Curious about the B2B sales cycle? If you understand the cycle, you can meet a potential customer at his stage and lead him through closing. If not, you may supply your potential customer with information and material he’s not ready for.
That often translates to a downtick of your bottom line. If you’d like to avoid this downtick and learn all about the stages of the B2B sales cycle, read on.
Basic Overview of the B2B Sales Cycle
It’s difficult to understand algebra if you don’t know your multiplication tables. It’s impossible to understand calculus unless you understand algebra. Each stage of mathematics lays the groundwork for the next stage.
This framework style, each stage laying the fundamental groundwork for the next, occurs in a multitude of disciplines. In none other is it more apparent than in sales. It provides a template for business owners like you to glimpse the landscape of your customer’s mental processes.
This is all about lead generation. It’s the process of tracking down sales-qualified leads. Preferably, these are folks who have said they’re interested in your products.
The key to any great salesman isn’t just knowing the features of his product. It’s also knowing what drives his customers.
These are called pain points. They are the problems in your customers’ lives which they need to solve.
During the discovery phase, you do your research. You hang out where your potential customers hang out online—blogs, social media sites, etc. Once there, you hunt down the pain points that everyone is griping about.
The next step in your marketing funnel is to assess your prospect’s suitability as a customer. Sure, you already know they’re interested in your product. Yes, you now understand which pain point is driving that customer to your doorstep.
The question isn’t whether you’re a good fit for your customer. It’s whether they’re a good fit for you.
Otherwise known as the “sales pitch,” this is one of the most important sales stages. If you don’t do it correctly, or you do it too early, you’ll scare off your customer.
Be charismatic. Be charming. And above all, keep your pitch to 30 seconds or less.
- Overcoming objections
Remember step two? When you research your potential customers, you’ll discover all the reasons they might refuse your product. It’s your job during that stage to discover their arguments and create counterarguments.
This is the stage where you dust off those counterarguments. Use them to guide customers down off the fence on the side of “yes.”
Now it’s time for the ask. What precisely do you want your customer to do? Would you like them to push a big red button, sign up for a year-long subscription, or what?
Finally, check back in with your customer within the first week after the sale. Then check in with them every three or six months. It perpetuates your relationship, builds trust, and reminds them what a great product you’ve created.
Then they’re more likely to come to you next time they have a problem. After this step, the cycle repeats, starting with step one.
Salesmen have been performing these steps since the advent of the brick-and-mortar store. Unfortunately, many successful business owners who’ve been using these steps for decades draw a blank when they’re confronted with digital marketing.
That’s why it’s become common to outsource digital marketing to companies offering VAR marketing services. The goal is to give the reigns to someone who’s an expert in not only the sales process but also the digital marketing channels.
Now that you understand the B2B sales cycle, it’s time to practice. Focus on the steps which you’ve practiced least. For most folks, that’s steps one thru three.
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