Sales Process: The Ultimate Guide To Closing More Deals

Priya Naha

Senior Writer:

green tickReading Time: 11 Minutes
green tickPublished : September 24, 2022

Summary: A sales process is a series of repetitive steps taken by a sales team to move a prospect from an early stage lead to a closed customer. Learn more about the sales process, reasons for building a sales process, the steps of a selling process, ways to improve the selling process, ways to create a sales process flowchart, and more with us! 

“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.” 

-W. Edwards Deming

A sales process is one of the most crucial things to close a deal and improve conversion rates. So if you want an in-depth understanding of the sales process, you’ve come to the right place.

This blog will discuss the sales process, reasons for building a sales process, the steps of a selling process, ways to improve the sales process, and ways to create a sales process. We’ll also learn about the sales process flowchart, the difference between the sales process and methodology, some common mistakes teams make during the sales process, and some fine examples.

What is Sales Process?

What is a Sales Process?Source

A sales process is a stream of repetitive steps a sales team takes to move a possibility from an early-stageD lead to a loyal closed customer. A vital sales process helps sales reps close deals consistently by giving them a framework to follow. 

Why it’s Important to Build a Sales Process?

Why Build a Sales Process?Source

You need to build a sales process to guide your sales team on their journey to turn prospects into closed customers. Without an excellent guide to the selling process, your marketing team’s efforts in lead generation will go to waste. 

If you have a standardized sales process, it’ll be helpful to the less experienced representatives to speed up with the best practices and learn what to do at different stages of a sales process.

You earn more by building a proper sales process. With a common framework of the selling process, your sales team can have a more efficient and practical roadmap to close deals.

You should now consider the 7 steps a sales process follows. Let’s take a look.

7 Step to Build a Sales Process

7 steps of a Sales ProcessSource

The 7 steps of a sales process are:

Step 1: Prospect


It is the process of sourcing early-stage and new leads to begin working on the sales process. It is an essential part of the selling process and also a part of most representatives’ daily or weekly workflow. 

The process of prospecting may require online research on sites like Quora or LinkedIn. Prospecting may also take place at industry events or conferences. Moreover, you can also prospect by asking colleagues or clients to refer individuals who might be interested in your products or services.

By the way, Quora, LinkedIn, and other sites as such are great options to engage with your prospects through content. If your company finds a post that resonates with your brand or contrasts with your brand’s values, you can voice your opinion respectfully. It helps build familiarity with your prospect, and they will likely engage with you later.

Step 2: Connect and Qualify Leads

Connect and Qualify Leads

The connect step of the selling process includes representatives initiating contact with the new or early-staged leads to collect information. 

The second part of this step is to qualify the new leads by deciding whether they are an excellent fit lead for the business or not!

A sales rep can identify qualified leads over a “discovery” or “connect” and at times via email by asking qualifying questions like:

  • What problem are you trying to solve?
  • What is your role within your company?
  • What other solutions are you evaluating?
  • Why is this a top priority for your business?
  • What do you do day-to-day?

The qualifying leads do not have to be complicated. A simple qualification process can give your representatives a fair idea of whether a product will be a good fit for the services and products you sell.

Step 3: Research the Company

Research the CompanySource

The next step is research. Here, the representatives learn more about potential leads and the company.With adequate research, your representatives can put themselves in your customers’ shoes to offer a customized and tailored experience that improves the likelihood of closing a deal. 

The essential part of this stage is understanding each potential lead’s challenges and needs to establish your product and service as a solution.  It is better if your team’s representative speaks with other people at the company in different departments to get a complete view of the business and its objectives.The mark of a good salesperson is that he understands the company better than the individual prospect working there.

A tip: Naturally, every employee involved in the entire sales process will agree on what the top-notch priorities are for business. Strategically customizing your questions will help you pull the actual answers from every person you communicate with! Once that’s done, analyze your received responses and look for themes. Then, position your service or product to match those themes. 

Step 4: Give an Effective Pitch

Give an Effective PitchSource

The presentation step is where the salesperson runs a standard service or product demonstration for your prospect. It is a time-consuming process, so it comes later in the sales process and is kept for more qualified chances-this is why the connecting and qualifying step is critical.

Customize each presentation to meet the specific use case and pain points of every prospect. A representative may also bring an executive or engineer to the meeting to demonstrate the level of service the customer will receive while doing business with the company. Again, it helps as they can answer the technical questions the representative might not be best suited to answer.

Step 5: Handle Objections 

Handle ObjectionsSource

It’s not uncommon for potential customers to have objections to your salesperson’s proposal and presentation. It is always expected, so there’s a specific step in the sales process. Your sales team must be prepared to handle objections tactfully. 

Listening to your potential customers can help your representatives customize the product to fit their needs better. 

