What is a Sales Cycle?
A sales cycle outlines specific stages within the sales process that are followed. It’s a strategic, step-by-step process that provides consistency and defines best-practices. This ensures repeated success and gives sales teams a tactical model to stick to.
Why is a Sales Cycle Important?
Implementing and following a sales cycle is crucial. It keeps the sales process organized and provides a visual representation of where each prospect is, and what steps still need to occur before a sale is closed.
Ultimately, a sales cycle provides invaluable data that improve the overall sales process. If prospects keep getting stuck at a certain stage within the cycle, find out why. What roadblocks are occurring and how can they be alleviated? Efficiency is important, and the speed at which deals are closed matters when you’re trying to generate as much revenue as possible.
Sales cycles will differ depending on a company’s unique business model and revenue goals, but their purpose is always the same: to provide a detailed structure to make the selling process easier, and provide insight for where improvements can be made.
Stages of a Sales Cycle
There are seven steps to the sales cycle. Some companies may make changes to the standard structure, but ultimately, the same actions are always taken.
The first stage in the sales cycle is prospecting. You can’t make any sales unless you have prospects to reach out to. This requires research, and knowing who your ideal customers are. Sales reps typically take the lead on prospecting, but prospects can also be generated through marketing efforts. It’s important to ensure sales and marketing teams are aligned in their messaging.
Once you’ve filled your prospect pool, it’s time to reach out. Get creative when you introduce yourself and your product, and utilize video emails. Remember, people’s inboxes are always overflowing, so you want to grab their attention and spark interest in your product. Personalize your message, and show that you’re knowledgeable about your audience’s needs and have creative solutions to help grow their business.
Not everyone you reach out to will be a good fit for your product, and that’s okay. The key is to find out who matches your ideal customer profile so you can put time and effort into nurturing those relationships and pursuing sales. Ask qualifying questions to determine if they’re a good fit.
Sales Pitches and Demos
If a prospect is a good fit for your product and has shown interest in it, it’s time to put together a pitch. Cater your presentation to their specific needs so they can see exactly how your product will help improve their business. If you’re working remotely, use video tools to share your screen for product demos. This helps answer questions, and visually shows how a product works.
Overcome Sales Objections
Prospects may still have questions or concerns about your product. Be respectful, and work through sales objections strategically. Remember, they have a limited budget and want to ensure a purchase is worthwhile before committing to it.
Close the Deal
Once sales objections are dealt with, it’s time to negotiate. The potential customer will include their decision maker in the process, and an account executive from the sales team is typically included as well. Remember to focus on product quality, and emphasize what benefits they’ll receive once the purchase is complete. Negotiation may take time, but patience and professionalism pay off.
Follow Up and Get Referrals
After a deal is closed it’s important to follow up. Is the customer satisfied? Do they have any questions or outstanding concerns? If they require any additional support, make sure they receive it. Ensuring customer satisfaction is important. You don’t want them to cancel a subscription or leave a negative review. If they’re happy with the product, ask if they’d be willing to give a referral.
Sales cycles are vital, and every sales rep should be aware of what each stage includes and how to move prospects through the process