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8 Stages of The Sales Cycle: Your Ultimate Guide to Conversions

8 Stages of the Sales Cycle- Ultimate Guide to Conversions

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Are you curious about what it takes to close a deal and generate revenue for your company? 

You could be selling software to tech executives. Or, you might be trying to get more sales for your new medical equipment. 

In either case, understanding the stages of the sales cycle is critical.

Let me explain the scenario below. 

Your firm deals in software, and you sell your solutions to different companies. 

Suppose one of your potential clients is a medium-sized manufacturing company. Currently, the firm relies on outdated, manual processes to manage its inventory and production. 

So, your SDRs spend weeks researching these pain points. Finally, they craft a strategic messaging strategy that speaks about the issue. 

The message highlights your key USPs: How your software can automate the client’s processes and increase efficiency.

Your SDRs also discover that the client requires to reduce waste and improve lead times. 

They use this information to tailor their pitch to the client and increase their chances of closing the sale.

As you can see, to successfully close the deal, you need to follow multiple steps of lead generation to the sales cycle to gauge your customer’s challenges, design a compelling message, and offer a custom solution.

Well, these steps constitute the sales cycle stages – something we’ll cover in our article.

So, next up:

What Is a Sales Cycle? 

The sales cycle refers to the series of stages a prospect goes through before becoming a customer. These stages typically include:

What Is the 360 Sales Cycle?
  • Awareness: The prospect becomes aware of the product or service
  • Interest: The prospect expresses interest in the product or service
  • Evaluation: The prospect evaluates the product or service
  • Decision: The prospect decides whether to purchase the product or service
  • Purchase: The prospect becomes a customer by making a purchase

A B2B sales cycle refers to a company's process of selling its products or services to another business. It typically involves several steps – from identifying potential customers to closing the sale. 

In fact, the length and complexity of the sales cycle can vary depending on factors such as:

  • The industry
  • The size of the sale
  • The type of product or service being sold

Plus, not every sale or customer interaction will follow the same path. However, understanding the steps of sales cycle can help you better navigate the process and close deals more effectively. So, let’s get started!

How Long Is a Sales Cycle Length?

The length of a B2B sales cycle can vary from 2 to 6 months. Sometimes it can go up to a year or more. 

It greatly depends on the industry, product, or service being sold and the complexity of the sales process. 

Sales Cycle Stages: An Easy 8-step Guide

The sales cycle is a tactical process to convert prospects into paying customers. It includes 8 stages – from setting goals to setting appointments and closing deals.

In fact, implementing a sales cycle can benefit your company in many ways. It allows you to:

  • Better organize your sales pipeline
  • Prioritize high-value leads
  • Evaluate the efficacy of your sales efforts

Additionally, your sales reps benefit from having a common roadmap from lead generation to the sales cycle. It allows flexibility and easy handoffs between reps. B2B sales cycle stages also help reps to understand how far along prospects are in their buyers' journeys.

Now, it’s true that salespeople often treasure improvisation. But having some standard sales cycle stages can create cohesion and avoid confusion. There are three main reasons why we recommend having a sales cycle. 

  • Firstly, creating consistency throughout the sales cycle makes your sales training process more manageable. 
  • Secondly, it helps you structure your team by providing a roadmap for prioritizing leads and contextualizing your offerings. 
  • Lastly, it helps you track team performance by providing a framework for evaluation.

To understand this better, you must know the different stages of the sales cycle. Here's a breakdown of each one.

Stage 1: Setting Objectives and Goals

Defining your goal significantly affects your sales cycle’s success. In fact, it’s the foundation of any successful sales cycle. 

It's like planning a road trip. You need to know your nation and have a map to get there. In fact, companies with a clearly defined sales process see 18% more revenue growth than those that don't.

So, take a moment to define your goals for your sales cycle stages: 

  • How many sales do you want to close? 
  • What is the revenue target? 
  • What are the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you want to track?
  • What are your customer acquisition goals? 
  • Do you have any productivity goals?

A clear goal will help you stay focused and motivated throughout the sales cycle. Additionally, it will help you prioritize your efforts. As such, you can ensure you spend your valuable time on the most important leads.


For example, let’s say your goal is to close 10 deals this month. Then, you might prioritize leads further along in the sales cycle. Why? They have a higher likelihood of closing. It means focusing on leads that have:

  • Shown interest in your product or service
  • Engaged in a conversation with your sales team
  • Are more inclined to convert into paying customers

Or, if your revenue target is $50,000, you might focus on leads with a higher potential value. It means identifying leads that have:

  • A larger budget
  • More significant pain points your product or service can solve
  • A higher level of interest in your offering

By focusing on leads with a higher potential value, you can increase your chances of achieving your revenue target and maximizing your sales efforts.

