This post is part of an 8-part series on the steps of the sales process.  Click here to see the full series.

An Overview of the Steps of the Sales Process

The sales cycle – or the time from the first attempted contact with a specific prospect until the time that a sale is made to that prospect – is often referred to as a funnel when considering a large number of prospective clients over some period of time.

The funnel is a good metaphor, because at each stage of the sales cycle, some of these prospective clients fall out of the cycle, or decide not to move forward.  As a result, there are more people at the first stage than the second, more in the second than the third, and so on.  Graphically then, a funnel with a large top – representing the start of the sales cycle, and a narrow bottom – representing the end of the sales cycle, illustrates well the progression of a large number of prospective clients through the sales cycle.

When we speak of the sales process, we mean the specific of steps that are taken as we work through the sales cycle with each individual prospective client or customer.  For the purposes of this series, the steps of the sales process are as follows:

[NOTE:  Click on the name of each step to see the post in this series related to that step in the process]

Generating Leads:  A list of names that you may contact to initiate a sales conversation


Prospecting:  Contacting your leads to set up the opportunity to have a sales conversation


Qualification:  Determining if the person you are talking to is able to and likely to buy from you


Needs Analysis:  Discovering what is important to the prospect about their needs as they relate to what you might sell to them


Offering a Solution:  Suggesting to the prospect some solution to the issues raised in Needs Analysis that you or your company may offer for a price


Objections:  Questions, comments or concerns that the prospect has about your solution that – if left unanswered – may prevent the prospect from completing a purchase with you


Closing the Deal:  Reaching agreement with the prospect to exchange the product or service outlined in the proposal for some price

At this generalized, framework level, this sales process fits any and every kind of sale one might imagine.  The benefits of examining sales activities through the framework of this sales process include allowing a salesperson to consciously move through the sales process and to know where they are and where they need to go in the process next at any given stage of the process.  It also allows salespeople and sales managers to evaluate which parts of the sales process seem to be the most difficult, so that improvements can be made in each specific area.

Evaluation of the sales process also allows optimization of the sales process as a whole.  For example:

  • Doing a lot of prospecting allows more chances to qualify and do needs analysis
  • Doing needs analysis well makes the development of a compelling proposal more likely
  • And the development of a compelling proposal minimizes objections and increases the likelihood of a successful close.

From this perspective, the sales process is not a disconnected set of parts, but rather an integrated system in which the pieces relate to each other in such a way that optimizing each part influences the results of the whole.

Please follow this link for the full list of topics in this 8-part series on the sales process.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Hi, I’m David Masover. With nearly three decades of B2B sales experience, I work as a private practice Sales Force Development Consultant. I help company leaders understand the root causes of sales issues that keep revenue from growing as fast as it could, and to fix those problems through work with reps, managers, systems, processes, strategies, and tools. You can learn more about me and my work and/or get in touch with me here at my web site www.davidmasover.com/contact/ or on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/masover/

___________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Hi, I’m David Masover. With nearly three decades of B2B sales experience, I work as a private practice Sales Force Development Consultant. I help company leaders understand the root causes of sales issues that keep revenue from growing as fast as it could, and to fix those problems through work with reps, managers, systems, processes, strategies, and tools. You can learn more about me and my work and/or get in touch with me here at my web site www.davidmasover.com/contact/ or on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/masover/