B2B Sales Process and Different Stages

B2B Sales Process
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The best sales reps in business-to-business are data-driven. They use data to form insights and improve their sales performance, and having a robust sales process is critical in all of these.

Top sales reps try to convince us that sales are not an art but a science, and we at Sloovi agree with this.

Now, this doesn’t mean that sales reps have to be robots; after all, unlike with business-to-consumer sales methodology, there’s a lot of freedom that comes with being B2B sales reps or working in with a B2B sales team.

For example, you must bring your personality to every demo session, pitch, and cold call.

You have to think on your feet and adapt to changing business conversations with potential customers, so if you’re thinking about what all these talks about sales being a science is about, then here’s why;

 b2b sales process flowchart

Just like a scientist would follow the scientific methods, sales professionals follow pretty much the same process, from observing a prospective customer and creating several buyer personas, performing research and hypotheses on the target market, and experimenting with a handful of sales actions and sales activities until they conclude. Likewise, B2B sales reps perform the same sales process.

Implementing sales systems simplifies any task, whether simple or complicated. The entire business process benefits also, and so does the sales team. Also, check out some detailed guides, B2B sales, SaaS sales and tech sales.

Developing B2S sales processes can improve performance and accuracy for sales reps. In addition, sales agents who use a streamlined sales process can improve their chances of success by being effective in three critical stages;

  • Lead generation
  • Pitch
  • Closing

If you’re wondering what these three stages are in the B2B sales process, you should stay a while longer and read this blog.

This article will help companies build scalable B2B selling processes.

What Is A B2B Sales Process?

B2B sales process is a set of steps designed to help sales reps reach their target audience and convert them into customers.

Not as simple as it sounds, though.

An effective sales process is a scalable, repeatable instruction manual for sales success.

Benefits Of Managing Your Company’s Sales Process

Before we run through some essential steps in b2b sales processes used by some companies, here’s why you need to have your own sales process in the first place.

There are almost a hundred ways any B2B business can benefit from a streamlined sales process and use them to meet their business needs.

Here are just a few;

b2b saas sales process
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Make the onboarding process easier

When you have a successful sales process, you can easily onboard your new sales reps to your team, have them understand the prospect’s business through data, and get them ready to start closing deals with potential clients in no time.

A good sales process would provide new hires with a deep understanding of the business information and who ideal customers and potential buyers are, as well as how to encourage current customers to keep coming back.

Improved selling process

In order to increase your team’s sales efficiency, you need to establish a routine when it comes to selling.

Sales representatives who are experienced with each step of the process are likely to close deals with or without the available sales tools because they feel confident when selling and the sales strategy has been personalized for them.

Team organization

Sales teams might also benefit from more organization if your company has modern sales processes. To make sure everyone is on the same page, define your B2B sales process along with the roles of each department or person on the sales team.

Fast-track buyer’s journey

One of the typical pain points of sales and marketing teams is a slow buyer’s journey.

Sales professionals and sales managers can use a streamlined B2B sales process to quicken the buyer’s journey through the sales funnel by making the sales cycle smaller with a standardized sales process.

They could use sales tools to create an automated customer-centric sales methodology to help potential customers quicken their decision-making process and close deals, consequently hastening the buying process and buyer’s journey through the sales funnel.

Increased/predictable revenue

A modern sales process is designed to help a sales department streamline sales prospecting, build working B2B sales strategies, and sales methods and improve the buying process for the buyer.

A sales process that is properly implemented will generate revenue by encouraging repeat business, and more revenue means more growth for your company, and who doesn’t want to surpass their revenue targets?

sales process b2b

Accountability management for the sales team

Many sales professionals leverage a defined sales process to hold their sales reps more accountable.

By holding each sales rep on the B2B sales team accountable for improving a certain stage of the sales process, you will be able to motivate them to contribute their quotas to the sales team.

