How to Achieve Sales Success through B2B Sales Process?

Writa Bhattacharjee

Senior Writer:

green tickReading Time: 9 Minutes
green tickPublished : February 16, 2023


The B2B sales or Business to Business Sales Process is very different from the B2C or Business to Consumer Sales Process. The volumes are higher, and so are the stakes for sales reps involved in the process. They can get lost in this complex and dynamic process without a roadmap.

That is where a B2B sales process becomes significant. A robust B2B sales cycle can be the foundation of selling success for a B2B company’s sales team.

But before we understand the B2B sales stages, let us look at the business-to-business sales process and why your business needs one.

What is B2B Sales Process?

B2B sales processSource

A B2B sales process is a detailed sequence of clearly defined steps to convert prospects to customers in a B2B relationship. It can also include post-sales activity.

A B2B sales process cycle acts as a guide to an organization’s salesforce. It helps them navigate the complex process of B2B sales in a systematic, repeatable, and scalable manner. It makes the B2B sales cycle more consistent and predictable for your sales team.

Based on how the leads are generated, we can divide B2B sales processes into two parts: Inbound and Outbound.

 Inbound vs. Outbound salesSource

Outbound Sales Process

In an Outbound sales process, the Seller actively looks for potential customers. The organization’s sales team pursues leads and makes efforts to convert those leads into sales. We will discuss the B2B sales stages they follow in detail in the other sections of this post.

Inbound Sales Process

 Inbound sales processSource

The Inbound sales process is from the Buyer’s point of view, where the leads themselves approach the Seller. This B2B selling process is entirely different from the Outbound sales process. It is also more economical since the Inbound sales cycle is 61% less costly.

The steps of the Inbound sales process consist of “buying jobs” or tasks that the customer or lead needs to complete. These tasks are:

  • Problem Identification

The process starts with a problem or need for the Buyer. The Buyer recognizes that there is a problem that has to be solved.

  • Solution Exploration

Having identified the problem, the Buyer looks for possible solutions. They can use various means to search, including social media, networking, organic search, or referrals.

  • Requirements Building

In this process step, the Buyer confirms the solution they need. They also work out the specific details of the solution that will apply to their problem.

 Inbound sales supplier selectionSource

  • Supplier Selection

Based on the specifications identified in the last step, the Buyer searches for appropriate vendors and compares their offerings.

  • Validation

This step is closely linked to the previous one. The Buyer looks for supporting data to validate their choice of vendor. They might use reviews, case studies, or word-of-mouth to validate their choice.

  • Consensus Creation

Once all the data is put together, the Buyer’s sales team tries to get a consensus among decision-makers regarding those decisions. They try to get the decision-makers of the organization to give the go-ahead.

Why You Should Develop a B2B Sales Process?

B2B Sales process benefitsSource

Sales, especially B2B sales, can be highly individualized. Every salesperson brings their own experience and personality into converting leads to customers over the long period the B2B sales cycle takes. However, this personal element also makes the B2B sales cycle complicated and unpredictable.

Developing a B2B sales process can take the guesswork out of B2B sales operation for your company. It can also benefit your company in other ways:

  • Breaking down the sales process into steps will allow you to evaluate what is working. You can make changes based on this evaluation.
  • Creating a B2B sales cycle will standardize selling practices. So, you will be able to implement best practices and a focused sales strategy.
  • Knowing what they are supposed to do will help new sales reps get on board faster. It can also help the existing sales team to improve their selling approach.
  • A standard set of steps also allows you to monitor your sales team’s performance more easily. You can also add interventions to bridge performance gaps more accurately.
  • Considering the process as a set of steps rather than as a whole shifts the focus from person-driven to process-driven sales. It ensures that your sales reps don’t miss out on any crucial steps.

What is A B2B Sales Process Flowchart?

