There's one thing that is sure about sales – it's never dull.

In fact, many individuals decide to work in sales because they believe it will provide them more freedom and somewhat less structure. And believe me, they are not wrong at all!

Working in sales provides you a certain degree of independence in how you perform your daily tasks. However, as a sales rep, you should be adaptable and willing to improvise to ultimately get that desirable “It's a deal!” from prospects.

Although, another “fun” part of sales lies in the fact that buyers can be rather picky, excessively cautious, unpredictable, and surprisingly suspicious! That is why sales reps should be creative and often adapt their sales techniques to potential customers' requirements and sometimes whims.

Now the question is, how can something as uncertain as this work under a well-structured plan? This is where the Sales process lifecycle comes into play, and this is what this article is about. So, let's dive in!

What is a Sales Process

A formal sales process lifecycle makes your work more effective, improves performance, and even helps you close sales quicker. And to understand what all goes around in sales, learning the sales lifecycle is perhaps the best way forward.

It doesn’t really matter what industry or business you’re in; the lifecycle of sales is pretty much the same with product/service-specific modifications. It always comes down to nurturing leads into sales. 

For every industry/organization, the lifecycle of sales is defined while selling to a customer. This lifecycle could be a process that enables the sales representative to ensure that the specifics are being covered while demonstrating the service or the product to the customer. 

Assume that you’re off to purchase a car and you approach a nearby dealership. The sales reps will start asking you questions to understand what kind of vehicle you’re looking for, your budget, your performance choices, the reasons for buying that vehicle, like if it’s for the daily commute or your outdoor riding experiences. This is the process that they follow to ensure that whatever they are going to present is something that you’re looking for. 

HubSpot Sales Hub offers some really exciting tools and sales workflows that will make the sales process easier than ever before. Nonetheless, customers these days are smart, and they know what they want before conversing with anyone. Still, this process could be helpful for the sales reps to ensure they present what the customer wants in an even better way, just to lock in that deal.

Purpose of the Sales Process

Businesses need to keep track of the length of their sales cycle to ensure their selling process is efficient. However, not many of them outline and organize the sales lifecycle, leaving it entirely up to the sales reps to decide what actions to take and when. 

Although, there are great benefits in streamlining the sales process, which could be: Improving team structure and aligning them as per their strengths, Identifying potential customers, Ensuring retainer contracts or return customers, Qualifying leads as potential customers, Building relationships to ensure assured closed deals. 

Besides, keeping a record of the sales cycle provides business insight into the effectiveness of its sales processes. Moreover, by analyzing your sales cycle, you can recognize which stage you move through slower and work on them accordingly. All in all, looking at the entire sales process lifecycle makes it quite easy to identify actions that ultimately lead to successes or problems.

Sales Process Life-cycle

Moving forward, to understand a sales lifecycle, you must identify the stages it's comprised of. So, let's have an inside look at the sales process steps.

Prospect

This process requires identifying potential customers who are perhaps interested in your product or service. This is the foundation of every sales process. Sales prospecting is to attain qualified leads close to being ready to make the purchase. 

So not exclusively do sales reps prospect for new customers, they also qualify them. Prospecting typically entails creating awareness among potential customers. And, sales reps can accomplish this by promoting their product/service on social media platforms.

Connect

Once you've recognized your prospects, it's time to connect. You can ask for a common acquaintance to introduce you, engage with them on LinkedIn or Twitter, or reach out to them over email or phone.

Acquaint yourself, share the value of what you have to bring to the table, and ask if they'd perhaps be interested in finding out more.

Research

Your prospects have needs, and if you can meet those needs, you'll definitely get the sale. So how would you know what they actually need? Well, you research.

Look at their social media feeds to find out what they talk about and look for something you can connect over. Get familiarized with information about the prospects, such as their requirements, expectations, and other relevant background information.

Carry out research and gather as much essential information as possible about your customer so you can make a solid pitch that is guaranteed to seal the deal.

Present

Presentation is where the sales reps have the opportunity to shine. The type of presentation you make depends on what you're selling. For instance, you may show the prospect around your product, do a demo, or present a framework of how your services will benefit them.  

Whatever the case, this is where you convince the prospect to buy. And that my friend is selling.

Handle objections

Sometimes the client may have a few concerns or perhaps waiver before buying your product. Besides, it's pretty natural to need more information before settling on a decision. A great sales rep should consider these objections to understand the prospect's needs further and adjust in accordance with them. 

Of course, objections can be frustrating. However, dealing with objections is a part of sales life. So, reps need to be ready to deal with each of these.

Close

Once the customer is convinced that you've addressed their objections and can take care of their issues, it's time to seal the deal. Present them with the contract, get them to sign, and voila, you just got yourself a new client. You can provide your customers with reliable tools to quickly edit and sign documents online. This will ease the process to help you secure the deal.

This stage of the sales lifecycle can perhaps feel challenging, but it's not something impossible. Ask powerful questions that drive the prospect closer to the deal. And if you play your cards the right way, you'll undoubtedly close the deal!

Follow up & generate referrals

Closing the deal doesn't simply end there. Sales reps need to follow up with their prospects as well as clients even after signing the deal. Sales process follow-up aims to make the client a recurrent one and establish their loyalty to your brand. 

Besides, referral sales are awesome. You can jump right to book an appointment when one of your clients informs you about another prospect who apparently wants your product or service. So, getting a referral sure does save you a huge load of time.

However, the sales rep needs to request those referrals. And what's a better time than right after you close a deal?

Final Say

There you go, folks! That was all about the Sales process lifecycle.

You can follow many knowledge base articles, eBooks, and whatnot to work upon our sales processes. However, I’ve personally learned that it comes to you naturally when you are out in the actual world finding opportunities, qualifying customers, negotiating, and closing deals. 

In the end, you learn from your success and failures and then improvise what went wrong and what worked well for any specific deal. The approach may change, but the process of how to communicate with a client will always remain the same to close any deal. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The lifecycle of a sales process typically consists of several stages, including prospecting, initial contact, qualification, presentation, objection handling, closing, and post-sale follow-up. Each stage involves specific activities and interactions with the goal of turning a lead into a satisfied customer and maintaining a long-term relationship.

The 7 stages of a sales cycle are: prospecting, initial contact, qualification, presentation, objection handling, closing, and post-sale follow-up. It begins with identifying potential leads, making initial contact, and assessing their suitability. The salesperson then presents the product or service, addresses objections, and finally closes the deal. After the sale, they continue to support the customer and nurture the relationship for long-term success.

Closing deals in sales is the pivotal moment when a salesperson convinces a potential customer to make a purchase or commit to a specific action. It's the final step in the sales process, involving persuasion, overcoming objections, and securing the prospect's agreement to buy or move forward. Effective closing techniques are essential in converting leads into paying customers, and they can vary from directly asking for the sale to creating urgency or providing added value to seal the deal.

A shorter sales cycle is generally better as it reduces costs, improves cash flow, enhances the customer experience, and allows for quicker adaptability to market changes. However, it should be balanced with the need for thorough evaluation and relationship-building in certain cases.

Editor: Richa Sharma