How to Move Through the Sales Cycle with Presentation Software

The most successful sales strategies are a result of careful planning and structuring across the entirety of the sales cycle. You need to understand your objectives before you jump into the fray, after all, while flexibility is important, the fast-paced nature of sales does not make it conducive to off-the-cuff planning. A lack of structure can leave teams stranded with no framework to measure goals or success. Not strategizing ahead of time limits your options in the moment and turns every decision you make into a gamble.

The solution? Build out a clearly defined sales cycle and stick to it. Consistency is key when it comes to continued sales success, along with robust, organized tools. By understanding the sales cycle, and implementing software built specifically for sales like Ingage, you can ensure successful quarter after successful quarter.

What is the Sales Cycle?

what is the sales cycle

A company's sales cycle is its framework for success. This timeline accounts for all the steps in the sales process, from acquiring leads to nurturing existing customers. It helps your team follow a detailed approach, ensuring they follow the right path towards increasing conversion rates. Setting a clear path also helps you change it later: after all, it’s easier to change directions when something doesn’t work if you already know where you're going.

Keeping a detailed account of the steps a rep must follow to successfully close a sale makes the whole process more efficient. It lets your employees know what challenges to expect and how to tackle them. Meanwhile, not establishing a clear process throws your reps to the wolves. Sales reps will work nearly entirely on their own intuition, which is a recipe for disaster—either with fewer closed sales or in 100 different ways reps close them.

A sound sales cycle is a flexible one which lets you tailor the process to your objectives and prioritize shifting goals. It also provides a consistent base level for sales and streamlines training and employee success. Accordingly, sales cycles will look different depending on your specific business and industry. However, the most successful B2B processes still carry a few common steps between them.

The Most Common Steps In the B2B Sales Cycle

As mentioned, the sales cycle can vary from company to company and industry to industry. Every business figures out what works for them, and a sales cycle with a bit of leeway to adapt to changing factors is best. Generally though, you can expect sales cycles to run with a few broad steps in common.

Step 1: Prospecting Leads

Also known as lead generation, this is one of the most critical steps—and arguably the most difficult—in the cycle. Simply put, this is the process of identifying potential customers. Unlike their B2C counterparts, B2B companies rely more on client quality than quantity. These companies may only support a few vital recurring clients, instead of thousands of small-time shoppers. For this reason, finding high-caliber clients is crucial.

A good prospecting strategy sees your team concentrate only on leads that have a high chance of converting. Before going hunting for leads, make sure you’re diving in with the right message. Convey how your product or service can solve the needs of your customer profiles—and that you know those customer profiles inside and out. Your prospecting strategy is only as good as your knowledge of your ideal customers. Identify key selling points that appeal to these demographics.

Once you’ve fine-tuned the message, it’s time to identify the best contact channel. This too will depend on your ideal demographic. Depending on who you’re trying to reach, you may be better off cold calling, sending texts or emails, focusing on social media marketing and UGC, SEO-targeted blogs, in-person events or entirely different channels. Focus on finding the decision-makers and where they will best notice you.

How Can Sales Presentation Software Help?

Regardless of the meat of your content, you need to make sure it’s visually appealing enough to catch your prospect’s interest. In our fast-paced digital age, snappy and compelling visuals are the best way to quickly snag potential prospects’ eyes.

Potential leads will at best only offer you a small window of attention—which you need to maximize. An intuitive software like Ingage, which offers dynamic features like scrollmotion animation and video and link embedding, allows you to transform your collateral into a dazzling and engaging presentation. A presentation is what brings your message to life. It’s important to start your sales cycle on the right foot—leverage video content and presentation software to reel your buyers in.

Step 2: Reaching Out To Your Leads

Directly connecting with your leads in a personalized manner is the most effective way to get positive results. However, this is easier said than done. Nailing that first contact is essential when focusing on generating high-quality leads, which is why you want to make as individualized a pitch as possible. But how do you get this background information?

reaching out to leads

Before you reach out to your prospective clients with a pitch, do as much research on their business as you can. This should include extensive internet research into their business, and may even extend to “discovery calls.” These calls come off as personable and allow you to gauge if someone is a good fit quickly.

How Can Sales Presentation Software Help?

First impressions are everything. Considering this, you have to leverage every tool at your disposal to assure success. This includes building the best presentations possible after conducting your deep research. Consider the case of New England remodeler NEWPRO, which found that clients kept running into “PowerPoint fatigue.”

“I could see that people were getting tired of static PowerPoint slides,” Director of Training Pete Ladd said, “I knew it was time to up the ante.” By upgrading their visual content by way of Ingage Presentations, NEWPRO was able to up their presentation game and secure far more quality leads than ever before.

Step 3: Qualify Your Leads

Not all leads are created equal. Some potential clients may have a lot of experience, but not enough resources to afford your product or service. Others may on the surface seem like a good fit, but in actuality do not need your service. The process of qualifying leads sees you vetting these prospects to make sure they are actually worth pursuing further.

All this starts with research. You should be able to identify your client's pain points and make sure they align with your solutions. Learn how your leads operate and what makes their company unique to personalize your message to provide outstanding solutions.

Even if a lead doesn't meet the requirements to become a prospect doesn't mean you should discard them entirely. Keep a record of all your leads, should circumstances change and they become more viable in the future.

How Can Sales Presentation Software Help?

Having the right presentation software is key when it comes time to deliver the right message to the right prospect. As you vet your prospects, compile all this information in your interactive software to build personalized, engaging content. Tools like Ingage Teams offer collaborative features to help your marketing and sales teams work in tandem during this key research phase to create the most compelling collateral possible.