B2B sales process flowchartSource

A B2B Sales Process Flowchart is a diagram of a company’s B2B sale process. It depicts the organization’s sales process steps as a visual. Each step in the flowchart is presented as an action or decision and has a “yes/no” component. Based on the answer, the chart guides the salesperson to the appropriate action.

For example, one step might be “Has the lead responded with specific requirements?” If the answer is “yes,” then the salesperson might proceed to confirm whether their company sells products with those specifications. If the answer is “no,” they might go to the step of reaching out to the lead to clarify.

8 Stages of B2B Sales Cycle

 B2B sales process stagesSource

The exact set of steps that an organization takes to convert leads to customers depends on the company’s nature, products, policies, etc. However, a basic flow to the sales process underlies any company’s sales process. There are eight steps in this fundamental B2B sales cycle. These steps are:

1. Lead Generation

 Lead GenerationSource

A “lead” in sales refers to a prospective customer who might be interested in your company’s products. Generating leads involves obtaining viable leads from various sources. It is a challenging step, and over 40% of salespeople consider it the most difficult part of the process.

Despite the difficulty, it is a crucial step in a successful sales process, as the generated leads are the basis of future sales. The better your leads are, the greater the probability of converting them into customers.

There are many sources for generating or prospecting leads. You can use your social media networks, referrals from existing clients, conferences and industry events, advertisements, and other marketing tactics. You can also use B2C lead generation software or platforms that give you access to data and tools to prospect leads quickly.

2. Discovery 

Discovery callsSource

A key aspect of successful B2B sales is adaptive selling, which requires sales reps to provide solutions rather than products. Adaptive selling involves understanding the prospect’s business, goals, and requirements. Sales reps can only discover if they have a solution for the prospect’s pain points by understanding these things.

There are several ways you can research your prospect before you approach them:

  • You can go through the prospect’s company’s website(s) and find out what they do and how they do it. Any financial information or the latest news articles also give you a clue about their requirements. You can also read their blog to understand them better. You can pick up language or terms they use that you can use when you approach them.
  • You can network with the prospect via sites like LinkedIn. Their posts, comments, follows, articles, etc., can give you a good indication of their preferences. You can also use the information from these insights to develop a rapport when you finally approach them.
  • You can also read up on your prospect’s sector or industry. You can learn about the industry they function in using industry reports or news articles. You might also discover the environmental factors affecting your prospect’s business, which will help you hone your pitch and solution.

Technology can help you collate and make sense of the information you gather on your prospects. The more you know about them when you make initial contact, the higher your chances of success.

3. Qualification 

 Lead QualificationSource

The next step is to make initial contact with the prospect and determine their viability as potential customers. You can ask them qualifying questions about their business and use a lead scoring system to do so. Lead scoring refers to the process of allocating points to various attributes of prospects to decide which lead is more promising.

Qualifying questions are typically open-ended questions about their business, budget, spending, plans, recent changes, problems, previously attempted solutions, etc. This step aims to decide if you can resolve their pain points and if they might be willing to work with you. Unless both answers are “yes,” you can move on to the next lead.

4. Pitch

 Sales PitchSource

Pitching your product can be a crucial part of the sales process that makes or breaks the deal. Your pitch will convince your prospect that you can provide the solution they need.

There are as many styles of giving a sales pitch as there are salespersons, as this is a highly personalized step. However, here are a few tips to help you prepare a good pitch:

  • KISS – Keep it short and simple. Don’t overexplain, and don’t talk for a long time. Touch on the key points only.
  • What’s In It For Them – Focus on how your product can solve problems rather than on the detailed features. If they are interested, they will ask for details.
  • Arouse curiosity – Mention features and information that will make the prospect curious to know more. They should have questions for you after your presentation.
  • Show the Research – Let your research from the previous steps show through in your pitch. It will tell the prospect that you are genuinely interested in working with them.

An initial sales pitch might need to be followed by more detailed discussions or product demos. 

