Management of the Sales Cycle: Definition and Strategies

The first thing we need to understand is what a sales cycle looks like and the different steps that it contains. Here, we will discuss the sales cycle definition, stages, and strategies for accelerating sales.


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year

Just to give you an idea. 😀


Sales Cycle Definition

What is a sales cycle? The sales cycle is the journey a potential client embarks on that begins when they develop an interest in a product to when they make a purchase. It can be defined as the steps to identify clients and follow up after closing deals.

And why is it relevant?

Understanding your full sales cycle is important because it will determine how much time you have to close a sale and whether or not the customer has enough information on which to make an informed decision.

  • With this system, you are able to keep track of all sales. It includes how many steps each rep took through the process.
  • Sales process mapping gives you a better understanding of your sales processes and allows for evaluation.
  • You can change your sales process to better suit the needs of different types of people.

Seven Steps of the Sales Process

In this article, we will summarize the stages of a sales process. These are to be applied in conjunction with your overall company’s lifecycle.

1. Prospecting

The process of sales prospecting is to identify potential clients who are interested in your product or service. It’s the foundation for every sales process, and it involves finding qualified leads that might be close to being readable to buy what you have on offer.

Prospecting starts with a company formulating an Ideal Customer Profile. This is a summary of the perfect client for their product or service and helps gain insight into customer needs.

To attract new customers, sales reps need to be proactive and create awareness. One way they can do this is by advertising on social media sites like Facebook or Instagram, in blogs or podcasts.

2. Preparation

The second step in the sales cycle is preparation. This includes research and gathering vital information about your customer so that you can make a strong pitch guaranteed to close the deal.

It’s important for sales teams to be knowledgeable about their prospects and do research on the person before they go into a meeting. The more information that is known, the better it will be in closing deals.

I know that this information will help you when coming up with the perfect sales pitch to appeal to your prospect and sell them what they are buying.

3. Approach

In this stage of the sales process, you make or break your first impression. Sales teams get to meet clients in person or through video conferencing apps and email. This is where they introduce themselves and start building a rapport with prospects by asking questions about their interests.

4. Presentation

In the presentation stage, sales teams show how their product or service can help a prospect overcome challenges. The presenter should tailor this to identify and address any pain points that they have found through research.

Sales teams can use PowerPoint or Keynote presentations to help communicate their points more clearly and may also offer interactive sessions where the prospect tests the product. Salespeople will often try cross-selling or up-selling during this stage.

5. Handling objections

Sometimes customers will be hesitant to buy your product. It’s natural for them to need more information before making a decision. Asking questions is an opportunity for you as the salesperson because it allows you to better understand their needs and adjust accordingly.

Below are a few tips that will help you when objections come up during the sales process:

  • Always acknowledge and understand the doubts of your prospects. Make sure to provide them with solutions that make sense for their specific needs.
  • The key to finding a solution is asking questions. When you ask for more information, it will help shed light on the matter and provide clarity about what needs to be done.
  • If your prospect does not buy into what you are saying, be ready with a response to their objections. However, make sure that you remain polite and courteous when answering any of these concerns.

I was also wrong about my objection handling. I thought that people would stop buying when they were told no, but it turns out the opposite is true.

6. Closing the sale

Closing the sale can be difficult, but it doesn’t mean that you are out of luck. Closing is not always about asking questions and reeling in your prey; sometimes, it’s just a matter of playing your cards right to get them into the deal without much thought.

7. Follow up

After the deal is closed, it’s not over. Sales reps should follow up with their prospects and customers to make sure that they stay loyal and keep coming back for more.

I send thank-you notes or emails to my clients, which usually gets a response. I also check in with them after the product has been delivered and see if they are satisfied.

Sales Cycle Management

What is Sales Cycle Management? Sales cycle management is the process of identifying what happens during all of the sales cycle stages and tailoring your actions to match those key phases.

The sales development life cycle can vary greatly depending on the company and what type of sale it is, but they all start with a process that looks like this:

  • The RDD is a high-level demonstration of the product with an explanation of how it will be used.
  • With Custom Demo or POV, you get to work with multiple stakeholders and establish use cases for the product. This is important because it gives an idea of how your company can actually benefit from this new technology.
  • A technical win is when the company understands where we fit in and how we differentiate from other providers.
  • The key stakeholders understand the impact on their business and have a say in the decision process. The economic buyer, who is usually an executive or manager with purchasing power over a certain category of products, understands that our solution benefits them.
  • Contract Negotiation: The buyer and seller know the value of an item, so they negotiate on price if necessary.
  • Closed-Won:=]

MEDDIC has traditionally been applied to enterprise selling and is meant for complex B2B sales opportunities. Whether you’re trying to sell high-volume ACV deals or whale-sized enterprise deals, you can use MEDDIC and the Challenger Sales Methodology in your sales lifecycle management so that it’s clear how much risk there is on a deal before going forward with them.

 

Image Credit: Daniel Nilsson

Elements of Sales Management

  • Sales Operation
  • Sales Strategy
  • Sales Analysis

Sales Operation and Team Building

One of the most important parts of sales management is to delegate duties and make sure they are fulfilled. The manager must also bring together efficient personnel from various divisions into a team.

A stage sales manager should gather as much information about the potential candidates of a team and then assign them roles that best suit their strengths. The manager can also develop targets for each member, so they know what is expected from them.

In addition to creating a sales team and assigning roles, the manager must also motivate their employees by giving feedback.

