Sales Journey: The Complete 10 Step Guide To The Sales Cycle | Sam Ardley | Skillshare

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Sales Journey: The Complete 10 Step Guide To The Sales Cycle

teacher avatar Sam Ardley, Sales and Business Development

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

12 Lessons (52m)
    • 1. Class Introduction

    • 2. The Basic Sales Cycle: Prospecting & Approach

    • 3. The Basic Sales Cycle: Qualify, Objections & Close

    • 4. My 10 Step Sales Journey

    • 5. Deeper Dive: Prospecting

    • 6. Deeper Dive: Prospect Research

    • 7. Deeper Dive: Approaching Stakeholders

    • 8. Deeper Dive: Approaching Meetings

    • 9. Deeper Dive: Developing The Opportunity

    • 10. Deeper Dive: Closing The Deal

    • 11. Deeper Dive: Develop The Relationship & Cross-sell

    • 12. Class Conclusion & Homework

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About This Class

In this class, I am going to be sharing everything you need to know about my 10 Step Sales Journey. Whether you're a complete beginner or somebody that has sales or client management experience, this class touches on the many facets of developing a sale, from cold to close. 

With the sales environment across most industries becoming more competitive, it is becoming ever important that sales and new business executives are as prepared as possible when approaching a prospective client. In this class I challenge the basic 7 step sales cycle which is shared widely across the B2B sales environment, bringing in some additional steps to help you be more prepared in finding, connecting with and engaging prospective clients. 

By the end of this class, you’re going to have all of the knowledge you need to work on your own sales process, aiming to drive efficiency, improve success rates and develop sales.  

In this class you will learn the following:

  • What is the sales cycle and how it works in business
  • How to approach prospecting and the tools available
  • The importance of researching your prospects
  • How to identify stakeholders
  • New methods of approaching stakeholders
  • An introduction to arranging sales meetings and what to consider
  • How differentiation can take obstacles¬†
  • An introduction to closing a deal
  • The importance of delivery after the sale
  • How developing a relationship after the sale can benefit you and your business

Meet Your Teacher

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Sam Ardley

Sales and Business Development


Sam Ardley is a sales and business development expert from London, England.

He discovered his passion for business development shortly after leaving school, when he joined a sales and marketing team within a global financial services organisation. Over the last fives years he has held both sales and relationship management positions, giving him a very rounded perspective of the B2B services environment. 

Sam will be using Skillshare to pass on his experience to those looking to develop their sales skill set and develop an understanding of the B2B environment. All views are his own. 

