This is the final post of a three-part blog series written by Datanyze’s managing director of outbound sales, Jason Vargas. Part one of the series covers data-driven sales success, and part two walks you through how to reverse-engineer your sales funnel. Enjoy!
There are many stages to consider when developing a sales cycle from outreach to close. Below is an example of a step-by-step sales process I have drafted up based on numerous conversations I had with PunchTab’s VP of Sales, Scott Hughes. Feel free to mold, adapt and evolve this framework to best fit your situation.
Step 1: Initial Qualification Stage — 5%
The first step focuses on your first call or meeting with a prospect. In this stage, you should seek to understand whether or not an opportunity is viable for this account. Here are a few ideas to consider and what you should be looking for:
- Basic discovery
- Establish interest – is there a real project here?
- Identify a need or pain point
- Establish timeline, budget and urgency
- Understand your prospect’s role in the company — are they an influencer?
- Identify your prospect’s high level goals
Step 2: Deeper Discovery & Education — 15%
At this stage, you’re digging deeper and gathering more information on your prospect, while educating them on the benefits and value of your offering. Here are a few things you should be thinking about:
- Deeper discovery and needs assessment with a focus on core business objectives
- Discuss and understand use case
- Discuss and understand evaluation process
- Identify business and technology evaluators
- Introductory presentation and product demo
- Functional fit assessment
- Competitive positioning
- First pricing/budget discussion and validation
In many situations, these first two stages can be merged into one or be accomplished at the same time with sales development reps. This primarily depends on your hiring budget and/or how complex your product is to sell.
Step 3: Solutioning & Vetting — 30%
At this point, your prospect is testing the product out a little more, and you’re starting to get access to the people with the ability to sign off on the deal. Key tenets of this stage include:
- Technical review and vetting of the platform
- Backend demo (if applicable for your offering)
- Performance, architecture and security audit
- Trial license
- ROI discussion
- First meeting with executive sponsors
Step 4: Proposal & Negotiation — 50%
You’ve successfully generated a strong interest for your product from your prospect and his executive sponsor team. Now, it’s time to handle any push backs or additional requests. Here’s what to consider at this stage:
- Review proposal and make sure all costs are justified
- ‘Give-to-get’ — e.g. discount or payment terms in exchange for case study or end of quarter close
- Understand company procurement process
- Understand company budget thresholds and signature authorities
- Ensure that line of business, technology and financial buyers are all aligned
- Complete Statement Of Work (SOW) and send contract
Step 5: Legal Review — 75%
Pay attention here — this is a very crucial step, and one with the potential to hold up a deal. You must understand how your prospect’s legal review process works, and who needs to be involved. Here’s are the important items:
- Line up legal teams
- Validate SOW
- Understand signature workflow — how long it takes, what approvals are needed and who will be signing off.
- Revise closing plan
Step 6: Final Approval — 90%
If you’ve done your job throughout the last stage, then you should have an easier time in pushing the deal through this final stage. Here are a few remaining items to consider before the deal is closed:
- Know who signs first and schedules of signers (consider vacation schedules, travel etc.)
- Agree to signature date with executive sponsor
- Coordinate implementation schedules with technical team
About the AuthorFollow on Twitter More Content by Jason Vargas