NOTE: Your sales goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). Only then you'll be well on your way to a successful sales cycle.

Stage 2: Identifying Your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile)

Your ICP is a fictional representation of the customer that you want to target. It’s based on demographic, psychographic, and firmographic factors. 

Building an ICP can help you understand your target customer's needs, wants, and pain points. As such, it allows you to tailor your sales pitch to address their specific concerns.

Next, to qualify a prospect, you must gather information about their needs, budget, and decision-making process. Why?

  • Understanding their requirements enables you to position your product or service as a solution to their problems. 
  • Knowing their budget helps you present pricing options that fit their financial capabilities.
  • Finally, gauging their decision-making process helps you anticipate and address prospects' objections before they arise.


For example, let's say you're selling software that automates accounting processes for small businesses. Your ICP might be a small business owner or manager struggling to keep up with manual accounting processes. 

Now, to identify your ICP, you could look at factors such as:

  • The size of the business
  • The industry they operate in
  • The business’s revenue
  • Pain points related to accounting

Once you have a detailed insight into your ICP, you can use this information to qualify prospects. It can be done by asking questions about their business size, current accounting processes, and budget.

Identifying ICPs are extremely important in the stages of the sales cycle. In fact, organizations with top-performing sales have identified and created ICPs for their ideal customers. 

And those that have done so see an average account win rate that's 68% higher than those that haven't. Again, this highlights the importance of building a well-defined ICP in the sales cycle.

Stage 3: Preparation and Planning

In the third step of your sales cycle stages, dedicate enough time to researching your prospects. Only then you can build a targeted prospect list. Plus, you can ensure you approach the right people with the right message.

Research can involve a variety of tactics, such as:

  • Scouring social media platforms
  • Exploring company websites
  • Checking annual reports
  • Attending industry events

The goal is to gather as much information as possible about your prospects and their needs. You should do this to tailor your messaging and approach accordingly. 

Let’s now check out a hypothetical illustration showcasing the importance of preparation and planning in researching your prospects:


Suppose you're a salesperson for a software company that sells a project management tool. First, you identify a firm that you think could benefit from your product. Then, you schedule a call with their project manager.

Instead of going into the call blind, you do your research. You explore their website and social media accounts. Here, you discover that they recently launched a new product line and have plans to expand internationally. 

You also find out that they've struggled with project management. Then even had difficulty coordinating cross-functional teams. This information allows you to tailor your messaging to address their pain points and needs.

During the call, you mention how your project management tool can help them coordinate cross-functional teams and streamline their new product launch. As such, this will help them expand their business internationally. 

As you can see, you demonstrate your knowledge of their company and its pain points by doing your research. Plus, you position yourself as a valuable partner who can help them achieve their goals.

Stage 4: Prospecting

Prospecting is the fourth and critical step in the sales cycle stages. It involves finding potential customers interested in your product or service. Now, there are several methods of prospecting you can use, including:

  • Cold calling
  • Email
  • Content marketing
  • LinkedIn outreach

Each method has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. But they all serve the same purpose – to build relationships with potential customers.

Make an Excellent First Impression!

Next, making a good first impression is crucial in the prospecting process. In fact, a potential customer forms an opinion about you within the first seven seconds of an interaction. Therefore, it’s essential to make the most of this opportunity.

An opening statement should be:

  • Concise and relevant to the prospect
  • Tailored to a prospect’s needs and interests
  • Attention-grabbing
  • Communicative about the value of your product or service clearly and compellingly

Design Your Sales Pitch

After making an excellent first impression, the next step is to create a sales pitch. A sales pitch is a persuasive message that explains the benefits of your product/ service. 

Plus, it convinces the prospect to take action. To create a successful sales pitch, research the prospect and tailor your pitch to their specific needs and pain points.


For example, let's say you are a software company that provides CRM (customer relationship management) solutions. You identify a small business owner needing a more efficient way to manage customer relationships. 

You research their business and discover that they use spreadsheets to manage customer data.

So what do you do? In your opening statement, you mention that you noticed they’re currently using Excel - which is time-consuming and inefficient. You then explain how your CRM solution can help them save time and streamline their process. 

This tailored approach enables you to stand out and increases your chances of converting the prospect into a customer.

Read more about 8 Sales Pitch Email Templates to Boost Your Lead Generation.

Stage 5: Appointment Setting

Appointment setting is yet another crucial step in your sales cycle stages. 