Step 4: Present and Pitch

Once you’ve thoroughly vetted your prospect and they seem like a promising shot, it's time to pitch your product or service. This step is vital, as it's your opportunity to showcase why the prospect needs your solution. You want your pitch to showcase how your service or product is the best solution for their problems.

presentation and pitch in sales cycle

If you did your homework while qualifying leads, it should be easy to tailor your presentation to fit the prospect's needs. To deliver a solid presentation, consider what makes you the most suitable choice for the client.

How Can Sales Presentation Software Help?

Your pitch is only as good as the way you present it, and the tools you use to do so will make a significant impact. Consider the case of Mid-Atlantic home remodeler Kitchen Saver. When sales director Samantha Perrey took over, she noticed right away that the outdated PowerPoint slides were doing the sales team no favors.

“My first priority was to modernize and update our customer interactions,” Perry says. “As a design-focused company, the visual piece was extremely important to us. In order to sell an esthetic service you have to give customers stunning visuals in order to show them what the possibilities look like.”

She quickly switched the sales team over to Ingage’s more dynamic software, and the results were indisputable. One rep’s close rate even nearly doubled, jumping from a 19% to 37% success rate! “A sales rep can only carry so many samples in his or her trunk, but with Ingage, the opportunity for visuals is limitless,” Perry says.

Step 5: Deal With Objections

Not every presentation will go smoothly. Prospects might raise tough questions or objections regarding pricing, scalability, compatibility or any other number of problems. Being prepared means knowing how to respond to these challenges.

The more pitches and presentations you conduct, the better you’ll be at identifying and defusing recurring concerns when they show up early in the sales cycle. Don't be afraid to ask questions, and make sure you know your product inside and out to answer theirs.

Your first offer might not always work. Potential clients may push back against some aspect of the deal or delay with a thousand questions. If you go in expecting this friction, you’ll also have a plan to quickly and effectively handle it. The quicker you can satisfy the concerns, the more faith prospects will put in your competency.

How Can Sales Presentation Software Help?

Part of the advantage of using dynamic software like Ingage is its ability to pack in far more information than a normal catalog or PowerPoint, while still remaining streamlined. While you can build your presentation according to a strict timeline, the ability to pop out websites or videos allows you to dive deeper into a topic in the moment, as the customer asks, rather than leaving it at “I’ll get back to you.”

Consider KOHLER LuxStone, which now uses Ingage in tandem with their hard-copy flip books for pitch presentations. Associate Channel Manager Anna Mizelle highlights the power of video embeds and tools like comparing screens to pack in a wealth of information at once. The robust analytics tools also allow her to track performance throughout the sales cycle, making adjustments as needed.

Step 6: Deal Done—Closing The Sale

After you’ve wrapped up negotiations, it's time to seal the deal. Congratulations! While the ultimate goal, not every sales cycle actually reaches this stage. Internalize the successes along the way that got you to this point—along with the hiccups—to ensure your next sales cycle runs even smoother.

When it’s time to put ink on paper, make sure you have all the necessary documentation ready right away. Some clients may need a bit of last-minute reassurance at this stage; others will be ready and eager to go. Read the room and deliver the support they seem to need—as you sign, and after!

How Can Sales Presentation Software Help?

For many businesses, closing a deal used to be an in-person thing. COVID-19 obviously scrambled much of that, but even before the pandemic, sales were long moving in a totally-digital direction.

Businesses and sales teams caught on the back foot at the start of COVID-19 struggled to adjust, suffering the limitations simple online conferencing tools allowed. But an intuitive, collaborative cloud-based platform like Ingage can help your team manage the whole closing process remotely.

For example, Sun Design made the switch to Ingage during the pandemic and saw their closed deals skyrocket on account of it. Just six months after implementation, President Bob Gallagher saw a stunning 32% increase in successfully closed sales. “Ingage has made us become so much more efficient,” he says. “Clients get more information that they needed—that we didn’t even know they needed—and we’re able to be more flexible on how we provide that information.”

Step 7: Onwards To Retention

The sales cycle doesn’t just conclude after you sign the deal. Now you have to worry about retention! Your new customer might still have lingering questions after a successful sale—you can’t just abandon them now. Client management is an ongoing process to ensure that they remain satisfied with your product or service. Make sure you construct a thorough onboarding process that accounts for clients’ needs. Provide your customer with content, guides and resources to stay up to date with your company, and follow up frequently.

Retention in sales cycle

How Can Sales Presentation Software Help?

As with every other stage in the sales cycle, sales presentation software like Ingage can help you refine your offerings for clients and build a closer collaborative relationship. Ingage allows you to quickly and easily share marketing collateral with clients virtually, so you can deliver the follow-up information they need right away.

Use Presentation Software to Enhance Every Stage of the Sales Cycle

The best way to increase your deal closing ratio—and ensure continued sales success—is to optimize every step of your sales cycle. However, this is easier said than done. The secret to success is in the details—and using the right platform can help you nail those details. Robust, dynamic presentation software like Ingage can take your pitches to the next level. From dazzling visuals to detailed analytics and instantaneous sharing features, Ingage is the full package for your team’s success.

Contact Ingage today to set your sales team up for their best-performing year yet, it’s time to get them the tools they need. Reach out to Ingage today to try a free demo to see what we can do for your company. Give your presentations the voice, edge and personality they need to set your team apart.

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