What do you consider to be important aspects of a business? For many it is providing a strong customer service experience, for others it is making sure that your business has reliable and valuable products and an increase in sales.
Sticking with increasing sales, there is a process that businesses should follow in order to sell to your customer base. That process is called the “Sales Cycle.”
Sales cycle management is the act of optimizing your sales cycle. In this blog post, we will cover a few things regarding the sales cycle and how businesses can get the most out of it:
- What is a sales cycle
- The stages of a sales cycle
- How to improve the cycle
We will also share the best practices that businesses can use in order to strengthen the sales process.
What is the Sales Cycle?
A sales cycle is a process that a business takes on when selling a product or service to a customer. It comes in the form of a series of steps that lead a business to a sale.
The sales cycle can often be confused with sales methodologies, which refers to the framework for implementing the sales cycle. The sales cycle is tactical and includes multiple stages such as, prospect, connecting, qualifying the lead, lead nurturing and closing.
Why is the sales cycle important
Developing and identifying well-defined stages of your sales cycle helps businesses (specifically sales representatives) makes it easy to train new sales reps, provide a structured roadmap to familiarize sales reps with the process.
Keeping track of a sales cycle helps to strongly evaluate a team’s performance. If the average length of your businesses sales cycle decreases month to month, that means that sales teams are quickly and effectively closing on their leads in a shorter amount of time.
Sales Cycle Stages
The cycle varies from business to business. Depending on the industry you are in, the product you sell and the market you have, different factors can come into play which affect your sales cycle. Even with that, here are the most standard stages:
The sales cycle begins when sales representatives begin looking for leads. How do sales reps prospect leads? Looking at ideal customer profiles, they identify potential clients to reach out to and decide how to reach out to them. To a degree, prospecting can sound like lead generation, but there is a difference. With lead generation, you are collecting contact information from leads but with prospecting sales reps are actually reaching out to those leads.
Once a sales team finds their leads flowing in, it is time to connect. Before you decide how to reach out to those leads, you must assess those leads and determine which stage of the cycle they are current in.
Once that is done, you can contact them in a form that works best. Whether it is by phone, email or even through social media, contacting them within a timely manner helps to improve on doing business with them.
3. Qualifying Leads
After you have made contact with your leads, next is qualifying them. How is that done? Take the time to ask you’re a leads series of questions in order to assess how they fit into the profile you have developed in terms of your key customers. Some of those questions include:
- What is your leads budget?
- How quickly does your lead need a specific business product?
- What are their pain points and do business products address those needs?
Gaining a stronger understanding of your potential customer after asking these questions helps determine if this customer is a fit for your business.
4. Lead Nurturing
If your lead isn’t ready to purchase yet, nurturing them is the next step. In an effort to move them down the sales pipeline eventually, lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with potential buyers throughout the buyer’s journey.
Nurturing helps to prepare potential customers and educated them on what your business provides product and service-wise.
After moving your leads down the sales pipeline to the point where a purchase has been made, the sales cycle can now be closed and prepare to start the cycle all over again with a new customer.
How to Improve Your Sales Cycle
Even well-oiled systems can use upgrades and improvements from time to time, especially because the sales world constantly changes. Sales reps will need to adapt to the current times and trends in order to reach their highest forms of success.
Improving the sales cycle includes:
- Quick follow-ups
- Team training
- Reducing low-value work
The sales cycle is important because it helps businesses evaluate team performances and serve its customers quickly and effectively. Following the steps of a sales cycle varies from business to business, but following the steps ultimately helps a businesses end goal.