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1. Class Introduction: Hello and welcome to this Skillshare class on the South cycle. My name is Sam, and today I'll be going through firstly the basic cell cycle and then a second cycle that I've put together, which really expands on the basic one and brings in a few more steps in the process, which would probably have to complete any way following the basic sounds cycle. But it isn't explicitly shown to you. So this class is going to be pitched at an intermediate level and we aren't gonna go into any real serious sales techniques and relationship development techniques. And again, we aren't gonna go granularly into depth into certain aspects of the sale cycle, which we will do on later classes. But today what I'll do is take you through the basic seven steps, our cycle process, which you see in pretty much every virtual and in-person sales tutorial or sales glass. And then I'll move on to my expanded cell cycle where I'll go a bit more in depth into each of, I think corrupts, I think run at about 12 steps of that sale cycle per n of the expanded cell cycle are put together. So we'll go into a bit more depth there on the individual steps. I'll give you some pointers around tools that are available, how to approach certain scenarios. And then I'll lose or give my take on the basic cell cycle and why I think we need to maybe look at expanding it out a bit. So my background, I've worked both in the SME B2B environment and now more recently in the multinational B2B environment on a slightly more consultative sales basis. So my perspective, I have a good understanding of the shorter sales cycles that you find in the B2B environment, where the sales cycle lasts maybe a month. And then now in the multinational corporate environment, where we have sales cycles which typically are two to five years. So I'll try and give both perspectives. And I think this, this class is really going to be for those that want to either look to develop their sales expertise within the realm of the current in whether that be a client management row or an account management role for those that are new to sales that maybe are doing it day-to-day rather than those that are doing every so often in those account management roles at once to get better. So more and more the salespeople, they're doing it day to day, day in, day out. That once maybe rethink the, the approach they're taking, maybe find that they're based in time on prospective clients that really aren't getting anywhere. You're struggling to get a cold prospect, to develop into a warm prospect. Now, there's no secret to how you do that. Yes, there's certain things you can do to maybe improve your chances. But at the end of the day, there's a lot of factors that have to be pretty much spot on for you to be able to develop a cold prospect into a piece of new business. And that isn't only where you are as a salesperson and what you're saying to these people and the proposition that you have to offer, but also where they are as a business. Now I would also say that this class will be relevant to those that are dealing with members in the public on, I call it selling to individuals. So whether you work in a shop now and you're looking to develop the away, develop the ways that you talk to these members of the public in the way that you develop your sales. And for those that are in the B2B environment up myself, dealing with members of the public, they have a much shorter South cycle. In some instances, the sale cycle collapsed matter of hours. In others, less than an hour. But typically, a week is the average sales cycle length for an individual purchasing high value item or typically service. So for those that are working in shops and you have a one hour south cycle, I will try and bring in aspects of the South's ICU and what you do day-to-day, which I have done in the past as well. So I do have an understanding of where you sit. But again, I am going to be pitching it's more the B2B environment because it's where the majority of my expertise lies. So with that, we'll go on to the basic sale cycle now. 2. The Basic Sales Cycle: Prospecting & Approach: So this is the seven-step sales cycle to which I'm sure many, many of you are familiar. And I'm going to blitz round this as fast as possible because I want to spend more time focusing on the, the longer, slightly more adapted sales hopefully, I've put together and I'll go in depth on the steps there rather than here. So prospecting comes in first on the basic sound cycle. Step 17. Prospecting is very much as it sounds. You're going out and you're trying to find prospective clients that you're looking to develop into new clients, develop, deliver new sales are all new business. If you're new to the corporate world or the large B2B environment, and actually I think is relevant to the SME environment as well. You hear a lot of senior salespeople go on about prospects or the time prospect list, prospect pipeline, potential prospects for those I've spoken to actually in the industry that I work in the new out of uni. They've asked me a number times what is a prospect. And it's as simple as a prospective client. But it's surprising how rarely that term is used. Prospect comes in a lot more. And there's such a focus on Prospect lists and developing a prospect pipeline. Sometimes in my opinion, we do stop and we don't stop enough to think about the individual prospect of clients that go onto that list. But I think it's a good term to use. It really brings the focus back onto the client. Next in the seven-step process is approach. I don't agree with this entire process. I think approaching that quickly after prospecting is a bit rash, especially in the larger end of the B2B environment where there is not an infinite map prospects or that's an exaggeration. There isn't a lot of prospects. The pull of prospects is much smaller and the time you spend on each individual prospect has to be larger to make sure you're doing as good a job possible, especially where the cell cycles or every two to five years. If you aren't a 100 percent, if you want tailoring and bespoke in your approach to these individual prospects, you have to wait a much longer time before you get a second bite of the cherry per se in the SMA environment when you have prospects into the thousands. I understand why, because it's more about quantity and the churn of getting through these prospects than it is about the nurturing of the relationship. Especially at the initial stage in the SME environment. The nurturing comes later. Once you've qualified that prospect and you know they're interested in the servers you have to offer. But in the global environment where you're dealing with multinationals revenue, $1 billion plus, because there's a much smaller pool. It's always recommended, especially in the South as well, that you spend as much time as possible and making sure that the approach you're making, the hooks, you're going through, all the pieces of insight you're sharing are as relevant as possible to these prospects. 