Through the research and presentation preparation, representatives must anticipate and identify possible objections about onboarding, cost, or other parts of the proposed contract.

Objections aren’t a waste of time. Rather than countering the objection, the sales process representative must find out why they are hesitant. It will help to frame the solution in the proper context.

Step 6: Close the Deal

Close the DealSource

It refers to the late-stage activities that happen as a deal approaches closing. It varies from company to company and includes:

  • Delivering a proposal or quote.
  • Negotiating.
  • Achieving the decision maker’s buy-in.

Closing a sale is the ultimate aim of every salesperson. It must result in a mutually contractual, beneficial agreement between the prospect and the seller. Once the deal closes, the salesperson receives a commission on the price negotiated with the customer. The account then passes to a customer success representative or an account manager. 

Step 7: Nurture and Continue to Sell 

Nurture and Continue to SellSource

Though closing deals is the ultimate goal of a selling process, it is not where the sales representatives stop working with the customers. The representatives must confirm that customers receive what they purchased, and they should also transition consumers to the team responsible for onboarding and customer success

In the final step of the sales process, representatives must continue to communicate and reinforce value to customers. It can also provide opportunities to upsell, cross-sell, and opportunities to get secure referrals from happy customers.

At the beginning of the selling process, mention the customer service representatives to help your client onboard after the deal closes. The transition will feel less abrupt if they know at least the team’s name.

Now, let’s understand how you can improve the sales process.

5 Steps To Improving Your Sales Process

The below steps will help you improve the impact of your selling process across your team members and customer base: 

1. Analyze your Current Sales Process

 Analyze your Current Sales Process

You need to consider what is and isn’t working for your sales representatives to customize your process to fit their needs better, as it’ll help close more deals and delight customers.

One way you can analyze your effective sales process is by observing representatives as they work through the process. For example, look at the last ten or twelve deals you’ve closed. What do these deals look like from the beginning to the end? What were the touchpoints with the customer? Consider the time of the entire process and the time elapsed in every step. The more examples you have, the better. 

Once you know the timeline, work back and try understanding the time frame of every deal. For example, if six of those twelve deals closed in approximately six weeks, look at the intermediate steps.

Working backward will have the following steps:

  • One week of consideration before a signed contract 
  • Three-to-five follow-up emails and phone calls 
  • One demo
  • One phone call and two-three emails
  • One discovery call 
  • Three phone calls and one-two warm email to potential lead 

You can also understand the subtle pain points and motivations that led each deal to close.

2. Outline the Buyer’s Journey for your Target Persona

Outline the Buyer’s Journey for your Target Persona

You must outline the buyer’s journey for your buyer personas or target audience. It will help you to look at the selling process from the customers’ perspective. You’ll better understand their interactions with your salespeople, their pain points, and why they need your product. 

Outlining the buyer’s journey for your target audience helps you understand how to customize your defined sales process to ensure that your team has everything they need to build strong relationships with potential leads and close more deals.

3. Define The Prospect Action that Moves Them to the Next Stage

You need to understand what causes a potential lead to move from one stage to the next in your sales process. The reason will be based on the prospect’s actions and not the sales representatives’ perception.

  • While conducting a warm outreach, did the representative hit on a specific pain point that motivated the potential client to schedule a discovery call?
  • During the demo, were there objections that stalled the deal, or were there features that moved it forward?
  • When a representative made a pitch, was the answer an immediate yes from the customer? If so, consider carefully what the reason behind it is. How did the representative build up to the pitch?

4. Define Exit Criteria for Each Step of the Sales Process

Define Exit Criteria for Each Step of the Sales Process

It would help if you defined your team’s exit criteria for each step of the sales process. It means you need to identify the things that need to happen for your potential clients to move from one stage to the following stage of the sales process.

When determining the exit criteria for each selling process step, you need to consider the following questions to ensure that all the representatives have the same information. In addition, it will help all your potential leads with professional, positive, and on-brand information.

  • What information should representatives know about your brand, what they’re selling, and your sales process steps before getting in contact with a potential client?
  • What actions should your representatives take throughout each step of the sales process?
  • What should your representatives say throughout each step of the selling process? Make sure your representatives know the multiple ways a conversation could go and that they know how to manage all of the software.
  • What specific types of content should your representatives show your potential leads during different steps of the sales process? This is especially crucial in the “presenting” stage, where your representatives might need to provide your prospects with testimonials, blogs, videos, or case studies to move that potential lead to close.

5. Measure Your Sales Process Results

Your selling process will evolve as your team will find ways to work efficiently and move potential leads to your pipeline faster. As you define and improve your sales process steps, you’ll want to measure your success to ensure that it successfully coordinates with the team efforts and reaches the target audience.

