A B2B sales process is a set of steps designed to help sales teams convert prospects into customers. It’s a scalable, repeatable instruction manual to turn leads into customers.
At Cognism, we’ve cracked the B2B sales code with our eight-step sales process. It’s helped us stay focused and continuously hit revenue targets.
This guide will run through our sales process steps and explore why having one is necessary for a scaling company.
Other insights included are:
The sales process is a structured approach that organisations follow to convert potential customers into paying clients. It involves steps and activities designed to identify, engage, and persuade prospects to purchase a product or service.
A well-defined sales process is crucial for businesses of all sizes as it provides a roadmap for B2B sales teams, ensures consistency, and improves the overall efficiency of the sales function.
Cognism’s Senior Video Marketer, Emily Liu, explains the B2B sales process in a quick video tutorial. Press ▶️ to watch!
Most salespeople enjoy the freedom that comes with their role. They can bring their personality into every cold call and adapt to changing conversations.
However, the best sales reps aren’t artists. They’re scientists. They use B2B data to form insights and create an effective sales process.
A SaaS sales process provides a framework upon which a salesperson can improvise while providing six additional benefits:
Before you start prospecting, the first thing to do is research your target market and define your ideal customer profile. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be ready to kickstart the sales process.
The selling process typically consists of several key stages guiding sales teams from prospecting to closing the sale and beyond.
At Cognism, we’ve broken our B2B sales process into eight! Here’s an infographic detailing the stages:
Let’s explore each sales process stage in detail:
Prospecting is the initial stage of a sales process, where sales reps identify potential customers or leads. It involves researching and identifying target markets, industries, and individuals who may need the product or service offered.
Various techniques, such as cold calling, networking, email marketing, and social media outreach, help generate leads.
If you have a good understanding of your total addressable market and the right sales software, this step should take no time at all!
Tools like Cognism and ZoomInfo are examples of lead generation software that can help you streamline the B2B sales process.
For instance, Cognism provides company and contact databases you can use to discover leads in your ICP quickly. Once you’ve done this, you just have to build a targeted list of prospects to reach out to - with or without a lead generation specialist!
📞 Book a call with a data expert now to discover qualified leads from Cognism.
Every good salesperson should know their product inside out. Every great salesperson should also understand their prospect’s business.
By putting in the groundwork and trying to understand a buyer’s pain points before you speak with them, you can provide them with solutions. This research stage prepares you for sales discovery calls.
Researching your buyer also allows you to qualify the lead before you pick up the phone. You’ll need to evaluate factors such as your prospects’ budget, authority to make purchasing decisions, and their level of interest or need for the product or service. This sales process stage helps focus efforts on the leads most likely to convert.
Here are some tips:
The bottom line is that even though discovery can take some time, it’ll make your calls far more successful.
Now that you’ve done the groundwork, it’s time to get on the phone.
During the first section of your sales call, you should use a lead scoring system to assess your potential lead’s suitability as a customer.
Ask them open-ended questions, throw in some key business terminology, focus on their problems and determine whether you can solve them. If not - don’t force it!
Time is of the essence, and if you have a good lead list, you’ll have plenty of other people to speak to!
You should have a good idea of your ideal customers’ struggles by this point. Now you need to deliver a pitch tailored to showcasing how your solution can solve their problem.
Your creativity comes in here. The most detailed sales process in the world can’t replace charisma or charm...which is why we often avoid detailed cold calling scripts.
A good scripted sales pitch should last around 30 seconds. During this time, you’ll need to show the prospect that you’ve done your research. Hit on key points of value which are relevant to them. Here are some tips:
At this stage of the sales process, you must showcase your product or service to potential prospects, emphasising how it addresses their needs. A compelling and tailored sales presentation is essential to capture their interest and demonstrate your value.
A prospect will rarely be ready to buy immediately after your pitch. They’ll most likely have some questions which you’ll need to answer.
When it comes to objection handling, the prospect is always right! If you flat-out disagree with a prospect’s objection, they’ll hang up. Instead, listen to what they have to say and reposition your offer in a way which answers their question. Chances are they’ve not heard the right information yet.
Over time, you’ll become skilled in handling objections effectively and providing satisfactory responses. Until then, listen to the sales objection, acknowledge it with empathy, and propose a reasonable solution. This way, you’ll build trust with your prospect leading to a closed deal and a lifelong customer relationship.
The closing stage of the B2B sales process should be the most exciting part of your prospect’s customer journey. You’ve demonstrated the value of your product, handled all of their cold call objections, and convinced them that your solution is an investment that can’t be passed up on!
As a sales professional, you must employ effective closing techniques to secure the sale. This may involve negotiating terms, finalising contracts, and ensuring a smooth transition from prospect to customer. Discuss prices and negotiate if necessary. Offering free added value to the deal can help get it over the line.
Also, be sure to discuss the remaining steps before the call ends, including speaking about all the stakeholders that need to sign off on the deal. This will ensure that there are no surprising bumps along the way; now, the signed contract will be in sight!
After the sales call, send your customer a follow-up email. Due to the number of people that are usually involved in signing a B2B purchase, you have to leave a good impression!
Keep it professional and provide next steps. Include a summary or (even better!) a recording of your conversation and any additional helpful information. Leaving the conversation on a positive note will open the door for repeat sales and upsells.
Plus, if you continue working with the new client, you’ll get your new working relationship off to a great start.
Closing the sale is just the beginning! Now that your target customer has become a client, there’s just one sales process step left:
Check in with them to see how they’re doing.
Building long-term relationships with customers is essential for repeat business and referrals. The sales team should engage in post-sale follow-up activities, ensuring customer satisfaction, addressing concerns, and providing ongoing support. This helps in nurturing customer loyalty and maximising customer lifetime value.
You can gain great feedback from this step, but if they’ve been enjoying the product, you can ask for a case study or referral. This gives you a great new lead to restart the B2B prospecting process!
You can use a tailored email signature to gain this feedback quickly. Just add a CTA that links to a customer feedback form.
💡Tip! Remember to measure your lead generation costs and the lead-to-sales rate at the end of each quarter. It will help you identify the most effective sales channels.
Improving your current sales process is as easy as implementing a winning sales strategy. Here are a few selling techniques for better sales process management:
To outperform sales targets and improve the customer experience throughout your sales cycle, it’s essential to develop a winning sales strategy tailored to your business. Here are some key steps to follow:
A well-defined B2B sales process is vital for businesses to drive revenue, improve customer relationships, and achieve long-term success. You can skyrocket your revenue by understanding how to manage the sales pipeline and implementing strategies to optimise each step.
Additionally, leveraging tech like lead generation tools, investing in sales training and development, and measuring sales performance through KPIs are critical elements for continuous improvement and success in today’s competitive B2B market.
The sales process is a structured approach that organisations follow to convert potential clients into paying clients. It involves a series of steps and activities designed to identify, engage, and persuade prospects to purchase a product or service.
A well-defined sales process provides clarity and direction to the sales team, ensures consistency and standardisation and enables effective sales management. It also facilitates continuous improvement based on real data and insights.
The key stages of the sales process include prospecting and lead generation, qualifying leads, needs assessment and solution presentation, handling objections, closing the sale, and post-sale follow-up and customer retention.
Technology enhances the sales process through CRM systems for efficient sales management, automation tools for streamlining sales tasks, and analytics and reporting tools for data-driven decision-making.
Strategies for measuring sales performance include defining, tracking and analysing lead generation metrics and identifying areas for improvement through regular performance reviews and feedback.
Take the frustration out of your funnel and choose Cognism for compliant, quality contact data. Start making every month your best month. Book your demo today!
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