3. The Basic Sales Cycle: Qualify, Objections & Close: For approach, we would qualify in the sales cycle as it is. Typically that's around you've made the call. Are they interested? Is what you're having to offer relevant? I'm I will challenge is later on. I think this is in way too light. But if you're looking at the basic cell cycle, That's what you're really aiming to do at this point. Once qualified products relevant, they're interested, you move to a pitch. Step 4, step 4 in the sales cycle. You'll then dealing with their objections. They'll always be objections. Whether or not these objection objections are material and relevant, they'll always be objections. I have never ever in any of the rows I've been in whether that be working in a shop through to working where in the multinational B2B environment, there's always objections dealing with those objections in the right way. I've seen many, many relationship managers and salespeople handle objections absolutely awfully. An immorality that objection. It wasn't material to what the user tried to offer, whether that be a product or a service. I just had the prospective client go. Well, we're not sure about this and the salesperson jump in and go, it'll be fine because they are is a way, a time and a place to deal with these objections. And I'll come on to that when we move into the slightly expanded cell cycle, You then close the deal, secure the cell, get paid in the South cycle closes that in its entirety is the basic seven steps sale cycle. As it sits in the majority of organizations across the world. Now, as you can probably tell by the tone that I've taken around some of these steps. I think there's areas that lack detail. Now, this has been put together for simplicity, right? It's been put together and herder put it together. I've done a smashing job. And I think a lot of a lot of organizations have really benefited. A lot of salespeople. People have already benefited from the South cycle as it stands. However, I would always argue that the more thought you put in, in the early stages of that sales cycle, you will reap the results and the results later down the line because you have a much better understanding of the people you're talking to while you're talking to them. And also you'd have a much better understanding of where they sit as an organization. 4. My 10 Step Sales Journey: So with that, I'm going to move on to the slightly expanded sounds I could have put together. Now, this could be bigger. Of course it could. If you wanted to build a step-by-step granular guide of how to deliver a sale. Then I would this list could be in the 40s or 50s, probably. And the thing is if you were gonna do that, it would never be relevant to anything because no sale is the same. No organization operates in the same way. No individual reacts to your approach. No individual reacts to your pitch in exactly the same way because not only to businesses have different cultures, different buying habits, different budgets, different strategic objectives. Individuals have exactly the same thing, whether they'd be in the public that you're selling direct to or the stakeholders you're approaching and setting to within a larger organization. So if you're in the B2B world, you're managing your prospective clients, organizational, strategic objectives and approaches to buying and habits. But you've also got to manage the individuals who are dealing with how they like to be looked after as a client, how like how they ought to be engaged with and also how they buy. And I'll get into that in a bit more detail very shortly. But it's always worth being aware of the fact that people buy from people. The South cycles put together because people buy from people. Organizations are made up of people. They aren't just this big body. They are made up of big pool with individual objectives. And you always have to be cognizant of that whenever you're dealing with them. So I'm going to break this down as kind of granular as possible for you. And there'll be individual classes like down the line on individual steps of the sale cycle, where I'll go into much more detail on on scenarios, case studies, and the tools that are available to help you. 5. Deeper Dive: Prospecting: The first step in my sales cycle is prospecting. No different to the basic. Don't worry, I'm not going to compare them all the way through. Prospecting really covers many things as a general term. But I think it's very important for you as a salesperson, as an organization. One of the first things you want to think about and consider when you're prospecting is who are not individually who, but cumulatively watts specific pieces or specific criteria to as an organization need to meet to be your prospect. So look at what you're selling. Who is your target market? Not only do you look at that based on what your prospective clients do on a day-to-day basis. So if you're a SaaS company selling a CRM system, for example, you're going to look at clients or prospective clients, I should say, that need a CRM system that deal with a wealth of clients and that deal with prospecting that have a new business, a new business strategy in place. So you have a good understanding of that. But then you've also got to think of, okay, what size of organization are we looking at here? Is my CRM system perfect for the SMA environment where there's a high churn, budgets aren't as high. And my product is very much an off-the-shelf product. And when I say off the shelf, It's a bit like when you go online to the marks off website, you download PowerPoint. That's an off-the-shelf product. Now some of these larger organizations have many different facets within their business. They need a company to come in and build them a CRM system from scratch. Salesforce are a very good example of a company that has an off-the-shelf product which can be sold and delivered to absolute wealth of organizations in the world. And it would work very well for them. However, for their large corporate clients, multinationals that are spending millions of pounds for their system. What they go in and do is adapt the off-the-shelf product. They have a neighbor spoke it for each individual client they, they are able to secure. So if you're a multinational organization, you might want to slightly adapt your CRM system for different geographies in the world, the different facets of your organisation and the products they sell. So you're able to capture different pieces of information that are relevant to your business. And so you're able to break down where the best sales activity is happening, where the most new business revenue is coming from. And then you're also able to feed that information into different areas. So when you're looking at your prospecting, really think about who is going to find your product the most valuable. Whereas the industry is where your product or service is most relevant. And in the prospecting stage of this slightly larger cell