Steps in the sales process
The first step in the sales process is the search for new customers. A list of companies matching a use case is created. The shortlisted companies will have a potential challenge that can be solved by using the product. The ideal buyer from these companies is identified. An internal champion—not necessarily the decision maker—is contacted to establish a relationship with the company. The first touch point of conversation could be via a cold email or a cold call.
Qualification / Assessing needs
At this stage, the sales executive initiates a discovery call with the prospect to identify their challenges and pain points. They try and understand if the product can solve the prospect’s challenges. Sales executives explain to the prospect the features of the product that are relevant to their use case, focusing on how it could increase productivity and revenue.
Once qualified, the prospect has a potential customer status. The salesperson can then engage them in a Proof of Concept (POC). The POC intends to provide the prospect with an understanding of how the product can help them overcome their challenges. It is also an opportunity for the prospect to experiment with the product, using a free trial account for a limited period. The premium features of the product may be offered to the customer to help them evaluate the product as a whole.
Tackling objections is an invariant part of the sales cycle. Buyers are hesitant to agree to a product without much protest and need convincing. Based on their usage of the product, prospects can come back with various objections ranging from concerns over privacy to the pricing of the product. Though objections are a challenge, it can be an indicator of the prospect’s interest in the product. By successfully negotiating the objections, the prospect is convinced of the value of the product and be willing to invest in it.
Closer to the finish line, this stage includes activities like negotiations, the signing of final contracts, SLAs, implementation, customer success, support, and pricing. The two businesses discuss the terms of the partnership, and in some cases, the legal teams from both sides have a chat. Cue a happy dance from the sales team because the prospect is now a customer.
Customer success, though rarely done, is the underrated part of a sales process. However, nurturing a customer post-sale could ensure a decrease in churn. With exceptional customer support, the client may return to purchase a higher plan or even refer the product to a few businesses.