B2B Sales Cycle covers the sales journey of a customer right from their entrance as an audience to the conversion phase. Are you interested in building a B2B sales cycle for your B2B business? Not sure how a sales cycle will benefit your business? Are you looking for the various stages of a B2B sales cycle? If so, you have arrived at the right place.
This article aims to help you understand what a B2B sales cycle is, why you need one, and the various stages of a B2B sales cycle.
What Is a B2B Sales Cycle?
A B2B sales cycle refers to the combination of various stages that helps the conversion of prospect to client. The B2B sales cycle helps sales representatives to qualify leads further into every stage of the sales cycle, until the last stage.
In the B2B sales cycle, the process takes place between two businesses and requires efforts from both sides to make it successful. The main goal of the B2B sales cycle is to close more sales deals with quality prospects. The very initial step towards fulfilling the goal is mapping up a sales process.
Why Do You Need One?
Let’s now discuss why a business needs to have a B2B sales cycle. Sales cycles are considered one of the proven ways to close more sales deals. A sales cycle plays a vital role in helping businesses with the following:
- Helps businesses identify and make efforts to promote sales at the earliest.
- A targeted sales cycle allows new sales representatives to maintain a rigid workflow. It also helps them to learn the company’s sales framework quickly.
- Helps analyze areas that need improvement and take measures accordingly.
- Having a structured B2B sales cycle can help eliminate ambiguities and make sure that the sales representatives do not overlook essential steps that need to be taken.
- Helps businesses conduct a competitive assessment and evaluate sales performance based on industry standards.
- The B2B sales process can help sales representatives and sales managers to gain visibility in the sales process. This allows them to plan their sales strategies accordingly.
- Breaking down the B2B sales cycle process into shorter stages can help the sales managers identify blockers quickly and take effective actions to resolve them.
The 7 Stages of a B2B Sales Cycle
The 7 stages of a B2B sales cycle are as follows:
- Stage 1: Lead generation and prospecting
- Stage 2: Research
- Stage 3: Lead qualification
- Stage 4: Sales pitch
- Stage 5: Handling opposition and objections
- Stage 6: Closing the sales deal
- Stage 7: Follow-up
Let’s dive into the details.
STAGE 1: LEAD GENERATION AND PROSPECTING
The very first stage of the B2B sales cycle is a lead generation and prospecting. At this stage, businesses make efforts to identify their potential clients who are currently at the evaluation stage in their purchase journey. It is essential to identify clients who will more likely be interested in purchasing your product or service.
Here are some of the platforms you can consider for lead generation and prospecting.
- A strong community on social media, such as LinkedIn or Facebook.
- Inbound and organic marketing activities.
- Attending events related to your industry and interacting with entrepreneurs and founders in person.
STAGE 2: RESEARCH
Apart from a sales representative being aware of the products and services, it is essential to be aware of your prospects to influence their buyer’s journey. Businesses are required to research the prospects and their companies and find their struggles, challenges, and pain points, so they can offer the solution the prospects are looking for.
Here are some of the ways to gather information about your potential prospects.
- Look at your prospect’s website to learn more about them and their business.
- Learn about their industry by subscribing to their newsletter and social media platforms.
- Identify some of the decision-makers of your prospective clients via social media platforms.
STAGE 3: LEAD QUALIFICATION
As a growing business, it is essential to bear in mind that you should engage only quality leads. Make sure that your B2B sales cycle process is need-driven instead of product-driven. Identifying the needs of your potential clients plays a vital role as it helps to match them with your service or product to understand how you can help them solve their problems and challenges.
Some questions that can help you accelerate the lead qualification process are as follows:
- What are the goals you want to achieve in your current financial sector?
- Challenges faced with your current vendor?
- Blockers you want to remove to fulfill your goals?
- Is your business looking for an alternative vendor?
STAGE 4: SALES PITCH
The next stage of the B2B sales cycle is to craft a sales pitch. After the lead qualification stage has been completed, the sales representative is well aware of the prospect’s struggles, challenges, intentions, and how your business can help the prospects.
Sales representatives are required to focus on crafting a tailored pitch. Make sure the sales pitch is convincing and attractive enough to the prospect. It should also be short, informative, and must have a lot of research insights related to the prospect.
STAGE 5: HANDLING OPPOSITION AND OBJECTIONS
Handling opposition and objections is a part of the B2B sales cycle. It is very common for a prospect to raise objections for various reasons, such as requesting additional features, value addition, and pricing.
A sales representative is required to face opposition with a positive approach and has the mindset to convert objections into motivations to purchase the service or product. It is essential for sales representatives to be aware of these objections and handle these with the right approach during the process.
STAGE 6: CLOSING THE SALES DEAL
This is the most exciting stage of the B2B sales cycle, closing the sales deal with prospective clients. By this stage, you and the prospect would have overcome all opposition, objections, and other struggles. The only step left is to sign the sales contracts and close the deal with them.
STAGE 7: FOLLOW-UP
Last, but not least, the last stage of the B2B sales cycle is to follow up. After the potential clients have signed the contract and after you have closed a sales deal with them, it is essential for your sales team to have a follow-up with the clients on a regular basis. Regular follow-up is very much required to retain existing and newly acquired clients. You also have the opportunity to sell your newly developed services or products to them, if they fit into your target market.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What are the 7 stages of the B2B sales cycle?
The 7 stages of a B2B sales cycle are as follows:
Stage 1:Lead generation and Prospecting
Stage 2: Research
Stage 3: Lead qualification
Stage 4: Sales pitch
Stage 5: Handling opposition and objections
Stage 6: Closing the sales deal
Stage 7: Follow-up
2. How long is a B2B sales cycle?
Generally, on an average, B2B companies take about 4 months to win a new client or buyer. But the length of the B2B sales cycle totally depends on your industry, your business, and the type of service or product you offer.
3. What is the B2B sales cycle?
A B2B sales cycle refers to the combination of various stages that helps the conversion from prospect to client. The B2B sales cycle helps the sales representatives to qualify leads further into every stage of the sales cycle, until the last stage
If you have been looking for a comprehensive guide on the various stages of a B2B sales cycle, this article should have helped you. Make sure to follow the stages we have discussed above to create an effective B2B sales cycle.
If you have been looking for services that can help you boost your sales opportunities, and take your business to the next level, reach out to learn more about our services.