cycle, focus on that, focus on who, who you want to prospect. And again, to reiterate, not the individual, not the individual organizations or the individual people, but the individual criteria that these organizations or people need to meet. Because once you have that, there are so many tools out there where you're able to put in your cart area. The special industry code that the businesses sit in, the geography that the business is domiciled. The revenues of these businesses turn over a year. You might have employees. These businesses have the amount of subsidiaries these businesses have. The list goes on. I've touched on the most common, the criteria that you'd use and these systems, these toes out there and I'll name them in a second. You're able to export lists from these systems of businesses that fit those criteria. And that is really the base of your prospecting, prospecting resource prospecting universe. And that's the term that's used in a lot of areas and our businesses. What is our prospect universe? What pool of organizations that we have to go after a year in, year out to deliver new business. And yes, the pull of prospects adapt, grow, or shrink depending on the economic environment that they sit within. And that's driven by industry and geography and the socioeconomic environment, of course. But In gives organizations in the South, people within those organisations. Are you Paul of businesses? They can look at and consider to go after each year. And when you're in an organisation and your prospects and clients or have two to five-year sounds I call sight sound cycles. That's incredibly important because the pull of businesses that you have to go after is limited. I'd argue in the SME environment as well, where there's slightly more sales churn as z is usually termed, where you're going after a much bigger pool of of prospective clients on a slightly more transactional basis where you're calling, Are they interested? No. Cooling. Are they interested in According other interested, yes. Okay. Let's put through to the next part of the sale cycle. And sometimes in these new organizations that slightly smaller, they actually have different teams to handle different parts of the South cycle. So though have people that are focusing on prospecting and cold calling. And in a lot of tech companies, in SAS companies, that's very much driven by grad intake, for example, when if they do well there, then the next year they move on to the team, the folks on the next stage of the sales cycle. And where these SMEs have slightly smaller sale cycles in the multinationals that we were very much focusing on. The clothes, the nurturing of the relationship, which is always seen as a slightly more glamorous area of sales, right? 6. Deeper Dive: Prospect Research: So the next step of my sales cycle is actually researching. So you have this large list of prospects. Now it's time to really look and research that individual businesses that sit with on that list. Now, when I'm looking to research my prospects, I will start from anywhere as basic as looking at their website, for example. What are they doing day to day? Because a lot of these larger organizations, although they have a special industry code for sets, either a financial institution for example, but day-to-day, they might also have a mining arm, a commodity trading arm, shipping on. Because these larger organizations, they're very diversified. They have more than just one avenue of business, more than just one day to day activity. And sometimes I think when you look down at the smaller SME mid-market businesses as well, that's becoming more and more common. As it's becoming easier and easier to diversify your business. Get hold of venture capital, VC capital, angel funding, an invest in different angel funding, seed funding, sorry, and invest in different areas. Find that these middle market Businesses do diversify and do spread out into different industries in different pockets quite early on in their development as an organization. So I would recommend if you're out there no matter the size of your organization and you are looking at get on their website and see what they were actually doing day-to-day. Now, I use Factiva sometimes and there's a few, Factiva, Artesian and CrunchBase, or three very good tools in the UK which you can use to research your prospects. And it just reminds me, I didn't tell you in the first section of the prospecting those three tools, Factiva, Artesian and CrunchBase, also very good for building an exporting your prospect lists based on set criteria. And again up at my details at the end. And I can send you an email on links and things and paste bits, pieces like that. There'll great RUs O3. So they're also very good on the research stage. So all three but more so CrunchBase and artesian for the UK organizations, give and Factiva for the global organisations that domiciled outside of the UK. So depending on what you do and who you're focusing on, do consider all three. There are significant price differences between the three as well. From memory, CrunchBase is the most affordable, but it has more information on investment and whether these businesses are getting their funding from. So if you're looking at startups, Fintech in the SME world, CrunchBase is amazing and the information on there is incredibly valuable. But in general, when I'm researching these businesses, once you've gone past that website and then come on to one of these three tools. And I look at how are they doing from a revenue perspective. So year on year profits, year on year revenue. Then look at their, if they are publicly listed, where their share prices at, how that's performed recently, and any significant changes in their corporate strategy because it's all published if they're public, any areas that they're looking to invest in an any major divestment or investments. Divestments being if they're selling off subsidiaries. And then finally, the area that I then look at is if there has been any significant changes in stakeholders within the organization. So typically this is senior to C-suite and hasn't been any stakeholders moving around. Whether that be a CFO leaving a new CFO, joining. Big redundancies down, further down the chain within the organization. Whether there has been a promotion within the organization readings or from a senior level to a C-suite level. And all of these different pieces of nuggets of information there, they all perform into the way that you approach these organizations. If there's a new CFO reaching out to the new CFO in congratulating him on his new role and saying to him, well done. This is what we're doing in your industry at the moment. This is what we find a relevant to your peers at the moment. I'd love to have a chat about them that's interesting. In for a new CFO, he might be looking to repress his boss or if there has been a promotion to see from CFO, you could approach her and say, congratulations on your new row. I see you've been at x for a long time. Would