Written By Dr Laide Okubena

What Is a Sales Process?

A sales process is a template for achieving sales objectives and replicating a desired level of performance by sales reps.

It lays out a repeatable cycle of steps a salesperson takes to turn an early stage lead into a new customer.

Each step in a sales process may consist of several separate selling activities.

Why Have a Sales Process?

Having a sales process makes you more money, according to research by Harvard Business Review. This is partly because it acts as a roadmap and guide for salespeople, to make sure they don’t miss a crucial step in handling a client, and partly because it helps everyone else understand quickly and easily how likely it is that you’re eventually going to close a deal. Managers can see where and why a sale has stalled, and they can see if a particular rep is having problems at one particular stage, and put a coaching program in place.

The 8 Stages of the Sales Cycle

The eight most important sales cycle stages are:

1. Preparation – know your product; spend time in your customer’s shoes; study your competitors

2. Prospecting – do outreach to find companies, families and individuals that match your ideal
customer profile

3. Research – is your product the best fit for the prospect? Do they need what you’re selling?

4. Approach – Now you know your customer, find a way to get their attention

5. Pitch/Presentation – article the unique value of your product

6. Objection Handling – answer questions and manage their objections

7. Closing – send a proposal, get signatures, and finalize the deal

8. Follow-up – nurture customers, offer up-sells, and ask for referrals.

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Preparation & Research

Salespeople need to know about their product, target customers, industry, and the unique value their brand provides. Good preparation is the foundation on which the rest of the sales process is built. Research your competitors. What can you offer that is different? Spend some time in your customer’s shoes too. What are the core problems your buyer personas usually experience? And what are the benefits of your product that can address those problems? Skim through your company’s knowledge base to learn how your colleagues solve pain points, handle objections, close deals, and generate repeat business. If you don’t have a knowledge base, talk to the top performers, and ask to shadow their sales calls.


Finding customers is one thing. Engaging the right ones is another. You can find potential customers from many sources including your CRM database, social media, industry events, and online search. Your sales and marketing teams should agree on an ideal customer profile and screen potential clients based on this benchmark. This enables your team to allocate limited resources to high-value leads. This is the stage at which you’ll need to qualify your prospects, and see whether they fit your profile. Don’t skimp on this. Most salespeople say this is the hardest part of the whole process, so this is where you need the most effort.


Now you’ve identified a potential customer. Great! But you still need to do some discovery to determine if they actually need what you’re selling. If they do, you need to decide if your company is the best fit for them. This stage of the sales cycle enables sales professionals to create tailored solutions that increase the likelihood of closing a deal.


This is the point where you get their attention. This is about identifying the correct point of contact, and finding a way to speak to them which makes them think you have something worth buying. Whether it’s offering a free sample, or posing questions that demonstrate your expertise, it’s about getting in front of someone. This stage isn’t just about getting attention, though. This is when you need to understand what makes them tick, so you know which product to actually put in front of them. Active listening, empathy, note-taking, trust-building, and following up are great skills to deploy in this stage.


This is the step in the sales cycle where you articulate the unique value your customers will experience if they purchase your product or service. You can do this by connecting their needs and wants to the corresponding features and benefits your product provides. While preparation and product knowledge play important roles in this stage, you still need to continue to put your customer first. It is a common mistake to focus too much on what you’re selling, and not enough on your buyer. You can act as a trusted advisor during this step by referring back to what you learned during Research and Approach, and listening closely to your prospect.

Objection Handling

Rejection and objections are common in sales. Any salesperson who lacks grit and the ability to roll with the punches will soon be out of the game. This is one of the most underestimated stages of the whole sales cycle. The ability to handle objections and pushback is one of the key things that allows a salesperson to reach the close of a deal. To manage objections effectively, practice empathy and regularly process the situation from the customer’s point of view.


This is usually where you finalize the sale, and all your work is reflected in your company’s top-line revenue. This step commonly involves sending a proposal or a quote covering the tailored solution you are offering. You may also need to negotiate the contract or get signatures from multiple key decision-makers in your prospect’s organization.You will need to make sure you get through the approvals process.Attempts at closing aren’t always successful. In that case, you can execute a follow-up plan, request a referral, or schedule the lead for future re-engagement.


The sales cycle does not end after the first sale. Paying customers are great candidates to be prospects for your other services. By maintaining excellent customer relationships, you can up-sell and generate repeat business more easily. Nurture customers by keeping them updated about new services, and regularly asking for feedback on how you can serve them better. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals either. You’ve earned them at this point! There may be other sales process steps you follow, but you must include these seven. They’re critical to your success

Hope you found this useful.

Question of the Day

Which one of this steps are you do you need master more or practice more on to be better in your sales?

Thanks for your attention and please enjoy your day.

Dr Laide Okubena

At Haxzzallian Software we can help you grow your business, visit our website for more info visit

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