The Different Stages of B2B Sales Cycle
From the beginning of 2020, the pace of sales is upgraded and in today’s business world. Best practices are adopted by following B2B sales cycle stages. The trends are not created instead, it is discovered to bring in suitable practices ahead for all of our benefits.
At times, these patterns are used by the majority of the users thus, it naturally takes the place of being called “trends”. We all know that sales have always been there since the stone age. With the digital upliftment, sales have taken a new dimension of growth across the globe.
Sales are the key to many businesses, though there is no contradiction to it. There is an evolution in the process giving us an entirely new outlook on the same. Up until 2019, offline sales worked well. This 2020 was a year of pandemic, spelling out odds of the offline world and making us lookout for a new window.
Since the dawn of 2021, the old techniques are no longer followed and trendy sales life cycle stages have taken the main seat. Even though the stages in the sales cycle are mentioned in this blog, digital sales might bring down or up numbers according to the customer.
From prospecting to selling and nurturing, sales life cycle stages have taken a different growth level that suits all industries in the same way. Though the customer interaction never gets old, it’s the same way to interact that brings a whole new platform.
In this digital era, a transparent process is a must to ensure the sales funnel is clear and out from Sales Cycle Stages. This blog can enlighten you on different stages of the sales cycle in 2022, let’s get started.
The Sales Cycle Stages
The first stage in the Sales Cycle Stage begins when the salesperson starts prospecting for leads. During this process, the salesperson can collect data from the following channels to carry forward with the further steps. The channels are
- Prospects who come in through advertisements
- Trial requests or demo requests
- Discovery call
- Outbound prospecting (emails, Whatsapp message, social media response, and phone calls)
- Lead lists, and more
All cold calls or social media communications are the starts of a new association with a surprise, if the prospect is satisfied there is a good chance of getting a golden customer too. Hence this connecting phase is your first impression to get an opportunity, which is crucial. Here comes a billion-dollar question, how to create such a fantastic first impression using sales life cycle stages?
Well, it’s crucial, hence utilize all the information discovered through this stage for your support to strengthen a rapport. The ultimate goal is to convince the lead that your brand can provide the value or a solution to their pain point – not just another boring marketing call. Make sure to establish Marketing Qualified Leads or Sales Qualified Leads to know the real pulse of the lead generated.
There is a huge difference between a prospect and a lead, let us make it clear now. A Prospect (in a b2b sales cycle stages) is a contact a business contact or an individual who has a need and maybe casually seeks a solution. Whereas a lead is a second-level prospect who has reacted to a marketing or sales campaign. It shows a fair level of concern for your brand. Though it is second in stages in the sales cycle, it is the first step with the customer.
Once the leads are generated, the following stage is to qualify them. These Qualified leads should match your target business criteria that need your product, and be able and propelled to buy.
Let’s break down why qualifying every lead is essential for an effective b2b sales cycle stages, Firstly, it saves time. Yes, understanding the level of interest a lead saves your productive time. The heat map for leads such as “hot” and “cold” states will give a better picture of where to direct your energy. Though the state might change from time to time. The Cold lead will demand plentiful nurturing and thus take longspun of time to move ahead, whereas hot leads are usually efficiently converted into deals in a short span.
Qualifying new leads makes it easier to follow up efficiently. It supports you with further user-specific data: by giving you more information on how to approach a lead convincingly. Instead of spending your productive time on poorly qualified leads, concentrate on profitable ones that are more productive and are able to finish with a sustainable transaction.
Prospects turn into qualified leads as they go through the qualification stage. The principal distinction between a lead and a prospect is the level of interest they show in your product or service. If leads demonstrate keenness on buying your product, by engaging consistently with your sales team (Third stage in Sales Cycle Stages) and convey their intentions on the requirement and costing. Thereby gradually processing lower down the funnel and becoming a customer.
The fourth stage of b2b sales cycle stages dictates, a demonstration to the qualified leads gives you the opportunity to display the value proposition for your product. In order to gain confidence, research and preparation is the key to delivering an inspiring demo that could win the sustainable transaction from your leads.
The more personalized demo that could fit the paramount requirements, budgets, and benefits as the value proposition. In reality, how you place your product as the appropriate solution to their problem in the prospect’s business and make them understand what they miss out on if they don’t pull the trigger.
The key point here is to create a compelling sales pitch by determining the prospect’s demands. Here we can depend on micro-segmentation and macro segmentation to build better customer relationships. Defining the primary value proposition instead of price and time to lead the competition ahead.
Value-based selling projects possibilities on how the offered product or service can make their business perform better. Address your prospects on a human level understand their pain points completely and convey that the offered product or service can deliver the expected solution and manage its progress as well.
Confer them how the product will work in a real-world situation. This Digital sales involves an analytical roadmap, where predictive modeling and contact strategy work parallel to achieve in the fifth stage in sales cycle.
In the b2b sales cycle stages, the proposal to the prospect acts as a defining step, though it is mainly planned after considering all the steps ahead of time, here the main difference is from product-based selling.
Moving further in Sales Cycle Stages, once the offer is made the ball is in your lead’s court. Hence there are quite a lot of chances where there may raise several objections and faults on your product or service might be pointed out to you, such as:
- Priority concerns and delayed responses
- Competitors service and costing
- Offered product or service limits
- Negative or neutral feedback and reviews
- Lack of budget constraints
- Missing features and time
- Shortness of interest to start a new product now
These feedbacks are commonly stated to pause the Sales Cycle Stages, hence holding the process strong and handling these objections with a smile is a simple method.
The highest feedback for the pause would mostly be pointing towards the cost. Always remember “Customer is always right”, hence never argue with them at any cost. Instead, politely convince on the return-on-investment (ROI) the offered product can bring them and how much costs will be saved.
If the client is satisfied with your responses on handling your lead’s queries, it’s time to close the sale and make the transaction. Yes, you are ready to make the most important move of the sales cycle. As this is going to be the final step in the sales cycle, wait for the right time for implementation. Planning the strategy must depend on the quality of your lead.
If the close of a prospect is clear and loud, it can turn into a sustainable lead providing more profit in a long run. Though we mentioned seven stages of Sometimes, a lead can be sustainable but the lack of follow-up on progress might take down everything.
The next level of digital sales has been recognized in the market and started gaining support too. Technologies such as AI in Marketing, Augmented Reality, Voice Search Optimization, Programmatic Advertising, Chatbots, Personalization, Automated & Personalised Email Marketing and Video Marketing will soon be a game-changer. These next-gen solutions will bring down the stages in the sales cycle and enable us to achieve sales in no time. Making a better future ahead for sales and marketing together.