiny percentage of companies employ a lot of random tactics and see if they stick. A business that consistently succeeds in sales offers some level of guidance to its salespeople.
To know what to do next, salespeople often need a step-by-step plan to guide them. A sales cycle is often referred to as that infrastructure.
This article will provide you with an overview of a sales cycle’s various stages, along with tips on how to put one into motion.
What is a sales cycle?
The Sales Cycle refers to the steps salespeople take to close a new customer. There is a common misconception that sales cycles are akin to sales methodologies – frameworks for implementing sales cycles. The sales cycle generally contains stages such as prospecting, connecting, researching, presenting, and closing.
An established sales cycle is in the best interest of your company. Organizing your sales pipeline, prioritizing leads, and ultimately evaluating the results of your sales efforts becomes more manageable with this tool.
When your sales cycle is clearly defined, your reps will have a roadmap and common reference points, ensuring they can work together and communicate effectively. Teams that work well together are more successful.
If they are required to pick up where another left off, your representatives must be flexible and know how to do so. If there is no sales cycle to guide their efforts, there is no “where they left off.”
Using a sales cycle allows reps to prioritize leads and understand how far prospects are along their buyer’s journey. In this way, they can figure out how to approach the leads they are nurturing at the right time.
Additionally, it is possible to evaluate sales efforts via a sales cycle objectively. Is your sales team doing well? How did they succeed? Was there a mistake or a right decision? Have they strayed from the cycle? If they did, what would happen?
It is essential to have a perspective for evaluating how your business and your reps are doing – a sales cycle provides that perspective.
Understanding a sales cycle requires understanding its stages. Each one is listed below.
Stages in a sales cycle
- Handle objections
- Follow up and generate referrals
As part of this stage, any SQLs will be identified in your pipeline who may be interested in hearing more about your product/service and buyer persona.
Identifying prospects is the first step in contacting them. You can reach out via email and phone, or you can ask acquaintances to introduce you. You can also reach out to your prospects using social media like LinkedIn and Twitter.
Ask if they’d like to learn more about what you have to offer.
You should set up a discovery meeting if your prospect wishes to learn more. The more you learn about their business, their needs, and how you can fulfill those needs, the more prepared you will be.
You may discover that you are not the right fit during discovery calls. Other users will provide you with the insight to convince them to adopt your product or service.
This is the moment when the presentation will begin. In most cases, your sales team tailors a pitch template to meet the business needs of each prospect.
The presentations will be held in front of a team of decision-makers, and key stakeholders will ask questions. Are you looking to improve your pitch?
- Handle objections
There’s a good chance your sales cycle will encounter some snags along the way. At this point, expect your prospects to push back. Your product or service will probably raise some questions and concerns.
Your presentation must be followed by a response to objections from your prospects. Your pitch might involve asking about price, budget, competitors, comprehension of the product, and any other issues that may be asked about. It’s important to listen attentively and to ask questions to understand their objections better.
Following the presentation, you will likely need to take some action. Legal and IT might need to be consulted for logistical details. Following these steps, ask the prospect whether he is ready to buy. This is the sales jargon for asking if someone is ready to buy.
Prepare the contract and give it to them for final review and signature if they say “yes.” It might be necessary to discuss other objectives or just walk away at that time if they say, “No.”.
- Follow up and generate referrals
Landing a deal isn’t the end of the sales cycle. Your goal after a sale is to excite any of your customers, keeping them and then leveraging them to refer you to others. By providing exemplary customer service and following up on your customers, you should do everything in your power to satisfy them.
Ensure your customers are well taken care of. Your chances of up-selling and cross-selling them will increase if you keep them close. Referrals and new business are also excellent sources of happy customers so that you can keep your cycle spinning, foster more relationships, and increase revenue.
Sales Cycle Management
The sales cycle management process helps salespeople, managers, and leaders follow the sales process from beginning to end. These metrics are used to identify the most successful or least successful steps in the process.
Sales cycle management gives sales leaders and salespeople a way to evaluate where they must improve or adjust during the sales cycle. Tools like CRMs aid the management of the sales cycle.