More accurate forecastings

As compared with those who do not have defined sales processes, sales teams with a defined B2B sales process are better able to forecast bookings and measure B2B sales metrics.

You can adjust things as needed to ensure that everything is going smoothly with reliable B2B sales forecasts.

It goes without saying that your B2B sales team should have a strong sales process in place for the reasons outlined above – and many, many others.

Many sales professionals have prepared their B2B sales strategy with the aid of a streamlined sales process, if your B2B sales team doesn’t already have one, it’s time to revisit your sales tactics and improve on your B2B sales strategy!

Improved customer success

Because the sales process targets the decision-makers in the business, other departments, such as the customer success team, could leverage these predictable events, and the data it provides to make a discovery call rather than waste time on critical thinking and reading several how-to guides on how to use multiple channels to improve customer success and other professional services.

Less time

Salespeople spend a lot of time on deals that won’t close. A good sales process can be used to recognize a missed sale early and effectively.

Higher conversion rates

It is important to understand how you design your sales process. By understanding these procedures more fully, you can enhance your effectiveness to help your salespeople close more sales.

A well-engineered B2B sales system can remove sales objections before the customer flags them and create confidence in the potential customer.

The Sales Process As Part Of The B2B Sales Strategy

The most important component of selling strategies is to understand and influence your prospects and their behaviors. Sales targets can sometimes be confused with a sales strategy.

Short-term specific targets are included within sales strategies. Targets relate, in other words, to the goals of a business and orients sales teams around a clear objective.

A successful sales strategy involves the combination of achieving objectives, developing sales plans, and applying sales tactics that aim to produce the best business outcomes possible.

This will serve as the blueprint of your sales process and help your B2B sales reps in their sales activities.

However, not every sales representative qualifies as a B2B sales rep.

b2b sales process steps

Who is a B2B sales representative?

Selling isn’t easy. Many techies who work on software development teams assume that meeting clients or prospects is a way of having fun with salespeople.

On a good day, a typical sales rep would get one or two responses after sending up to 50 cold emails. That’s how challenging it can get

Typically, tens of thousands of business deals require at least 214 follow-up meetings. So it will require attending a lot of meetings and sending lots of emails. In sales, it’s all about numbers and hard work.

Having the right plan, organizational skills, and most importantly, qualified sales reps make the process efficient.

B2B Sales Representatives are professionals who use strategic sequences and special sales techniques to engage corporate clients and create accurate buyer personas. Corporate buyers are usually more informed when researching online products and services before contacting salespeople since they can compare several competing products in one place.

B2B Sales reps are able to conduct sales calls and answer them, manage sales emails, set appointments, conduct product demos and product presentations, build a relationship and address objections; these do not happen in the B2C sales process.

Comparing B2B outside sales reps and B2B inside sales reps

Outside sales professionals typically work outside the office because they meet prospective buyers or present for a business meeting or presentation. In contrast, inside salespeople work remotely via cold phone, email, or video conferencing.

Insider sales managers can close a business deal without meeting the customer individually. Typically outside sales representatives make a sales offer at the end of a personal conversation or shortly thereafter. This difference in engaging methods requires different skill sets and techniques in both practices.

Essential Steps In A Successful Sales Process

 b2b sales process template

Many business people are wrongly looking into the company’s perspective while creating their sales process. Sales principles present different views.

However, creating a great sales process is about focusing your attention on the client, and breaking your sales process into stages means you can quickly identify which parts aren’t working so well, it’s also great for testing and optimization.

As mentioned earlier, this means that it gives your team a structure to work in, and nothing will be missed or overlooked. A b2b sales process gives you visibility of where each prospect is in the funnel and it’s great for planning and forecasting.

Let’s have a look at the essential steps every good sales team should have in their sales playbook;

Stage One: Lead Generation

b2b and b2c sales process

This is the first step in the process.

Here you have to find people who have expressed interest in your product and reach out to them. Now if you’re not sure where to start, we have some ideas for you.