love to catch up to update on what we've been doing with your peers. Update you on how we're perceiving certain things within your industry. And I've always found that where there has been movement within the organization, there's slightly more open to a chat because they're more cognizant of what's going on around them. Now if you go to the meet the CEO and you say to her, oh, we saw recently in the news that you made a series of divestment or a series of investments, it's going to show them that you're a lot more clued up on their organization and you're gonna get a lay of credibility quite quickly. Whereas if you go in and say, Oh, we've got this new product, how about we talk about this new product? Sutras guy, you know what, you've shown no interest in my organization, no interest in where we are as a business. You've not explained to me why your product or service is going to be relevant. You've not given me any context. Now, the larger the sale, the more pressure there is. And when I say large, I don't just mean financially, but for an organization large can mean different things. And this is why I say you need to really consider how their organization buys the individual stakeholders. Stakeholders within the organization, their buying habits and how they'd like to be engaged with. So if you're talking to the head of HR, they're looking for new hydraulic system. That is going to be a very, very big purchase for the head of HR, but maybe for the CFO where they're looking at it financially, that HR system may be a lot cheaper than the CRM system that had a south wants to buy. So you've got to consider all these. 7. Deeper Dive: Approaching Stakeholders: So I've already touched on my next step, and that is identify stakeholders. And you've identified stakeholders are ready because you've researched the prospect. And if you reflect back to the seven-step South cycle before we went straight from prospecting to approaching. Now in the one not the one that I put together with slightly more expanded steps. We haven't approached them, but we already know where they are as a business. And he changes to their corporate strategy, any changes to their senior management, any divestments, any investments, the performance of their share price. And from that, you know how their business is doing day-to-day. And from that, you can make certain assumptions around budgets. For example, if they've had a drop in share price and year on year revenue is down. That was going to be big budget constraint within that organisation. And if you're looking to go in and sell them a piece of software that's going to bring them value and not directly save the money. That is going to be a very challenging sale because of where their business is. And here's what I mean by really researching your prospect list and pre-qualifying crossbreds before you talk to them. Because the way you approach these conversations off the bat, whether that be a first of contact or a second of contact, it does have a huge effect later down the line. First impressions matter a lot, especially as, as I said before, people sell to people. So you've identified the stakeholders, you've done your research. Now it's time to approach. There's different mediums of approach. And many people hate cold calling. I hate cold calling, but I get cold called. It makes me angry. Even I've spent years color-coding in the past. If I get cold called really makes me angry. And I have to remind myself that there are people out there that do this for a job. And it's very important. And there's a right way and a wrong way of cold calling people. And in many cases you have to do it for, there are still alternatives out there. One of the biggest alternatives that I use is LinkedIn. Now, LinkedIn, in my opinion, is slightly lost, its personal touch recently as the popularity of LinkedIn seems to be growing exponentially. And that's good because audience you have on LinkedIn gets bigger. But also the negatives are that your footprint on LinkedIn therefore, retrospectively becomes smaller. So I always think LinkedIn is a good place to start, especially if you've got an established brand on LinkedIn. And that's something we'll do a class on later down the line because I think LinkedIn for a salesperson or any person in the B2B environment, It's incredibly valuable. And I actually think people with an established LinkedIn of a lower seniority compared to someone with no LinkedIn or the more senior position with an organisation facing externally. Sometimes it's a lot easier for that person within established, established LinkedIn presence to develop cold prospect. So I don't know about you, but if I get a cold call and they're trying to sell something to the business that I worked for. I typically Google the business and Google the person that called me. And if you've got an established LinkedIn presence, you will find that LinkedIn in the first four is outs on Google. If I don't find someone's linked to on the first 45 results are neutral or even on the first page of Google. I would go not sure about this in the credibility immediately shrinks. So consider LinkedIn when you approach. I would also recommend LinkedIn Sales Navigator if you have the financial means to purchase it. It is a slightly more expensive resorts and it isn't entirely necessary, but it does bring a wealth of benefits. Firstly, you're able to search for individual stakeholders based on a set criteria, whether that be where they are based geographically wise, the organization I work for, the position they have at the organization, how long they've been there, and what degree connections they are to use. Whether your connect with them or you know, someone that's connected with them. And it also gives you the ability to InMail or directly message individuals on LinkedIn that you aren't connected with personally. So as I kind of, uh, a warm up before a cold call, I would always consider whether that be sending someone requests to connect on LinkedIn with a few words of a note following the up with a message if they agree to connect with you, or if you want to go straight in with a cold direct message via InMail on Sales Navigator. That's also an option. Now, I think these are typically, in my experience, better received than a cold call because it gives people the time to think about whether or not they want to respond, how they're going to respond. And I also think, I've also found, I should say, that the response rate or the positive response rate on LinkedIn is much higher than when you cold call someone. Because you're going straight to the decision-maker rather than through three different gatekeepers before you get to that decision-maker. And it's also, you get a lot more responses on LinkedIn and you do with a cold email. Then also in the UK and in Europe, there's certain conditions around GDPR and you've got to be quite careful when you call the mouse on one. And other wastes. I bear that in mind when you are doing this code prospecting. But the rules for social media and LinkedIn, our slope slightly more relaxed. 