5. Objection handling 

This step in the B2B sales process is critical but underrated. It is likelier than not that your prospect won’t agree to buy from you immediately. They will have questions and objections. How you handle those will determine whether you can convince your prospect to sign.

A key tactic in objection handling is never to negate the prospect’s concerns. Saying they are wrong can make them decide to leave the discussion. Instead, understand their concern, acknowledge it, and provide them with information to clarify their doubts. Or work together to find a solution.

Over time, you will learn to anticipate objections and be ready with solutions. You can also use technology to collate objections and answers to turn this step into a learning process.

6. Closing 

Closing dealsSource

Closing deals is the step that most salespersons await eagerly. After convincing the prospect of the value of your product and answering all their objections, they are finally ready to invest.

At this stage of your sales efforts, you will likely negotiate and finalize prices and terms. Throwing in value-adds or freebies is an excellent way to demonstrate your goodwill. 

It is essential to be transparent with the prospect about any conditions, stakeholders who need to sign off, or potential obstacles. Being clear about these details will avoid unpleasant surprises in the future. If the customer feels cheated or misled, they may not give you repeat sales.

7. Follow up 

After the sale, it is good to follow up by mail, phone, or in person. Doing so can create a positive impression about your organization and you. 

In the follow-up call, you can be professional but sincere. You can add information about future steps and offer to help if it is within your prerogative. A positive interaction can pave the way for continued and future business. 

It is essential to refrain from using the follow-up as a platform to pitch other company products. Such an approach can turn the customer against your organization in future transactions.

A sales email signature is a smart way to show professionalism. In addition, if it links to something “extra” like a product brochure or a demo video (or something else helpful), it is an excellent addition to your own sales process.

8. Check-in

This is another critical post-sales step that shows the customer that you are sincere in your relationship-building. 

You can reach out to them after they’ve been using your product to get their feedback. Their feedback can help you improve your product, sales strategy, and pitch. 

Alternatively, it can be a testimonial for your product. If the customer is happy, you can ask them for a referral or case study. They could even give you more leads for the future.

You can easily get this feedback from your client by customizing a sales email signature. The signature can contain a link to a customer feedback form. You can do this easily by using an email signature generator.

Why Does the B2B Sales Process Take So Long?

B2B sales lengthSource

The B2B sales process is time-consuming because of its very nature. On average, 75% of companies’ B2B sales process steps can take up to four months from beginning to end.

The volumes involved are high, and multiple stakeholders are involved in the buying process. The Buyer wants to reduce risk, so they take time to assess and mitigate risks. They research their options and your claims thoroughly before making a decision. All these actions take time.

On the Seller’s part, too, several steps require an investment of time. For instance, researching prospects or helping them understand how to implement your proposed solutions can take a while.


Now that you have understood the B2B sales process steps and their complexity, you might consider adopting SaaS sales solutions to help with it. Various programs can help you organize, track, and improve your B2B selling process. Adopting such SaaS Software solutions to develop your sales funnel can take you toward a successful sales process!

B2B sales process FAQ's

You can improve your B2B sales process by creating a B2B sales process flowchart for your sales team and adopting technology to manage the sales process. Both these steps will streamline your B2B sales process from end to end. They will help you to generate more leads, pursue these prospects successfully, and manage post-sales operations smoothly.

There are eight phases or steps in the B2B sales process. They are:

  1. Lead Generation
  2. Discovery
  3. Qualification
  4. Pitch
  5. Objection handling
  6. Closing
  7. Follow up
  8. Check-in

There are many examples of B2B sales processes. A typical example is B2B SaaS companies that provide software services to other companies. Or auto ancillary manufacturing companies that make parts for vehicles. Even FMCG companies that sell only through retailers are examples of B2B sales processes.

Developing a B2B sales process will make your B2B selling process more systematic, focused, and efficient. It will allow all your sales reps to take the same proven steps to generate leads and convert them into paying customers.

Updated : February 17, 2023

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