Sales Cycle

by | Dec 3, 2022 | Business Growth

The steps and activities that a sales team takes to close a deal are referred to as the sales cycle.

The main stages of the sales cycle are generally similar for most businesses. Of course, each organization will determine the particular stages that it and its clients follow along the road, but the overall framework is quite uniform.

What Does a Sales Cycle Mean?

A sales representative follows a set process known as a sales cycle to close a deal. A sales cycle’s various phases might vary from business to business. For instance, some sales teams use door-to-door canvassing methods to get leads, while others use web searches and focused phone calls. However, the majority of sales cycles start with prospecting and conclude with closing the deal and obtaining recommendations for further prospects. Generally speaking, sales organizations strive for a short sales cycle where salespeople work swiftly and effectively through each phase to conclude deals. Because they demand more investigation and guarantees before the other company will commit to the transaction, B2B (business-to-business) sales cycles are frequently lengthy.

What makes a sales cycle important?

You gain the following benefits from having a clearly defined sales cycle:

Identifying opportunities for improvement

You can determine the phases at which prospects tend to lose interest and adjust those steps accordingly. If after your sales pitch, prospects stop responding, it means they don’t perceive any special value in your offering, and you need to adapt your pitch to meet their demands.

Future revenue projections

You may estimate how many deals each sales representative could close in a month or a quarter based on the duration of your sales cycle. A prospect’s likelihood of converting can also be predicted.

Educating newly hired employees

Every new sales representative has to have a clear sales plan in place. The learners may then determine the stage where they require more training and have a better understanding of the sales procedures.

Sales Cycle

Which 7 steps form a sales cycle?

Your product, service, business, or industry will determine how the next stages of the sales cycle are carried out. However, regardless of the circumstance, the steps usually occur in the same order. Along with best practices and useful resources, here’s how you proceed from one stage to the next effectively.

Prospect

You should work together with your marketing team to create your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) throughout the initial step of the sales cycle.

By improving the proportion of well-qualified leads entering your pipeline, having a deep grasp of your ideal client will help your lead-generating process.

Sales prospecting should indeed cast a wide net and produce as many opportunities as possible; however, in ideal circumstances, you want the top of your funnel to only be wide enough for as many “good fits” as there are available; anyone else will eventually end up being a waste of time and resources.

Contact

When your pipeline is full of prospects, it’s time to initiate contact.

With a lead magnet or another opt-in procedure, many businesses use inbound marketing methods during the prospecting stage. These kinds of marketing strategies make phone numbers or email addresses available.

Do not forget that your initial contact is not meant to be a comprehensive sales pitch. Establishing a connection with potential leads and, frequently, starting the process of further qualifying the prospect are the goals of the initial contact.

Qualify

It’s time to begin qualifying your leads when contact has been established.

You should be doing internet research on LinkedIn and other websites at this time on your most qualified leads. Before you start talking about the details, gather as much information as you can. This will enable you to devote as much time as possible to discussions about the problems that need to be solved, your value proposition, and how to deal with objections.

Your objective at this point in the sales cycle should be to eliminate all leads except for the most qualified ones, which may seem paradoxical. Moving leads that are not qualified through the pipeline is a waste of time and money.

Present

It’s time to offer your goods once you’ve qualified your most potential leads.

Remember that customers today are extremely suspicious of being marketed to; whatever you do, avoid being aggressive. Think about utilizing collaborative, real worth, or even target account selling tactics. Each of these will show your potential client that you are sincerely interested in addressing their particular problems.

Overcome obstacles

The challenging element, which comes after your presentation or demo, is dealing with sales obstacles.

The majority of clients, in actuality, will have at least some queries, worries, or open complaints regarding your offering. That’s okay; plan and anticipate this. When a client asks about pricing, for instance, you may answer their worry before they ask it by having a few written responses ready.

It’s a good idea to have scripts ready for all of your most frequent objections. You still need to seem real; this isn’t mean that you should always deliver a canned, memorized monologue. To communicate to the client that you are paying attention to them and are interested in what they genuinely need, active listening skills and actions are very important.

It might take some time to complete this step of the sales cycle. When you’re not in direct contact with the main decision-maker, objections may not necessarily be answered soon away. Sometimes the word “no” indicates “not now” or even “I have to run some figures,” rather than “door closed.” Do not give up too soon.

Close

The time to execute the closing may or may not be appropriate depending on how many objections you face. You must read the room and exercise your best judgment at this step since the specifics of your strategy will be determined by the results of the phases that came before.

Some clients will be prepared to sign the contract then and there. In these circumstances, you can make a stronger, more provocative move to close, such as “I’ll just start writing the contract now. Give me a short while.”

In some circumstances, you might need to keep negotiating to get a yes. Spend time answering additional questions since many customers require more assurance or more time to think before they are ready to commit. It’s typical for this to happen.

Nurture

Your sales cycle can divide at this point, depending on how each prospective customer advances.

Concentrate on providing timely and insightful follow-ups for leads who are still addressing their objections. Send brief, contact-establishing emails that include some tailored, helpful material for that customer rather than emails that nudge leads about whether or not they’ve made a choice. By doing this, you might let them know that you’re still considering how to resolve their issue.

It’s time to nurture leads via onboarding for those you’ve successfully closed and converted to customers. There is nothing more frustrating than having your needs met during a well-designed sales process only to be forgotten once your credit card has been charged.

Make sure your clients have everything they require to get going by taking the time. Then, during the first year, keep in touch with them every three months or so.

There is a tonne of moving parts in the sales cycle. There will be variations in how each lead responds to each stage of the pipeline and how quickly they progress through it. To ensure that this process goes as easily as possible, make use of the automation features that your CRM offers.

Sales Cycle
Conclusion

Having a complete sales cycle is quite beneficial since it organizes your procedures and gives you a constant sense of the big picture. It guarantees the safety of your strategy while also exposing any flaws. How far you’ve come in reaching your sales objectives may be determined by the sales cycle. Furthermore, you are always aware of the number of leads at each stage of your sales funnel owing to it.