51.9% of 321 sales professionals revealed that email marketing was the main source of their lead generation. 27.3% said phone calls. So you have your ideas right there.

In our experience, email marketing and phone calls are the two main drivers of lead generation in 2022.

Why not take some inspiration from some industry leaders.

A B2B Sales rep should understand how their product sales process works and know the key steps in a successful business. This helps them develop new leads or potential opportunities which will generate revenue.

Furthermore, well-designed sales procedures can attract big and important deals because it gives everybody tools for managing these highly valued deals.

Tip: It’s crucial that salespeople understand the reason big businesses buy. Make it an integral part of your sales plan.

Stage Two: Discovery

stages of the b2b sales process

Every good salesperson should know their product inside out. Every great salesperson should also understand their prospect’s business by putting in the groundwork.

Trying to understand the prospect’s pain points before you even speak to them you’ll be able to provide them with solutions. This discovery process could also be referred to as the research process.

Here, you have an opportunity to qualify the lead before you pick up the phone to reach out to them.

Tips On Building Rapport With Potential Customers

You can connect with the prospect on LinkedIn, and check their recent activities;

  • What they have commented on?
  • What have they shared?
  • Have they written any articles or been featured in someone else’s?

Insights like these can be great for building rapport on your cold calls or emails. Click on their company’s website, have they published any new stories or press releases recently? Scroll through their blog if they have one, and take note of the language the company uses.

These are all good information that you could use in your outreach.

For best results, you can go the extra mile; read up on the latest news in their sector, subscribe to industry newsletters or LinkedIn groups so that when you call or email the potential buyer you want to sound like an expert, not just in your field.

The bottom line is even though discovery can take a bit of time, it will make your course far more successful.

Stage Three: Qualification

 typical b2b sales process

Now that you’ve done the groundwork, it’s time to get on the phone.

During the first session of your cold call, you should be assessing your prospect’s suitability as a customer.

Here, you should ask your prospects open-ended questions. These are questions that don’t require a yes or a no answer. They’re great for getting your prospect to open up.

Here are some example questions that sales teams use in their sales process.

Sample questions to ask your prospects

 b2b sales process pdf
  • What does your current sales strategy look like?
  • How does your sales team generate new leads?
  • Who would normally be involved in the sales decisions?
  • What sales tools are you currently using?
  • What regions are you looking to break into?
  • What are your current business/sales goals?
  • Do you plan to change what your business sells?
  • How do you manage multiple stakeholders?
  • Who are the decision-makers?
  • What sales activities are you known for?

Stage Four: Pitch

 complete b2b sales process guide

At this point, you have a good idea of the struggles the prospect is facing. If so you’ll be able to deliver a pitch tailored to solving their problems.

At this stage, you can let your creativity take over.

The most detailed sales process in the world can’t replace charisma and charm and you’ll need both when delivering your pitch in order to close more deals.

Elements of a good sale pitch

A good sales pitch shouldn’t just aid your sales cycles by strengthening your inbound marketing strategy, a good sales pitch should consider the bigger picture and be drafted with the buyer’s journey through the sales funnel in mind.

In short, what should a good sales pitch be;

  • Keep it short, sweet, and relevant.
  • Hit on key points of value that the prospect already cares about.
  • Rather than telling all your features, focus on how your product would help the prospect get results.
  • Use it to arouse curiosity
  • Leave out some bits to encourage the prospect to ask questions

Stage Five: Objection Handling

b2b sales process model

Any b2b sales person will know a prospect is rarely ready to buy after they’ve heard your first pitch. If it were that easy, every salesperson would be the greatest salesman.

At this stage in the sales process, your prospect will definitely have some questions for you.

These questions are called objections and how you deal with them is called objection handling.

The main thing to note when it comes to objection handling is that the prospect is never wrong, if you flat out disagree with the prospect’s objection, they’ll hang up on you.

