What Is a Sales Cycle?
Learn about what a sales cycle is with Nozak Consulting.
A sales cycle is a framework from which steps are taken to turn leads into customers, and then generate more leads. It is a cycle of behavior and steps taken by a company to ensure that its leads become customers. The final goal is not just to make a sale, but to generate more potential customers.
If done right, a sales cycle creates a self-sustaining loop. Of course, additional marketing efforts are made to continue to draw in more leads in order to increase overall revenue and lead generation. Everything works together in a perfect business ecosystem.
Definition of the Sales Cycle
A sales cycle is simply a step-by-step progression that details how a lead is turned into a customer. To gain a better understanding, let’s break down each of the seven steps of a sales cycle.
1. Getting Leads
In order for the sales cycle to begin, we start with leads.
Leads are potential customers that are drawn to a business or website. Gathering leads is difficult unless a company can grasp what customers are interested in and who they are most attractive to.
Once this information is in hand, tailored marketing approaches are used to generate more leads. This simply means drawing visitors to a business or website so that they can be exposed to what the company offers and thus begin the sales cycle.
2. Contacting Leads
Once you know who your prospective clients or customers are, a company can make efforts to reach out to them. In a traditional sense, this was once done by calling them, or by having a salesperson visit with them.
In the digital world, there are a couple of other ways to contact a lead.
Emailing people is a great way to make contact, as is social media engagement. Cold calling is also a method that has been used, but a lot of the business strategy will depend on what type of industry it is, and what is common in that industry.
3. Qualifying Leads
One of the most important pieces of information a business can get is whether or not a lead is interested in their products or services. This can mean making sure they have the intent to purchase, or making sure they have the budget to purchase.
Whatever criteria you use, qualifying leads is a great way to categorize which leads need more time and consideration and which leads are ready for the sales funnel. You can also use this time to find out how and why they are interested in your products.
4. Presenting Products
Once a lead has been qualified and is interested in making a purchase, you can move on to showing them your product or services. This can be done in a number of ways, from old-fashioned in-person demonstrations to more modern website-based approaches.
You want the customer to see and understand what is unique and different about your product and why it can help them. This information you deliver can also be bolstered by content that is on your website, allowing the potential customer a chance to research for themselves.
No matter how you present your product or service, make sure it is done in the most efficient manner possible. A sales pitch needs to be well thought out, rehearsed, and consistent. Cut out any fluff, and only show or tell them what they need to know.
5. Listen to Potential Customers
Once you’ve reached this point, a potential customer is a long way down the cycle. They are qualified, have seen what you offer, and want to make a purchase. Here is where you can speak to them and address any concerns they may have.
The more information you can give them to reassure them of any concerns, the more likely they are to take the final step. Some leads won’t need this step, they will be confident and ready to make the purchase, but others will take this time to double-check
6. Closing the Deal
Now that you’ve answered any questions, the final step in making the sale is to make the sale. To close the deal means that the lead becomes a customer and purchases the product or service they are interested in. Which sales technique you use should be based on best practices of the industry you are in.
It all comes down to making a request, or in other words, asking the customer to buy your product. This can be done via a personal discussion with a salesperson, or it can be done via a website or online interaction. No matter how you do it, make sure to be professional and courteous.
7. Get More Leads
A satisfied customer is among the very best resources available to any business. They will not only spread the word about your products and services via word of mouth, but they can also generate more leads. Ask them who they know who would be interested in or need your products or services.
This type of connection is made easier by having good customer service and high-quality interactions. A customer that continues to have good relations with a brand will be loyal and more likely to advocate for that brand or company.
Why Use a Sales Cycle?
The power behind the sales cycle is that it introduces consistency into the process. Everything becomes practiced and consistent, which allows you to judge what works and what doesn’t. In turn, you can then remove anything which delays a sale, and focus on what is more important.
This is why collecting data from each step of the process is so important. You will have the opportunity to streamline every aspect of the sales process as the cycle becomes more comfortable.
Sales Cycle Management
Proper sales cycle management is focused on reducing the lag between generating a lead and making a sale. Sales cycle management is also about developing tactics to use at each level of the sales cycle and also analyzing any data captured at those various steps.
Sales Cycle and Business
If done right, implementing a sales cycle will improve how a business interacts with potential customers and clients. It reduces the amount of wasted time and productivity lost so that a business can grow faster and with fewer complications.
Don’t let your competitors get away with having an advantage. Use of a sales cycle and proper sales cycle management can be what separates those who are successful from those who fail to make it. The faster you turn a lead into a sale, the quicker you generate new leads and make more sales.