sales life cycle


Imagine yourself, having to assess the market, choose who you are going to prospect, make all the contacts and close the contract. Sounds tiring, doesn’t it?

If we think about simple sales, this model even makes sense. As the steps in the sales process are shorter, it is understandable that the same seller pulls you into the store, shows you all the stock, persuades you, and goes to the cashier to close your purchase.

However, in complex sales, which have greater added value and longer cycles, the multipurpose salesperson faces difficulties. After all, it’s hard to maintain motivation, focus and still have effective training to do all of this.

Conducting every step of the sales process can overwhelm your team. This increases the chance of missing the timing of closing an account or getting confused among leads at different stages.

Besides, in the midst of this confusion, how will your sales team know how to measure results and find problems?

That’s why, here on the OTB blog, we always defend the segmented model, in which each professional is responsible for one of the stages of the sales process.

Breaking the sales process into stages, customizing it for your market, knowing who you will offer it to and how to offer the product… This can be the starting point for many companies that want to survive and grow in the market.

But what are the steps in the segmented sales process adopted by the Lahore smart city? What happens in each of them?

In this article, I’m going to show you what the steps are here in Outbound Marketing. This is also the model we pass on to our customers. Come on?

1st Stage – Commercial Intelligence

In the segmented sales process, the first step is to define who you will try to sell to.

It’s no use trying to offer your product to everyone. It’s a waste of time and money! Not everyone needs what you offer or is able to buy.

It is in the business intelligence stage that this problem is resolved. The intelligence team will analyze the market, analyze competition and define the target audience for prospecting – the type of buyer to whom you will direct your cold calls, cold emails, and your Inbound.

IC member looking for that lead’s email

At Outbound, commercial intelligence monitors the end-to-end sales process, using indicators and constant feedback between stages to assess whether the strategies are generating results.

It is also the IC team that puts lists of smart leads into the sales funnel, after constantly searching for companies that might buy a service or product.

In this search, information about the companies is raised, but mainly forms of direct contact with the decision-maker.

2nd Stage – Prospecting

If we already have a list of companies to prospect, with basic information such as the decision maker’s email and phone number, it’s time to take action.

Prospecting is the first contact with your potential customers. You must pass a good first option and convince him to listen to what you have to offer.

The prospector needs to impress on the first contact

Whether through a cold call or cold mail, the idea is to show your target that you have something that will bring positive results and you just need to present this solution.

Here at OTB, we use this approach to schedule the first meeting. Thus, we create expectations in the lead and guarantee that, for a moment, we will have their full attention.

It’s a common mistake to offer your idea at a time when the prospect can’t pay attention. Just remember those annoying telemarketing calls where the agent starts dumping the sales pitch without even knowing if you can talk. It starts with 1 to 0 against on the scoreboard.

But the most important point is that the contact must be made directly with a decision-maker. This makes it much easier to control the flow of information and the speed of the business, saving you from spending hours and hours talking to people without any influence in the prospected company.

3rd Stage – Qualification

Arriving here you already have a lead connected and interested in your product. Now enter the SDRs or sales representatives, who are responsible for presenting the service and qualifying the lead.

Qualification is the step in the sales process where you try to get to know the lead more deeply. Here, the most important thing is not to talk, but to make the lead talk and listen. This will make it much easier down the road, when we are going to offer and negotiate the service.

Making the Lead Talk and Listen: The Qualifier Challenge

Any information can be important during a negotiation, but the focus is to find out what the lead’s goals are, where he wants to go, how he plans to achieve it and what difficulties he faces. In short, you want to know what the lead pains are.

Don’t expect him to come up with this upfront and on his own, you need to guide the conversation to get to that point.  At OTB, we use some frameworks that help with this task, such as GPCT and SPIN Selling. Study them and put them into practice!

4th Step – Closing

In this step, you’re dealing with leads that have already identified your issues, know the risk of not solving them, and that your company can offer help. Therefore, they are more open to the solution and mature enough to receive business proposals.

The account executive, or closer, will close the contract. He receives all the information that was gathered in the first steps of the sales process and, based on that, shows the prospect how to take advantage of his solution.

The closer is the one who will shake hands at the end

In general, the proposal is to feed the desire for the solution through a demonstration. How it happens depends a lot on the nature of your product.

As a team of Capital Smart City is a Marketing and Sales expert, at OTB we present success stories. We show how we help companies with similar problems and the results obtained. And it works well, because who doesn’t like to see good numbers?

Now if your product is software, for example, a guided demo or trial period might be good outputs.

Showing, in practice, what you have to offer and how it can generate results for the lead is the main point. You want to awaken the desire for your service at once. And ready! Now it’s time to propose a business and talk about values.

You will find it much easier to make a proposal to someone who is already engaged with your solution and has gone through an accurate qualification process.

The lead was analyzed by the commercial intelligence team, showed openness to know your company, presented problems and willingness to solve and knows what you can offer. This is the time!

What’s more, by now you should be talking to the decision-maker and you should already know how much money your lead can pay for your product.

You have at hand everything you need to propose something coherent, in terms of cost-benefit and with a high probability of closure. Propose, negotiate and close!

5th Stage – Post-purchase

We have a new customer! So, is it the end? No, it’s not over!

As important as acquiring new customers is knowing how to keep them. Selling is just the first (and smallest) step in this relationship.

The Customer Success team must welcome the new customer

Keeping a customer means ensuring their success and satisfaction. It is essential that, after the sale, someone on your team is responsible for introducing the service. After all, at this moment, the customer still does not have full knowledge of what he has just bought.

Then comes the role of Customer Success, which acts on the buyer’s engagement with the product or service from onboarding, to reach moments of success quickly.

The customer service relationship with the sales team here at OTB is a two-way street, essential for both sides. CS has direct contact with the customer using the service and knows the satisfaction and success profiles.

Well, if the idea of ​​segmentation, from the beginning, is to sell better to the right targets, knowing which type of customer has the most post-purchase success is an excellent way to target your market. Besides, it’s a huge source of cases for your company.

In the opposite way, the information collected throughout the stages of the sales process are opportunities for knowledge. They can be useful for the CS team from the first contact with the customer.

In short, following the customer after the purchase, ensuring their satisfaction and understanding the feedback given to them are completely linked to the sales process.

How to define the stages of the sales process impacts your results

In this article I explained to you what the steps of the sales process are and why defining them is the best option for complex sales.

A well-organized and segmented process is the path to good performance control, gap assessment, and revenue forecasting.

You will be able to work with a much larger flow of potential customers. And better than that, they will be contacts with companies that can actually buy. In other words, no more shooting in the dark.

Is that you? How is the sales process divided in your company? Can you have full control of the operation? Do you know how to predict and define the prospecting flow?

Comment below or send me an email telling: marketing@outboundmarketing.com.br.