and why is it important?……
The sales cycle is a huge part of successfully growing any business. It describes the process and steps, starting from a potential prospect’s first contact with your company to closing the deal and your relationship thereafter.
This process is the sales cycle and it’s the way that businesses not only attain but also retain customers and generate further sales and referrals.
An understanding of the sales cycle is fundamental to your business marketing success. Why? Well, anyone selling goods and services, whether online or in-person need to understand the process by which a lead becomes a sale and all the stages in between.
Read on to find out why!
Why is a sales cycle important?
A well-defined sales cycle helps you with the following:
Allows you to better organize your pipeline, prioritise leads and evaluate your sales and marketing efforts.
- Ensures you have a clear roadmap and a place to refer back to, to ensure you understand where a prospect is at any point in their buying journey, this will allow you to approach the lead in the best way possible.
- Allows you to evaluate your sales & marketing efforts, for example; Did a particular campaign work? What worked well? Where did things go wrong or right? What areas could be improved?
- Enable you to identify at what stages the prospect tends to lose interest or leave the ‘sales cycle’ you can optimise those particular stages accordingly. If prospects deviate after you make a sales pitch, for example, it indicates that they don’t see any unique value in your product and you need to modify your pitch to better suit their needs.
To really understand a sales cycle, you must understand the foundational stages it’s comprised of.
Here’s a simple breakdown of each stage.
At this stage, you will identify qualified leads and begin to fill your pipeline with these prospects. Some businesses find LinkedIn especially useful for this!
Tip! Ensure you have worked on your buyer persona so you can identify these prospects effectively.
Connect with the lead
Once you’ve identified potential prospects, you may choose to contact them.
Introduce yourself, share the value of what you have to offer and ask if they’d be interested in learning more about how you can help them.
Ask for a mutual acquaintance to introduce you, engage with your prospects on social media, or reach out directly by email or phone.
Tip! Ensure you understand their pain points so you can offer your solution.
When your prospect is interested in learning more, it’s time to set up a discovery call or meeting. You’ll learn more about their business, their needs, and your ability to meet those needs.
Some discovery calls will end with you realising you’re not a good fit. Others will give you the insight to make a strong proposal with your product/service as the solution.
This is usually built around a pitch template your sales and marketing team uses. You can then customise this for each prospect’s unique business needs.
Generally, you’ll present to the directors and stakeholders at your prospect’s company.
At this stage you may have some pushback from your prospects. Understand they may have some further questions about how your offer can meet their needs. This could be a question on price, budgets, competitors, and so on!
Once you’ve completed the above steps, it’s time to sign them up as a new customer by way of a contract or invoice.
Follow up and generate referrals
The sales cycle doesn’t end with landing the client! You must then work to delight your customers, retain them, and leverage them to generate new business. It is important to do everything in your power to serve your customers as best you can.
Help and advocate for your customers
Retain your customers and you may find opportunities to cross and up-sell to them. Happy customers are also excellent sources for referrals and new business — allowing you to ultimately drive revenue and business growth.
I regularly work with clients to implement a bespoke sales cycle for their business, aswell as helping them to action each stage!
If you would like to learn more about my process, you can download your free copy of the Evolve Together Sales Cycle. Use this to start thinking about how it could look for your business and which areas are strong and which may require further improvement.
Get in touch today firstname.lastname@example.org