Sales Strategy and Process

Sales managers have many responsibilities, but preparing a sales pipeline is one of the most important. A sales pipeline helps guide and evaluate your company’s sales process by giving you an idea of what to do next.

Having a sales pipeline also ensures that each member of the team has an idea about what their goals are and how they can work to achieve them.

Sales Analysis and Reporting

Sales analysis is a crucial tool for sales teams because it provides information about what areas need improvement and how to optimize specific strategies so that the team can be more successful.

Sales reporting can help you track the effectiveness of your marketing-sales cycle. This includes metrics such as:

  • Average deal size.
  • How many deals are in your sales pipeline?
  • Sales Velocity.

CRM tools are especially useful for sales operations. They help to streamline the process, making it more efficient and effortless.

What is MEDDIC?

  • What are your prospects’ metrics, and how does your solution help them?
  • What is the role of an economic buyer?
  • What does your solution need to offer, and what needs to be accomplished in order for it or a similar product service to influence the decision of someone who is looking at purchasing something?
  • Decision Process: What is the role of your prospect in their organization?
  • When you’re trying to find out why people do what they do, it’s important to identify where the pain is. For example, if a person feels that their job doesn’t offer them any opportunities for growth or advancement, then this may be one of many reasons why they are not motivated.
  • Champion: Have you created a passionate employee who can help make your company’s goals and the customer’s needs align?

When you understand your buyer’s unique situation and MEDDIC during the initial discovery, then there is a higher chance of success in any sales opportunity.

Jacco vanderKooij reminds us that before we offer our solution, it is important to understand how the buyer perceives their problem and what they want.

Prescription before diagnosis is malpractice.

When you are on a discovery call, it is important to have an open dialogue with your prospect. A mutual upfront contract allows both parties to agree that the conversation will be mutually beneficial and relevant. If there seems like there might be a fit between what they need and what you offer, then you can move forward.

The Challenger Methodology

Even without the implementation of Challenger, you can still take away some important lessons from CEB’s methodology. When MEDDIC is woven in with Challenger, it becomes a powerful process.

  • Teach your buyers something new and actionable. Let them walk away with more than an understanding of the product you’re selling; they should know how to differentiate it from other products on the market and why that’s important for their future success.
  • You should customize your conversations and demos to the needs of each customer, remembering that research is key. Share how you can positively affect important business metrics with a solution like yours. All kinds of people are interested in these sorts of numbers, so it’s good to make sure they know about them.
  • When the conversation strays from its original goal, you need to take control and steer it back. Communicate your knowledge without coming off as too pushy or aggressive.

Principles of Sales Cycle Management

Ask them about their role and what they do. This will help you to narrow down your questions for the interview.

  • Sales Qualified Opportunities
  • Meetings Booked/Occurred
  • Percentage of Opportunities Closed

Usually, a business will want to improve conversion rates and concrete metrics like ROI. They also need your solution in order for it to be successful.

Economic Buyers and Your Champion: Identify who you are speaking with and what needs to be done in order for your product or service to get approved. In the current sales cycles world, even small organizations have more than one person making decisions about whether a purchase is worth it.

It is vital to have an internal champion who can help you make your case with the decision-makers. A champion may be as helpful as a team member when it comes to the nature of the sales cycle management ppt. If they are on board, then this person might also be considered part of the economic buyer’s group.

Decision Criteria: It is often difficult to know what a candidate really wants from the job and their future. You need to ask them great questions about why they want this position because it will help you understand if there are things that would be deal-breakers for them.

When it comes to decision-making, coaching, and identifying pain points, there are a few questions that should be asked. Avoid being too interrogative when you ask these questions because the salesperson may not have answers for all of them.

  • I need to show my idea or product and explain it so that other people can decide if they want to buy into the plan.
  • What other solutions have you tried?
  • What has your experience been like, and what feedback have you received from your team?
  • What are you doing to fix the problem?

The Challenger Methodology

CEB’s Challenger methodology is a great way to make your business more competitive, but you can also use MEDDIC as well. The combination of the two will provide an unbeatable advantage.

  • Teach your buyers something new and actionable. Teach them how you differentiate from the competition or give a better understanding of their world of tomorrow with our product, making them champions for your brand.
  • Tailor your conversations and demos to be a relevant promise that if you do pre-call research, it will help. It’s a great time to talk about how the metrics you learned are important for many people in an organization. Consensus is easier when everyone understands what they’re talking about.
  • If the conversation is off-topic, don’t let it continue. You need to be able to tell them what they should do, and you can’t come across as too aggressive or forceful in doing so.

Essential Takeaways

Sales Cycle Management is the process of establishing a sales team and coordinating operations in order to meet company targets. This involves three components of the sales cycle in its industry:

  • The sales manager must identify the best candidates and combine them into one team. It is essential that managers keep their personnel motivated by assigning each individual to a role they are suited for.
  • There are many different strategies that a salesperson can use to be successful. One strategy is creating a pipeline, which consists of formulating the appropriate skills and techniques for optimal performance.
  • Sales Analysis: This is the process of using metrics to track company performance and identify areas that need improvement.

There are three ways that companies can use sales cycles management principles. The first is to understand the market’s different stages, then define how many leads they need for each stage and what their customer acquisition cost should be at every stage.

When I hire salespeople, the first important thing to me is educating them on what they are selling. Once people understand how it will benefit their life or company, they are more likely to buy because you have set yourself apart from competitors by showing them why your product-service matters.

Find someone on your team who will help sell the product to prospects and be a liaison between you and sales cycle management.


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year

Just to give you an idea. 😀

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