Instead, listen to what they have to say and reposition your offer in a way that answers their question. Don’t blame the prospect if they sound dismissive. It’s likely they’ve just not heard the right information yet.

Most objections you’ll encounter are based on the following criteria so remember these and role-play some of the ways of handling them before your outreach.

Stage Six: Closing Stage

 b2b sales process questions

This stage of the B2B sales process should be the most exciting part for you and the prospect. You’ve demonstrated your product’s value to them, handled all their objections, and convinced them that your solution can’t be passed up.

This is the stage where you can start discussing pricing, and negotiate if necessary. Offering some free added value to the deal can help you get it over the line. Also be sure to discuss all the remaining steps before the call ends, including speaking about the stakeholders that have to sign off on the deal.

Doing this will ensure that there are no surprising bumps along the way. Now the signed contract will be in sight.

Stage Seven: Follow-Up

b2b typical sales process

After the sales call ends, it’s time to send the prospect a follow-up email.

What should you include in the email?

Here are some best practices;

  1. Start by telling the prospect how much you enjoyed speaking with them about your product.
  2. List the key points of what you both talked about, and if possible attach a recording of your call.
  3. Provide clear and concise next steps and timeline for completion and include any extra information at the end.
  4. A good sales tip is to imagine every email you send is going to be forwarded to someone else and chances are it will. On average, there are seven people involved in any B2B buying decision.

Stage Eight: Check-In

 successful b2b sales process

The prospect has become a client but doesn’t give yourself a round of applause just yet.

There’s one step left after the new customer has been handed over to and onboarded by the customer success team. Give them some time to get used to your product then check in with them and see how they’re doing.

Not only can this help your sales team gain some great feedback, but if they’ve been enjoying your product, you can ask them for a case study, some good words for your website’s review section, or a referral.

Referrals are great because they prevent you from beginning the B2B sales process all over again.

There you go, right there, you have your B2B sales process in eight easy steps.

The Takeaway

B2B is the definition of a business relationship between business units. B2B companies can be bought and sold by others. B2B sales are commonly defined as a sales model that sells goods and services to other companies.

Because B2B selling involves often higher prices, broader processes, and multiple touches throughout several channels, it is important that B2B companies retain an experienced B2B Sales team to drive revenue.

Some of the best business owners have established clear actionable steps and have improved the whole selling process. But make sure the procedure isn’t rigid and doesn’t fall into an outdated template. Unless our sales process is well managed it may result in lower conversion rates, delayed response, and failures of closing sales.

The sales process consists of well-defined steps for predictable profits. A sales process is essentially the process from when a lead is interested or renewing a relationship with you to the date of the purchase or renewal. It represents a series of step-by-step actions that enables the salespeople to know their existing customers, incorporate these insights into prospecting for new leads & build relationships with them as they navigate their B2B buying journey.

Like every other organizational process, the sales process needs consistent improvement for increased performance and greater conversion rates. Your team will be able to understand and communicate with prospects, leads, and buyers.

Also, gaining customer reviews and recommendations are very important. By leveraging this information, you can improve your sales process to ensure efficient sales conversions. Also, check out the sales pipeline stages guide.

Frequently Asked Questions On B2B Sales Process

What is B2B selling process or sales process?

The business-to-business sales process simply describes the series of events, stages, or steps that occur as businesses sell products or services to other businesses.

What are the stages of a B2B sales cycle?

The B2C sales cycle is broken down into eight major sales cycles after defining the role of the person responsible: lead generation, discovery, qualification, pitch, objection handling, closing, and check-in.

What is a sales funnel?

A sales funnel, also known as a purchase funnel, represents the buyer’s journey, from the point they learn about you, your company, and your product (awareness) down to the time they take action and become customers (actions).

What is AIDA theory?

The AIDA Model, which stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action model, is a marketing effect model that identifies the stages that an individual goes through during the process of purchasing a product or service. Explore some finest sales outreach tools in the market.