What is a B2B sales process and How it helps close deals faster?

An in-depth guide on the B2B Sales Process and its different stages.

March 11.2019  11 minutes


Think about every marketplace you know of. There are a handful of players who dominate and then there are the rest. What sets the key players apart from the others? It is their ability to execute a well-defined process. The capacity to implement an impenetrable sales plan. 


Yet there is more to an effective sales plan than assembling a team of sales superstars. It also gets trickier when the sale is between 2 businesses i.e. a B2B sale. 


B2B Vs. B2C Sales: Key Differences?


Before we proceed, keep in mind that B2C refers to business-to-consumer sales. Therefore, in a B2C business model, businesses sell directly to individuals for personal use. Conversely, B2B involves businesses selling to other businesses for their operational needs.

Though their basic distinction can be drawn along these lines, we may also differentiate them based on their target markets, decision-making processes as well as the length of sales cycles. First, keep in mind that B2B buying decisions are more complex and have higher stakes than B2C ones.

Due to this particular reason alone, there is a need for more rigorous, structured, in-depth sales processes when it comes to B2B selling. Also, since B2B sales are more labor intensive, naturally, their sales cycle may extend beyond the average B2C ones.


What is 'B2B sales process’?

This is the series of steps businesses follow to gain new customers and make money through selling products and services to other businesses. These steps may include looking for new customers, confirming the authenticity of leads, giving customers solutions, negotiating terms, and closing deals. The primary purpose of this process is mostly to boost sales and revenue.


Why is it important?


Effective B2B sales strategies put into use through a tight process will literally translate into a higher growth rate of your company. An HBR study reports that companies with a superior and well-managed sales process saw a 15% increase in their growth rate. 


In addition to a higher growth rate, a sales process provides direction. A sales rep who is well versed with the different stages of his sales cycle has an internal compass to ascertain how and in which direction the sale is moving. 


A rep armed with an iron-clad sales process can be compared to a spacecraft on a long journey during which it knows how to correct its course at different circumstances. Similarly, reps should be able to traverse through the sales cycle making the precise adjustments at the right moments. 


6 Stages of the B2B Sales Process


A perfectly elaborate B2B sales process provides the framework a salesperson can utilize.  More importantly, these stages make identifying and adjusting aspects that aren't working easier. 


With that in mind, the 6 stages of the B2B sales process include:


B2b sales process flowchart: 


B2B sales process flowchart

Lead Generation


Lead generation is the first stage, where you get to identify potential customers. 

Here, you have to take the extra step and conduct research and identify your target market or individuals interested in your service or product. 


You can use different strategies to help generate leads, for instance, networking, cold calling, social media, or email marketing. 

One strategy that stands out from this crowd especially for the B2B field is the use of interactive content that makes the content more engaging and personalized. 


This encourages not just conversion but also active engagement.

Take a moment to develop an effective lead generation technique based on the best place to reach your target audience. 


Lead Qualification


As a salesperson, you should understand your product and services, inside and out. 

Once you've done the groundwork to understand your product from the buyer's perspective, it's time to get on a call.


Talk directly to your customers and assess your potential to turn leads into customers. 

Additionally, ask them open-ended questions focusing on the problems that your business can solve. 


But these are more on the manual end - What if you could elevate your understanding of prospects beyond traditional methods? 

Imagine gaining detailed insights into individuals genuinely interested in your product or service – those who engage with your emails or content, how much time they invest, and the specific content that captivates them. 


By harnessing these insights, you avoid investing time in less promising prospects and allocate your resources efficiently to those genuinely interested in your offerings.
That way, you will better grasp how your business can meet your customers' expectations. 


Engagement and Opportunity


The lead qualification stage was about getting to know the buyer's perspective. Now, you have a rough idea of your ideal customers' struggles. 

And with that information, it's time to deliver a sales pitch focusing on how your product or service solves their problem. 


At this stage, you can take full advantage of your creativity skills. The goal is to be as convincing as possible that your product or service is the ideal solution. 

Convincing your prospects goes beyond the allure of sophisticated emails. It requires impeccable timing, engaging them precisely at their allocated time for your interaction.
Engage allows you to initiate conversations at the opportune moment, aligning with the content they are currently exploring. This approach eliminates turnaround time, streamlining the cycle by a crucial step.

However, don't forget to tone it down a little so you don't sound too 'salesy.' Your pitch should be short and engaging. 


Product demo


Leads typically aren't ready to make an immediate purchase after your initial pitch especially in the B2B environment it never happens. 

However, they are likely to have several questions that demand answers to establish your company's professionalism.


At this juncture, a product demo proves invaluable. 

It allows them to grasp the nature of your product, understand its relevance to their current needs, anticipate what to expect, and address any additional requirements within the demo itself.


Crucially, the goal is to provide prospects with a positive, memorable experience that distinguishes you from competitors. 

Achieving this is enhanced by leveraging the full potential of an interactive demo.


Deal Closing


This is by far the most exciting stage. By now, you've already demonstrated the value of your product, and the customer is ready to make a purchase. 