8. Deeper Dive: Approaching Meetings: So say you've approached them, you've had a positive response and you've had a phone call when you've given them a brief introduction to what you want to talk about. My then next step is always a meeting in now, more recently that's been virtual because of COVID and the rules around isolation. Not having these types of meetings. And also a lot of companies, although the restrictions in the UK are now much lower than what they were. There are still many companies whether policies that having face-to-face meetings are something that are quite averse to. It depends where you are in the world, in the US, in certain states there's similar roles because I've got US clients I'd like to go and see. It's quite challenging at the moment on really valuable value face-to-face contact. I don't think you can compare a Teams call or a Zoom meeting with face-to-face contact. Because developing relationship in person, not only is it quicker, but it's easier. You can connect better with people in person. But if you don't have the financial means to travel or you have accompany policy where traveling is a last resort. You can develop a relationship in via Teams or Zoom or other means of video conference, right? So you get a meeting in the diary, find out who you are, who you're talking to an advance. Now, I've been on many are cool. Where I've been, someone's been trying to sell to me, where I've brought other members of the team and the person has joined the call that selling and gone oh, one, who is this? Ask if you don't ask, I'm not going to tell you. Ask them. Will anyone else be attending the call? Ask if it would be okay if you propose the agenda. If you've arranged the koala is on you to propose that agenda, right? If you don't propose the agenda, calls typically lack structure and a cool that wax structure typically also lacks direction. And you're not going to get that call from where it begins to where you want it to be by the end of the meeting. Also, a lot of these cause, especially if you're dealing in the B2B environment, people have limited time. If a cause an hour, it's more than likely that the person you're talking to has a hard stop at the end of the hour. So an agenda just makes sure you get through everything you need to get through within the time that you have in place. 9. Deeper Dive: Developing The Opportunity : Meetings, then it's gone. Well, we're then getting through to what I like to call the developer the opportunity stage. Now this is where typically in the B2B environment you won't have the meeting come out of it and go, Yeah, We want you get the contract drawn up That's crack on in some industries and with some certain purchases that businesses make. Yes, that happens quite quickly. In the tech world. The cell cycle seems to be longer and sorry, shorter than in the finance world or, or the legal world when you're procuring for a new semester, a new or a new broker or a new bank or whoever it may be. And the tech world, it's slightly more, slightly more snappy. And my next two steps of the sales process could be flipped round depending on the industry that you're in. So develop opportunity in differentiate. So develop opportunity. To me, that's after you've had the first meeting and you're talking to them, you're sharing insight, you're sharing bits and pieces. You're moving that opportunity along from the meeting you had originally. And as I say, it depends on the industry that you work in and the types of prospective client that you're dealing with. For me personally, it takes more than just one meeting for a client to sign up to a purchase because of the value, that is, the values that are involved and also the length of the contract. If you're signing up to a five-year contract with a service provider, you're not going to make a decision to leave your current service provider and moved to a new service provider in the space of one meeting. Which is why I think the first sales cycle needs some adapting if you're in that kind of environment. But of course, I do still understand that if you're low value sale was high churn, high quantity sales. And you need to be getting through the sow is quicker. And if that is the case, I would argue that you could maybe look at my cell cycle here and flip around, differentiate and develop the opportunity. Yes, you should be differentiating throughout the entire cell cycle. Of course you should. If you're proposition doesn't differentiate the offering that you have perpetual competitors, there is something wrong with it. And go back to the drawing board and have a real think. But typically, and if you look at the other sound cycle, it's in a very similar position to where you'd find I'm handling objections, right? So you've had the meeting, you've developed the opportunity, things are going well. You've been out for dinner with them. You've got to know the buying team better and you've got to know the individual stakeholders within the organization better. The relationship is developing and the trust is developing between the stakeholders at the prospective client and the stakeholders. The organization, where you work in a new cell phone. And once that trust is built up, that's when things start to accelerate normally and the option to really stops to flourish. And hopefully you're getting to the point of operation where it will getting nearer to the clothes. But you have to be patient. And you also have to consider where the prospective client sits. This wraps around to what I said at the beginning. It doesn't matter what you do. You could do everything right. But if people that you're selling to and the bars within that organisation on in the right position to purchase your offering. That could be due to a current contract, that could be due to budgets. It could also be due to the stakeholder. You've developed a relationship being new and they don't have the power to say, I want to make this change, let's go for it. It could be that you've been developing relationship with the CFO, but it's also got to be signed off by the CRO, the head of HR, the CEO, and some other specific FDA's within the business. And that's something that you've really got to think about as you develop the opportunity. Do I need to start talking to another stakeholder within the organization? Because having one contact within an organization, that's all well and good. Brief eye contact moves on. That relationship you had with set organization is gone and you are essentially starting from scratch. Because as I said, people buy from people. So typically as the opportunity develops, this is where the objections come in. And that might not be from the stakeholder you've been engaging with the entire time. It could well be from other stakeholders that have now got involved in the process as the opportunities really developed into something more serious. And this is where you need to differentiate. Well, I would always argue