Experienced sales teams usually have an already set sales process. Based on the changing needs of the business this process may have to undergo some fine tuning or improvement. It is important to constantly monitor and evaluate your sales process for alignment with overall objectives of your business. A new company however would need to establish a sales process from scratch. They may use an established process already being used by a similar business or create a sales process of their own. This article briefly describes the five basic steps of a B2B sales process that can be used by any company or business involved in B2B sales.
Understanding these five steps and adapting them to suit the business requirements will help establish a framework for a comprehensive and effective sales process. The five steps are as follows:
Pre-sales—This first step in the sales process involves reviewing the current activities and selling processes. These activities include those carried out from the initial contact with a customer to the final delivery of a product or service. This step allows a developing company to assess its organizational capabilities to carry out the sales process. It includes understanding and strengthening the value proposition for customers. The different channels required to sell products in the future are also determined. Planning sales governance, setting sales targets, setting up the incentive structure for the sales team, and creating the marketing assets is also done at this stage. The sales team is also trained on products as well as the sales process and negotiation to prepare for selling activities.
Profiling of Target Customers—The first step in the prospecting stage, profiling target customers and decision makers, involves identifying and benchmarking profiling criteria for prospects and for decision makers. Characteristics of ideal customers, such as annual budget, are used to benchmark the profiling criteria.
Lead Generation and Qualification—The second step in the prospecting stage, lead generation, is the act of identifying prospective customers and generating ways to gain new customers. Profiled criteria and benchmarks are used to generate better leads. Lead generation uses various offline and online techniques and can be inbound or outbound.
Needs Assessment—Conversion starts with understanding customer needs for products or services. This understanding of needs is vital in the conversion process and enables the sales team to demonstrate to the customer how their product can fulfill the customer’s requirements.
Presentation, Negotiation, and Closure—This is the final stage in the conversion cycle. The corporate sales team presents the features, benefits, and advantages of the proposed products or services that can fulfill the needs of the prospects. At this stage, prospects present their objections to the sales proposal. It is the job of the corporate sales team to overcome these objections to close the deal.