What Is Sales Cycle ?
The Sales cycle is the process by which any business and enterprises move forward for generating sales or signup with customers. The sales cycle is nothing but a series of actions to perform on a day-to-day basis to grow.
Sales cycles work differently in different companies and industries. The sales cycle for 2 wheeler manufacturing and 2 wheeler retail selling is different, the sales cycle for smartphone manufacturing and smartphone retail selling is different, sales cycle for retail sales and online sales is different, the sales cycle for online property selling and offline selling is very different.
Some sales cycles exist for a very small period and some for a long period of time and it’s due to the process involved in closing the sales.
But yes it’s very true that we cannot surpass the sales cycle or overlap it and all the sales cycle is due to customers and clients.
Importance of Sales Cycle
The Sales cycle is important because every stage has its own importance. Every sales cycle is monitored and analyzed so as to understand that we are going in the right direction or not. Now during analysis if found the one of the sales stage in sales cycle is not doing well then it has to be immediately rectified.
Importance of sales cycle is due because our ultimate goal is sales and during this journey every sales aspect has to perform 100%
Sales cycle determines the acceptance of product/services into the market which will determine the speed of sales happening on the ground.
Hence, every company tries to focus on a shorter sales cycle so as customers and revenue will increase with a reduction in cost .
“Longer the sales cycle more cost incurred”.
The sales cycle start in b2b domain starts with the lead formation and ends with closure and reference.
Stages of B2B Sales Cycle
1. Lead Generation
For sales to happen you require a customer and to get a customer you should have customer information like company name, phone number, address, landmark etc. So as you can connect to your customer. Lead mean the prospective buyers of your product or services in general.
Leads are like getting the source of water. Meaning of leads changes according to the business and enterprises. Generation of lead is very important because that determines the quality of leads and their worthiness. More information into the leads makes it earlier for a salesperson to understand the customers.
Generation of leads can be done from multiple sources like online , advertisement , events, conferences, references and many more. Hence for lead generation you need to be active on every platform but do remember ,qualify the lead before you move toward the next stage of sales cycle.
2. Customer Meet
Customer meet means interacting with your potential customer through phone or email for an appointment. Here it’s very important for a salesperson or sales telecaller to present yourself in the right manner and with a clear voice. This stage is the most crucial because this stage determines will you meet with the customers or not.
Hence, before connecting with the client you must have a written sales pitch, sales pitch must be to the point and not long. Example:
1. Morning Ma’am, this is Owen calling from Rax Machine where we manufacture 2 wheeler spare parts, hence want to talk to the concerned person, maybe director or owner ……
2. Afternoon Sir, this is Rajesh Singh calling you from “Holiz” USA No 1 travel operator, hence we are looking forward to travelling partners in your city /state, pls connect me to the concerned department or to the owner of the company.
Making a sales call or sending an email to someone unknown, must show value in the call then only he/she will entertain.
3. Product Presentation
Product presentation is another vital part of sales cycle . Remember, before product presentation do homework on your client product, company, distribution, service, product, and marketing /advertising strategy well before the presentation.
Remember, product presentation should be useful and entertaining for a client otherwise he might lose interest. Sales presentation must be driven by examples, facts/figures, differentiation, and benefit to the customer.
One thing we must all remember, none of the customers will pay you by seeing your face, they will only pay you when they see value in product and price. Hence, be prepared.
4. Objection Handling
If your product presentation went well then only the customer will go for objection and question. Otherwise, he/she might say, will let you know /will call you/ we are not convinced /we already work on it/we have not planned such services or product, etc.
The objection does not mean the client is not willing to purchase to product/ service, it means he/she is not convinced or there are some hiccups. Objection handling must be done in a truthful way. One secret that works, always cover your objection with client reference and benefit they have received in terms of numbers.
Objection handling is a very critical part as many salespeople or even the customer lose their temperament, hence always handle the objection with a smile and peace. Don’t be too aggressive. One thing every salesperson must remember, give customers a very limited loophole to ask questions because too many questions are also very negative, hence make product presentation very robust.
5. Follow up
Follow-up is the last crucial part of the sales cycle. Follow-up determines that you have won the deal or lost. Follow-up does not have a time frame attached to it or there is no time-bound of follow-up, now but salespeople are bound with a time frame. Follow-up meaning following somebody.
Following the client means you will lose the deal and follow-up will win the deal. Following means continuously chasing the client unnecessary but follow-up means chasing the client for a productive result or outcome. Salesperson must make follow-up productive by asking the client for date and time for a decision, but the day you called and if the customer does not pick the phone so don’t keep calling him, best will be to call after 4 hr.
Remember to call the client after 12 hr of your presentation to know that what decision he has made or not or when will he take a productive decision. Remember, after taking 3 follow-ups, even the client gave the same response, then it’s understood that he is not interested.
The closure stage means your client has agreed to give you an order. Hence at the time of closure proper documentation is required from both the party to avoid any confusion. But it will be better for the client to go through the documents once again especially the delivery, refund, scope of work, payment terms, etc.
The closure is subject to winning the contract and adding a new client to your company funnel. Closure must be transparent otherwise the relationship will break.
1. Documents or MOU (Memorandum Of Understanding )
2. Sign and stamp
3. Payment (advance or full or EMI)
4. Work order
The last stage of sales cycle will make a new beginning. References are to grow from where you are now. Most of the salesperson does not ask the client for references and this where they lack. Reference sale call involves less time because the person already knows someone.
Some clients often hesitate to give references but as a salesperson, you have to take at least 2-3 references from your earlier client. The reference makes sales easy. Some salespeople often feel shy and hesitant to take references, but you have to keep in mind you have to do smart work, not handwork.
Even some clients will say let me see your service first and then will give a reference, but that ok plus some will say call tomorrow will see. But be persistent toward references.
With rich experience in sales & marketing, Neeraj Upadhyay specializes in sales, business development, service, revenue achievements, training, team building, price, strategy business expansion, new product, and many more. He is an expert sales and marketing professional and hence his written article are most among our reader’s favorite.