This is where you turn a qualified prospect into a scheduled appointment. Hence, it's essential to do it right to avoid losing them.

  • To start, propose a date and time that works for both of you. 
  • Next, mark it on your calendar after confirming the appointment. 

It's essential to be flexible and accommodating during this process. Why? This makes it easier for the prospect to schedule the appointment.

Remember, the goal of appointment setting is to secure the meeting, not to close the deal. Your focus should be building a relationship with the prospect and demonstrating your value. Doing this will increase your chances of closing the deal in the future.

Stage 6: Strategy Call

This is a critical phase in the stages of the sales cycle. Why? Because it's when you can showcase your USP (unique selling proposition) against competitors. Plus, you can deliver a personalized sales proposal that speaks directly to the prospect's requirements.

A strategy call involves inviting the prospect to a call. Further, you need to demonstrate how your product or service can solve their pain points here. Finally, during the call, you'll want to clearly understand the prospect's specific challenges, needs, interests, and goals.

Only then you can tailor your presentation to address them. You must also be prepared to answer any questions the prospect may have about your product or service.

It's important to note that the strategy call is not a sales pitch. In fact, it’s rather a conversation that’s focused on building a relationship and understanding the prospect. 

By taking the time to have this conversation, you showcase that you're invested in their success. You also demonstrate your willingness to work with them to achieve their goals.


Let's say you’re an SDR for a software company specializing in project management tools. During the strategy call, you invite a prospect interested in your product. You want to convince them to switch from their current software to yours.

  • Step 1: First, you introduce yourself and your company. Next, you ask them about their current project management tools and if they are experiencing any challenges. For instance, they mention that their current device lacks collaboration features.
  • Step 2: Next, you highlight your USPs – real-time collaboration, task assignment, and progress tracking, all in one platform. Plus, mention that your software is customizable, and they can tailor the features to suit their business needs.
  • You also emphasize the benefits of using your software, such as increased productivity, better communication, and streamlined project management.
  • Step 3: Thirdly, you explain how your software offers a centralized platform for all teammates to communicate and work together. Also, you provide examples of how other companies have used your software to address similar pain points and achieve success.
  • Step 4: You then go into implementation details. Here, you explain how your team will provide support during the onboarding process and training. You also ensure that their team will be up and running with the software quickly.
  • Step 5: Regarding costs, you present a clear breakdown of the pricing structure and the different subscription options. Plus, highlight the flexibility of the plans and how they can scale up or down as per their business needs.
  • Step 6: Finally, you ask for feedback and any concerns they might have. Here, you clarify any doubts and ensure they’re satisfied with the proposed solution. If they agree to move forward, you set a follow-up call and initiate the onboarding process.

Stage 7: Objection Handling

In your sales cycle stages, it's natural for prospects to have some objections or hesitations while purchasing, even if they were initially enthusiastic. Your goal is to address and manage these objections effectively. 

  • To do this, ask questions to understand the context behind their concerns. Is there a specific issue or experience that's causing their hesitancy? 
  • Take time to understand their perspective and acknowledge their concerns. 
  • Then, reframe your pitch to overcome those objections.


For instance, if the prospect is concerned about the price, consider providing a per-day breakdown to help put it in perspective. You can say something like, "I understand the price of $300 might seem high, but if you break it down, it's only just over $10 a day”

By reframing the information this way, you're addressing their concern while highlighting the value and benefits of your product or service.

It's essential to listen patiently to their objections and not dismiss them. If they have had a bad experience, acknowledge their experience and show them how your solution is different. 

Once you have addressed their concerns, you can move on to present your solution, emphasizing how it can help address their pain points and improve their business.

Stage 8: Closing

This is it, the moment you've been working towards closing the sale. But it's not always as simple as just asking for the order. How you close depends on the situation. 

And that means reading the prospect's body language and attitude to determine the best approach. In this case, you may encounter two scenarios:

  • The prospect has been engaged and responsive throughout the previous stages: Here, you can use a more direct approach: "Great, let's get started on the paperwork and schedule a delivery date." 
  • The prospect is more hesitant: Here, you'll need to take a softer approach. Start from the beginning. Remind the prospect why they were interested in your product or service in the first place.

Remember, even if the sale isn't closed during the first meeting, it's not necessarily a lost cause. Some products require a longer sales cycle, and that's okay. 

Hence, keep the communication channels open. Follow up with the prospect regularly. The sales cycle isn't over until a sale is made or the prospect decides not to proceed further.

How to Shorten Your Sales Cycle?

To increase the number of deals closed by your team, consider shortening your sales cycle through various strategies.