this is what you need to differentiate. And differentiation is all about handling these objectives as sorry, objections. The objection might be price. The objection might be the upheaval within the business to take on your, your new product or move from a competitor to yourselves. It could be due to challenges within the business. It could be due to your service not fitting with their legacy systems. It could it could be due to clashes in relationships within the organization you're selling to. And there's a lot of things you have to consider here. And differentiation is not just about you going. Our product is the best. It's the leading in the market is better than our competitors because it's cheaper, it's better than our competitors because it's faster. It's all about leveraging what you personally can bring. Now, I've found in many industries, if you look actually in detail between the products at each individual competitor, typically, the difference is very, very minor. So it's all about how you're going to deliver that service, how you're going to deliver that product. Because it needs to, trust needs to still be instilled into the product or service that you're selling to this organization for them to really commit to it. So when I say differentiate, yes, differentiate, differentiate the product, differentiate the service, but also differentiate the service proposition that comes with that product or service. And that is you as the salesperson. It's the account manager, it's the relationship director, it's the customer service team, is the technical people delivering the offering. If it's a product you're selling, it's the aftercare that you get with a product or service. It's the additional benefits to buy that product or service. And it's also, I think it's something that some ignored sometimes is the transition from the competitors to yourselves. In my world where software service provider, we are typically taking a service that is purchased every year and delivered every year from a competitor to ourselves. So to be able to do that, I would typically say to the team, we need a transition manager to help the client in feeling comfortable with transitioning from where they are today to us. And making that as smooth as possible. Not only to avoid upheaval, but what you have to consider is there is an additional cost within their business from a time perspective to transition from a competitor to you, always have to bear that in mind and that's an additional cost on top of the cost of your product or service. So if you're saving the money across a five-year period, you have to bear in mind they will also be considering that initial cost of change, time, or resource started adapting their systems and their way of working. So differentiate in your own way. I can't give you the answers of how to, how to differentiate your product or service. Some businesses, their differentiation is that they're cheap. They don't handhold. You get the product, you run, sorted. Others are more expensive, but they will they will hold the hand of the business throughout the transition, throughout the delivery, and and support them with aftermarket. And I say aftermarket once it sounds completed, they're still there to help. That's part of the service. If it's a product and if it's a service team delivering a service rather than a product still there on hand. Service-level agreements and placed responding to e-mails with a certain period of time, responding to calls within a certain period of time. And for a business, the convenience of having that and the reassurance of having that there is sometimes more valuable than saving 15 percent outright. So consider that, and that should be something you consider when you're within your proposition to start with anyway. 10. Deeper Dive: Closing The Deal: Close. Never as easy as it sounds, and I won't go into this much. So I'm going to do a separate class on negotiation, but closes difficult. You can go through all of these different steps. And as you can see, there's a lot of time goes into this and before you even have the chance to consider a close. So look at your business, what you're selling. If it's high chair and you need to get to that closed point as quick as possible and as cheap as possible. If you're dealing with multinational was and it's a small pool of potential prospective clients. Then take your time, develop the opportunity in depth, develop the relationship. And then what's the opportunity comes to close. And that could be driven entirely by the prospective client and their sales cycle. Or they're buying, they're buying cycle, I should say. But be ready when the opportunity comes round. If you fail to close, start the process again. They've chosen to every other competitor. Don't just put them to the wayside. Keep contacting them, keep the relationship going, keep nurturing that relationship. So when they're buying cycle comes around again, you could be ahead of the competition. It could be that in this instance, you, you started developing the opportunity to light, and that already made the decision internally before the end of the buying cycle to renew who they are with. So although it can be disheartening, not being able to close the deal. Just remember that there will be another opportunity. Could be months, it could be years. But that relationship is incredibly valuable and you should really try your best to keep hold of that. And that's also worth considering if the individual relationship you have within that organization. If they move to a competitor, you then have an already developed relationship into the prospective clients competitor. And that is another prospective client that you have the ability to pitch to. And you've already covered the research, the stakeholder identification. You can go straight in and start having those discussions with them because the trust is already there. And that's one of the hardest things to attain in business. 11. Deeper Dive: Develop The Relationship & Cross-sell : So you've closed, they've paid. It's an incredibly important that you deliver on your promises and you deliver that product or service that you offered from the beginning to the standard that you sold it at. Many people forget how important this is. For an organization, it is much cheaper to renew that piece of business that you have and keep that money coming in, that cashflow coming in from an existing client that it is to invest the time and the resource into developing new business. So look after your current client book. Not only is it cheaper, as I've just explained, but from a reputational perspective, if you're out there and you're selling a dream to these people, these businesses, these individuals. And in reality, what you're selling is a subpar product or service. You will very, very quickly lose all of your credibility. So keep that in mind. There's a salesperson. I think it's always prudent once the sound is closed to stay involved throughout the transition process, throughout the