In today’s buyer-led market, having a repeatable and effective inside sales process is essential in order to accelerate sales and drive business growth. 

Understanding where your buyer is in their journey and tailoring your approach to each stage of the buying process is what separates an average salesperson from a great one, and a business that’s struggling to meet quotas to one that’s exceeding them. 

What is full-cycle inside sales? 

In a nutshell, full-cycle inside sales is the process of executing desk-based sales activity from the earliest stages of the buyer journey through to deal close. 

Full-cycle sales reps are responsible for prospecting and lead generation, lead nurture and close, and in some cases, customer onboarding and account management. 

This is a huge undertaking for any sales person, so it often works well for smaller organisations. But as your business grows it can quickly become difficult to hire, train and manage a full-cycle inside sales team at scale.  

Worry not, there are ways to combat the complexities. 

Why you need a defined sales process 

Every business wants buyers to be engaged across the sales cycle. 

To achieve this, sales people need to be clear on what is required from them at each stage of the process. That means (you guessed it) having a defined, repeatable sales process in place.  

Not only will this help your people develop their skill set, but with it a proactive sales mindset that drives effective behaviour in every customer interaction.  

They’ll stay a step ahead of the buyer and can therefore guide them through the sales cycle more effectively. Accelerating your buyers through the sales cycle will ultimately lead to closing more customers and generating more revenue for your business, whilst shortening your average sales cycle. 

So, what does a full-cycle inside sales process actually look like? And how can you implement effective inside sales within your business? 

5 stages of the B2B sales process 

Here at durhamlane, we created our ‘Selling at a Higher Level’ sales development methodology in reflection of the 5 key stages of the B2B sales process: 

b2b sales process

1. Find & Create 

Step one of the sales process is to ‘find and create’ qualified leads within your target market that fit your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). 

Want to gain attention from senior contacts? It is important to define your sales messaging and make it impactful. The key is to be relevant, concise and topical; always with a strong call-to-action.  

This will help your sales people present themselves as trusted advisors, subject matter experts and thought leaders across their professional network, and create meaningful engagement with new prospects much earlier. 

After all, people prefer to buy from people who are knowledgeable, confident and understand what the buyer needs or is trying to achieve. 

2. Define & Understand 

The second step of the sales process is to ‘define and understand’ the needs of the buyers you’ve identified in step one, as your teams qualify, demo, nurture and convert the leads to opportunities. 

The days of sales people immediately telling the person on the other end of the phone how great their business is are over.  

Listening and asking high-impact questions that get the buyer thinking hard about the need to invest in change (with you) is a much more successful approach to lead qualification. 

Taking this approach ensures that every interaction between your sales team and their prospects delivers value to all parties. Internalising this question-led approach makes tailoring and customising your value proposition significantly easier.  

As you dig deeper, this approach will help you determine not only whether your products and services are a good fit for the prospect, but also if they are a good fit customer for your business. 

3. Propose, Recommend & Present 

Once a buyer has been converted to a qualified sales opportunity, it’s time to start building a deal. This part of the sales process is all about demonstrating value to the prospect, building & revising your proposal, and accelerating the buyer all the way to close. 

There are often multiple influencers and decision-makers involved in the buying process, beyond the initial sponsor or champion. Each member of the decision-making unit will have their own needs and wants. 

This requires your sales team to be strategic in their approach to planning and preparation when engaging with each stakeholder to develop the deal. It’s important to create a highly credible first impression that fosters trust and boosts deal momentum. 

4. Close Out 

For most, if not all salespeople, this is the most exciting and rewarding part of the sales process, and (unsurprisingly) the step they’re most eager to get to.  

Of course, it’s never guaranteed your prospect will sign on the dotted line, so it’s important to identify positive buyer signals through the last stages of deal nurture, keeping clients warm through the paperwork. 

Closing out is not about getting a win over on your customer either; it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement. You have helped them find a solution to their pains quickly and efficiently, and your sales team has refined their close-out technique whilst getting closer to hitting KPIs and achieving revenue targets. 

5. Serve & Grow 

It’s a well-known truth that it’s significantly harder and more expensive to attract new customers than retain existing ones. But according to Hubspot, increasing customer retention by just 5% can increase delivered revenue by 25% to 95%. 

Therefore, it is vital to understand the factors that determine the future growth potential of current customers.  

This will enable your sales people to proactively create opportunities to renew contracts, up-sell and cross-sell to them – increasing customer lifetime value and generating more predictable revenue for your business. 

Deciding whether to build or buy a full-cycle sales team 

From SME to Enterprise, building an in-house full-cycle sales team is often the ultimate goal for businesses, but it can be a heavy drain on resources and it takes time to achieve. Hiring, training and retaining great inside sales reps comes with its fair share of headaches.  

When looking for fast results, sales leaders often choose to engage outsourced service providers to quickly turn up their sales engine, whilst building an internal team alongside the external sales function. 

Are you ready for better revenue results? 

Remove the lead time of solving revenue problems in-house, with durhamlane’s completely outsourced full-cycle sales option. 

Let’s talk

We’re always open to hearing from ambitious organisations that are looking to scale but are unsure how. Get in touch to see how we can help overcome your sales challenges.