Some metrics that you need to consider for the different steps of your process are:

  • The average time prospects for each step
  • Any step that takes too long for potential leads to move out. 
  • The percentage of potential leads who close after a demo
  • The percentage of potential leads who request a demo after a discovery call
  • The churn rate 

These are some of the primary metrics that multiple teams find value in measuring. 

What is a Sales Process Flowchart?

 Sales Process FlowchartSource

A sales process flowchart is a type of flowchart that sums up the stages of a typical sales process. The sales process flowchart guides your sales team so that the customers have a consistent experience regardless of the representative they communicate with.

While complex yes/no scenarios work, you can also create a simple flowchart that shows the process from the beginning to the end:

  • Prospect
  • Qualification
  • Research
  • Pitch
  • Handle
  • Close

You’ve now understood what a sales process flowchart is but do you know the difference between sales process vs. sales methodology? Let’s find out.

What is the Difference Between Sales Process vs. Sales Methodology?

Sales Process vs. Sales MethodologySource

Sales ProcessSales Methodology 
The sales process is a series of actionable steps. It is unique to an organization that salespeople follow. Sales methodology is a broader philosophy that informs how a sales process is built and conducted.
Sales processes are shaped by factors like the target personas, the industry’s nature, the sales organization’s structure, and its market position.Sales methodologies aren’t as unique, publicly accessible, widely applicable, and available.
A sales process is a critical component of your company’s identity.Sales methodologies are a big help when creating a successful sales process

7 Common Sales Process Mistakes

 Common Sales Process MistakesSource

There’s a list of some typical sales process mistakes that every sales team makes. If you don’t want to be part of it, learn what they are! We’ll help you.

1. Leaving Sales Process Steps Open to Interpretation

Defining concrete, particular actions that move your business’s potential leads from one step to the next is crucial. If you fail to identify these triggers, your sales team will not understand what is and isn’t working for potential customers, causing them to mishandle parts of the process.

2. Expecting One Sales Methodology to be the Solution

While many teams follow one methodology, other groups study various popular sales methodologies and combine them. 

Despite your approach type, staying aware of what’s changing over time is necessary. Remember, your sales process steps are ever-changing.

3. Forgetting your Sales Process will Always be a Work in Progress

Learning never ends, and neither does a sales process! Therefore, your sales process will always be a work in progress.

So, along with measuring your progress, ensure check-ins with your representatives. It will help you uncover issues concerning your process.

Always remember that improving and developing your sales will improve your customers’ interactions and experiences with your repeat business and sales process.

4. Not Aligning your Sales Plays with your Sales Process

Aligning your sales plays and your sales process is highly crucial.

By aligning your sales process you ensure that your sales organization is efficient and effective.

5. Leaving Marketing out of the Loop

Sales and marketing are siblings! One is incomplete without the other. So, marketing needs to know what’s happening in your sales department-which; which prospects have been proven to close, which market segments have potential, and which industries are less profitable.

Aligning marketing and sales teams is essential to every organization while creating a sales process. 

6. Centering the Process on Closed Deals 

Yes, sales are about closing deals. But, providing value is of utmost importance down the line. So, even if a potential lead doesn’t seem like they want to purchase, your sales team must provide value at every step of the sales process management if your product can solve their business needs.

Center your process on providing value in every step of the sales process, not just meeting quotas and closing deals.

7. Forgetting to Measure KPIs

If you do not measure your KPIs, your sales process can quickly become ineffective. So, do not forget to measure KPIs after creating or adjusting your sales process to understand what’s working and what’s not.

Will a Sales Process Really Helps My Business?

Sales Process: An Organized Approach to Closing Sales Faster!Source

Undoubtedly, it will! Creating a strong sales process will help your sales team close deals and convert leads. In addition, it ensures your sales team provides every potential lead with a consistent experience that represents your brand.

Follow the above steps to create a top-notch sales process customized to your businesses, sales teams, and customers’ needs. As a result, you can build long-lasting relationships and boost conversions with a sales process.

Frequently Asked Questions

A sales process is important because it offers a consistent experience to every potential lead and customer, regardless of any sales stage.

To measure the performance of your sales process, the following steps are helpful:

  1. Track sales cycle length
  2. Calculate the opportunity win rate
  3. Know your potential leads to sales qualified leads ratio
  4. Monitor customer lifetime value
  5. Watch customer churn
  6. Track the opportunities that made it to the next stage

The length of a sales process cycle varies depending on the item sold. For smaller deals, the sales process takes around 3 months. And for bigger deals, a sales process takes approximately 6-9 months

You should review your sales process every four to six months.

The best practices to build a sales process are:

  1. Prospect
  2. Connect and qualify leads
  3. Research the company
  4. Give an effective pitch
  5. Handle objections
  6. Close the deal
  7. Nurture and continue to sell

To choose the right sales process, learn about the customer’s ideal solution and decision process.

Updated : November 24, 2022

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