initial year of that product or service being delivered to your prospective client. Now applying unfortunately, to make sure that everything runs smoothly and that you are on hand and that for the client is incredibly valuable. I have someone they trust involved throughout the transition, which is typically the most challenging time and the most painful for the client. And whether it's the most contact between your organization and the clients organization. So stay involved. Yes. You want to focus on the next sale? Yes. That is your day-to-day role. But for you to maintain that credibility and for you to really deliver on your promises. My recommendation would always be to stay involved for as long as you can. Even if it's just from a relationship perspective, laid down the line, knew could then instead of being involved in the day-to-day, you become a trusted point of escalation if things go wrong. And in the instance that maybe it isn't quite working between yourselves in that prospective client now client you've worked on for so long and you can get involved in helped to adapt the product or service to work for them and increase retention within the business you work for. Which is, I would always argue as important as a new CEO. Now the final step of my process, as you can see, is to expand on that relationship. So not only are you stayed involved to ensure that promises are delivered, but typically, and this is more relevant within larger organizations or SMEs, growing and diversifying their offering. This is when you have the ability to potentially cross-sell or up-sell on the product or service you are delivering, delivering to this client. This is a very, very long sales cycle, but it brings in so many different elements that I personally feel like we're ignored within the basic seven steps which you see and you are taught from very early within your South Korea when you're developing their relationship. And you're checking in to make sure that product that's being delivered is up to the standard that they expected and up to the standard that you promised throughout the initial stages of the sales cycle. They might start talking to you about broader issues within their business. You will have the opportunity to introduce different areas of your proposition that you didn't focus on at the beginning and you didn't focus on them at the beginning. Because you've done that research early in the sales cycle, and you'd understood what parts of your proposition would be most relevant to them as a business so you could connect with them in the right way. But at this point in time, Let's, for example, say you're, you're a SaaS company and your you've built a bespoke CRM system for them. Though. Your point of contact within the organization is a mix between the head of sales and the CFO. And you're having a catch-up meeting with them and they mentioned to you that they're having issues with their internal billing system or their internal Outreach system when the how they connect with their prospects and clients. That's what opportunity for you to start talking to them about the additional services that you have, that you might be able to support them in the issues that they're having in these additional areas of their business. So consider, and it's always worth remembering that the more products and the more services you are delivering to a client, the different areas of the business, the different areas of the client's business you're connected with. The more sticky that client becomes. And you hear the word sticky a lot in, in business and in silos. And that's referring to how stopped or how connected is your organizations, your client's organization. The more stuck the two together are, the harder it is for that organization that you're selling to move to a competitor because they're not just getting the one service from you, they getting a whole suite of services from you. And for yourselves in your organization. If you're delivering how suite of services, rather than just one line of services to a client. That client becomes so much more profitable and so much more important to your organization. Because you're not having to spend time doing outreach or, or having one CRM system connection to them so they get an insight from your emails from you. It can all be brought together and deliver it as a package. And it really depends on how your business operates. From where I work. There is not only the stickiness benefit, but also the profit benefit. You might not have the profit benefit in your organization, but consider it. These avenues are always worth considering. And I've never worked for an organization where cross-sell and up-sell doesn't bring a wealth of benefits to the organization that you work for. 12. Class Conclusion & Homework: So as I said, is based on the basic seven step cell cycle. But it just touches on a few more areas that are, I think, incredibly pertinent throughout the entire process. So for now, I think I'm going to leave it there and keep an eye out for future classes coming up on this sale cycle. The individual facets within the sales cycle where I'll be going into case studies, some of my experiences and additional things for you to consider around South techniques. So as a piece of homework, I think it is important that you take on board everything I've gone through today and maybe start to think initially about the prospecting facet and I've spoken about today. Consider how you do your prospecting and how you choose which organizations or individuals to contact the beginning of your sales cycle. And have a think about how you can make it more efficient and how you can become slightly more targeted with individuals that you're contacting to increase your success rate in the early stages of outreach. If you have, if you get through that piece of prospecting homework quick enough, What are they? Move on to the research point in the cycle and have a think about researching your prospects more before you approach them. Get more understanding on the individuals you're looking to talk to within the organization rather than just calling and saying, hi, that's told you about your broadband. Why don't you call up and say, I'm not to talk to x because he is the Chief Information Officer or one of the procurement officers to talk about broadband or to understand what you're doing at the moment with your broadband. So, I mean that, that's a very basic example, but it's something to consider. And if you reaching out on a larger sidewalk or more consultative structured sale, have a research on how the share prices doing year on year revenue, any individual stakeholders that are moving around and see if it results in you getting a more positive reaction to that initial outreach, developing the cold prospect. But for now, I'll leave it there. Thank you very much for listening. I hope it was helpful. Any questions, don't hesitate to get in contact. Email be at the end. And I will hopefully see you in the next class. Thank you very much.