What is a Sales Cycle?
Complete Guide

Learn all the ins and outs of sales.
sales cycle cover photo
Are you looking to increase your sales and make sure each month consistently brings in more leads and customers? If so, then you should get to know the sales cycle.

This complete guide will help you understand what a sales cycle is, why it's important, and how to use it to your advantage!

From increasing lead generation to converting as many leads as possible into satisfied customers, the sales cycle is a foundational tool for any successful salesperson.

Let's get started!

Sales Cycle - Definition

A sales cycle is the tactical way a team turns a prospect into a paying customer. It's like the map you follow from Point A (the prospect) to Point B (the sale).

Now, don't get it twisted with sales methods. Those are the frameworks for implementing sales cycles, and people often confuse the two.

A sales cycle typically includes five stages: prospect, connect, research, present, and close. It's like the ultimate recipe for cooking up a customer!

But why is a sales cycle so important, you may ask? Well, it helps sales managers identify leaks in the sales funnel. In other words, it shows where potential customers lost interest in your products or services.

To get to the bottom of things, you can scrutinize every stage of the cycle - from finding leads to handling objections. And, you can examine stage-by-stage conversion rates to see where leads are slipping away.

If you notice leads dropping off after a sales presentation, it might be time to brush up on your presentation skills or rework your message.

So, if you want to find out what's holding back your sales team, a sales cycle is just the ticket! It's like a microscope that helps you zoom in on your sales process and uncover the weak spots.

Sales Cycle Stages

sales cycle

Look For Leads

You need a customer or potential customer before you can sell anything. The first stage in every sales cycle is prospect identification, which necessitates a thorough knowledge of the service or commodity you intend to sell.

You will determine who your potential customers are as you consider how your service or product will enhance their lives or enterprises.

Lead generation is another way to prospect for customers. Perhaps your website has a location where interested visitors can input their email addresses to learn more. Once you have their contact information, you can contact them and establish a connection.

Important for sales reps is to resist trying to close a deal at this point. You're now merely getting leads and attempting to evaluate whether or not these individuals fit your buyer personas. When you have qualified leads, enter their contact details in your CRM.

Make Contact

The next step is to make contact with your prospects when you've identified them. It's recommended to reach out through different channels (omnichannel) to

Increase the chance of getting into a conversation. Email, phone, LinkedIn, and video are the common sales channels for SDRs/BDRs at this stage.

Because you are simply making contact with potential customers in an effort to schedule a meeting or product demo, you should be very careful with pitching your offer.

Qualify Your Leads

You won't be able to sell your product or service to every lead you contact. Qualifying your leads, therefore, will show your sales team on which contacts they should focus.

Discover whether your contact is a decision-maker and, if so, whether they are genuinely interested in buying your good or service. Ask for the involvement of a manager or senior in the meeting if your prospect is unable to make a decision or buy.

Give a Demo

Aim to showcase your products or services in a way that addresses a concern the customer may have. Be prepared to show how your product will enhance your customer's daily activities and how your business accomplishes this better than anybody else.

However, the salesperson shouldn't be the person that is talking only. The seller needs to listen and understand the problems the prospect faces. The conversation should be natural, which means the seller will consider the prospect's challenges to offer a personalized solution.

While presenting your offer, the seller shouldn't concentrate on the product or service details throughout the presentation. The potential client is more curious about the benefits.

Handle Objections

After your presentation, some potential customers might be entirely on board, but most will probably be dubious.

Take their objections as a chance to persuade them that your service or product is valuable, considering the cost, the time required to implement, the conversations they will need to have with their supervisor, etc. As long as you know how to handle them, objections need not rule out the possibility of a sale.

Close the Deal

The secret to closing the business is to sell your answer firmly and effectively. It's time to negotiate a deal that will benefit all parties.

Depending on how they respond to your initial suggestions, you can now respond differently to their inquiries about pricing and delivery. If they disagree, work with them to improve the plan until they do.

You can get their approval by requesting their readiness to continue working with you. If they concur, create a contract with your terms and conditions, then have everyone sign it.

Referrals & Relationship

After a deal is completed is when you can start asking for referrals. Your brand-new client is (ideally) thrilled with their purchase and in a position to refer more customers.

Asking your customer whether they know any friends or coworkers who might also profit from the good or service you offer will save you time and effort. Later, if your business relationship develops, you can also inquire about references.

Regarding customer relationships, guarantee a smooth kickoff, and ensure that your account managers and new clients undergo a smooth onboarding procedure.

Ask your consumer how you can help when you check in with them every one to three months.

How to Optimize Your Sales Cycle

Managing your sales cycle will help you shorten the time it takes to close a deal. This entails examining each step, identifying the ones that require leads or prospects to travel through them more slowly, and making the necessary improvements.

If you manage your sales cycle well, you'll shorten the length of your cycle by completing each phase more quickly. These pointers can help you manage your sales cycle effectively.

Price Transparency

Make sure to disclose the true cost of your services at the outset of any client interactions. Of course, we're not referring to bringing it up in discussion. Just be careful not to reserve it until the end of the cycle.

Transparency in pricing fosters mutual understanding and trust between you and your prospect. So, if you're inclined to save this information for "dessert," don't be shocked if you suddenly start receiving a deluge of objections or get ghosted.

Update Your CRM

You may save up a lot of valuable time that you can use to accomplish company goals by frequently cleaning up your CRM and keeping your contact list organized and current.

You should carefully update your prospect list, and every contact with no more interest, isn't the decision maker, or has unsubscribed should be removed.

Organize your contacts so you can see their most recent interactions with you and your team. By doing this, you'll be able to decide who to target first and who to push further in the cycle.

Analyze All Steps

As already mentioned, considering every stage of your sales cycle can help identify problems.

Here the conversion rate of every single stage can show you where to look for problems to increase efficiency. Of course, the prospects get smaller the closer you get to the point of sale. However, if there is one stage where your sales team loses too many prospects, you should work on this stage first.

Personalize Your Cycle

Finding a personalized approach for each prospect is essential to close a transaction. It's one of the first things any salesperson learns when they begin their job. Reps frequently disregard this concept and view prospects as yet another "mountain" to conquer.

The more you can personalize communication with prospects, the more they will become convinced that your solution is the best option for them as you listen to them and create a welcoming environment.

Things like…

  • Taking notes of important "key moments" in a conversation to refer to later on.
  • Researching your contacts and combining their situation with your offer.
  • Presenting the benefits of your offer that address the particular requirements of your prospect.
… will show the prospect that your solution is valuable.


A successful sales strategy includes process optimization at each sales cycle stage. Utilize all available tools to direct your sales team's workflow toward achieving targets and remove any potential roadblocks.

Maintaining such a cycle will establish your company's constant and reliable revenue stream.

Now you know the relevance of a sales cycle for a sales team and how each stage works to skyrocket your team's efficiency.

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