1. Use Automation

As a sales manager, you're aware of the time wasted on non-selling tasks. Though you cannot eliminate these tasks, you can streamline your processes with automation tools such as – sales engagement platforms or revenue intelligence tools.

2. Align Sales With Your Marketing Efforts

The closer the alignment between your sales and marketing teams, the easier it becomes to prospect potential buyers. Share your ICPs and select shared criteria on MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads) to improve future efforts.

3. Be Prompt During Your Next Steps

Typically, the longest stage of the sales cycle is the gap between overcoming objections and closing the sale. To minimize delays, discuss the next steps early and often. 

In fact, failure to discuss the next steps on the first call can substantially decrease close rates. Hence, the longer reps wait to discuss them, the more extended the sales cycle becomes.

4. Faster Onboarding

Faster onboarding of leads to faster prospecting and shorter sales cycles. Reducing onboarding time by a few months can generate high revenue in the initial years.

For example, let’s say a company typically takes six months to onboard new customers. Then, it reduces that time to just three months. As such, they can start generating revenue from those customers three months earlier. 

It can have a major impact on the company's revenue in the initial years – as they can generate more revenue in a shorter amount of time.

Faster onboarding can also help improve the overall customer experience. Buyers can start using the product or service more quickly and see results sooner. Hence, it can lead to:

  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Better customer retention
  • Higher lifetime customer value

How Can You Customize Your Sales Cycle?

Your team’s sales cycle can be defined using the abovementioned stages. However, to get the best results, you can customize the template in the following ways:

1. Take Inspiration from Your Competitor’s Best Practices

There will always be top-performing competitors in your industry. So, why are they successful? They’re using tactics that your sales reps are missing out on. Find out what these practices are and add them to your sales cycle. 

For instance, your rivals may pitch multiple times before closing the deal or use tools to identify successful messaging during the pitch. Encourage the rest of your team to try these approaches. And if they see success, update your sales cycle stages accordingly.

2. Determine the Mean Length of Your Sales Cycle Stages

You must calculate your sales team's average sales cycle length. Why? Every sales team can have different sales cycle lengths. It is a simple exercise to do:

  • Average sales cycle length = Total days for closed deals / Total number of closed deals

 It will give you the average sales cycle length for your entire sales team.

However, calculating the average sales cycle length is not always the best strategy. After all, you combine the deals of your top and worst performers. Therefore, you may not get an accurate average of how long each deal should take. 

Instead, calculate the average sales cycle length using only deals completed by your top performers. It will provide a more accurate estimate and set a goal for the rest of your team.

3. Monitor Sales Metrics

Sales cycle management is essential to customize your sales cycle to your team and prospective buyers' needs. Tracking KPIs such as average deal size, conversion rate, sales velocity, and time spent selling is crucial for effective sales cycle management.

4. Update Your Sales Cycle Stages 

Your buyers may have different needs than the average B2B buyer. And your sales cycle should reflect that. 

For example, let’s assume your enterprise product requires a security review before or after closing the deal. 

Now, failing to pass that review will end the deal, even if your sales rep does an excellent job during the pitch. Hence, this new step – the security review – should reflect in your sales cycle. 

The Afterwords

Creating a well-defined sales cycle significantly simplifies your role as a sales manager. Your sales representatives can achieve better results. Plus, you can identify gap areas more efficiently. Further, it'll help you forecast future revenue with greater accuracy.

However, a planned sales cycle alone is not enough. But, when you integrate it with a platform like Revnew, you can make a significant impact on your sales process. You gain visibility into your sales pipeline, allowing you to spot potential problems before they arise. 

Try Revnew today to streamline your sales process and improve the bottomline. Contact us now!

Check out the success stories of our clients and how we have helped them to grow their sales revenue within some months.

Some Commonly Asked Questions About Sales Cycle

1. What Are the Three Stages of the Sales Cycle?

The three stages of the sales cycle are:
  • Pre-sales: Researching and identifying potential customers
  • Sales: Engaging with potential customers and closing the sale
  • Post-sales: Following up with customers to ensure satisfaction and potentially secure repeat business

2. What Are the 7 Steps of the Sales Process?

The 7 steps of a typical sales process are:
  • Prospecting
  • Preparation
  • Approach
  • Presentation
  • Handling objections
  • Closing
  • Retain

3. What Is the 360 Sales Cycle?

The 360-degree relationship cycle involves multiple interactions between a customer and a brand, whether through purchases, marketing communications, customer service, or connecting via social media. A great product is no longer sufficient; exceptional customer service is also necessary to create a positive customer experience.

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