As a sales rep, you must employ effective closing strategies to ensure a smooth transition. 


Take this opportunity to discuss the prices with your client and allow for negotiations where necessary. Offer free added value to help close the deal

Additionally, discuss any remaining steps before you hang up. That will ensure you both don't run into any bumps. 


Follow Up


Finally, you can send a follow-up email once the deal is sealed. 

That will help leave a good impression on your customers and ensure they can return for more. Remember to keep it professional and provide the next steps. 


Include a summary of the conversation and any additional information. 

That way, you have a lasting positive impression as you turn your customer into a loyal repeat sale. 


How to Shorten Your B2B Sales Process:


Longer sales cycles are common in most B2B sales processes. And when they happen, they come with a range of consequences. 


On one hand, they tend to hinder revenue growth.
On the other, they increase the likelihood of prospects losing interest. 


So, in any business that has prolonged cycles may not only lose deals but also tie up resources that can be used to nurture other leads


Businesses constantly seek the perfect sales cycle. To achieve this, focus on a seamless process, deliver a great buying experience, and simplify by offering the right content instead of overwhelming customers. This ensures a smooth and uncomplicated sales journey. This is exactly what helped TIS to reduce their complicated sales cycle length.


And in the following points we have elaborated on how you could achieve this:


Implementing Sales Enablement 


Another strategy that can help you shorten your sales process is providing sales teams with the necessary tools, resources, and training to streamline processes. That will increase their productivity and make it easier for teams to work together. 


Qualifying Leads Effectively 


To start with, learn if you are capable of buying your products or services as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the eleventh hour to talk about the cost. Sometimes, you may end up being caught up in a long sales cycle that will not even convert. 


Save your valuable time by letting your customers know from the word go what they are signing up for. That will allow you to focus your efforts more on leads that seem likely to convert. 


Personalizing Communication 


When was the last time you felt compelled to make a purchase based on a generic pitch? Probably never! With that in mind, if you want your potential buyers to feel understood, you have to tailor your sales approach to individual prospects. 


Make sure you address specific customer pain points and requirements. This will show potential buyers that you are more committed to meeting their needs. 

For this, you can take advantage of Paperflite to understand customer behaviour and identify their pain points. And here is where delivering a great experience comes into play.


personalized content experience


Tracking the Analytics of the Sales Content 


Nothing is more frustrating than not having adequate feedback on your marketing efforts. In fact, this is one of the main ways to set yourself up for failure. 

You are either likely to repeat the same mistakes or, worse, ignore strategies that would convert more leads


Therefore, they are able to create more targeted and effective sales efforts.


A caveat: The B2B Customer Journey



B2B Customer Journey Flowchart


A sales process is a part of the larger B2B customer journey. As stated above, an average B2B customer is already 60% down the pipeline before the first contact with a sales rep is made. 

A rich customer journey is essential in retaining the customer in the funnel. The attributes of such a journey are: 

Straightforward journey

Although B2B journeys are lengthy and complex, splitting the journey into transparent tracks can reduce complexity and provide customers with a sense of ease. 

Spontaneous service


Delays are frustrating. Ensuring timely responses and delivery help the customers feel valued and can enrich your relationship with them.  

Proactive attitude


Using existing customer data at your disposal to deduce customer pain points and prevent them beforehand can translate in a smooth experience.

Customers interact with us in different instances throughout their journey. We should ensure that at these touch-points, we give the best experience possible. 


Analyzing the journey allows us to predict potential customer requirement and address them at timely intervals. Thereby providing a very rich and personalized experience


7 Best Tools That Will Make Your B2B Sales Process Easier


Every business model needs sales tools to automate their day-to-day processes and increase efficiency in certain aspects of the sales process. That creates more time for nurturing and closing deals. Some of these tools include: 


Paperflite - content management


Paperflite, is your all in one, comprehensive content management solution, streamlines sales processes. It centralizes content, empowering your sales team to easily discover, distribute, and monitor sales content performance.


Beyond content management, Paperflite provides insights into buyer personas and behaviors. Its integration capabilities adapt to client needs seamlessly, offering clear metrics on content engagement.


Understanding the performance of materials ensures a personalized content strategy. And the integration capabilities of paperflite ensures that you are able to have a smooth collaboration between marketing and sales teams.


Paperflite's advanced tracking internally reveals content popularity and externally assesses marketing campaign effectiveness. It's not just a content management platform; Paperflite is a strategic ally, optimizing your sales cycle, enhancing team efficiency, and delivering insights for success.


Cleverstory- Interactive Content Creation


Cleverstory, the user-friendly content experience platform designed for professionals seeking impactful content creation without coding skills. 


With a drag-and-drop interface, it allows the creation of interactive content across various formats. Cleverstory adapts content for seamless delivery on any device and provides actionable insights, including views, shares, downloads, time spent, and engagement metrics. 


It can transform static content like PDFs and PPTs into interactive experiences with a simple upload.  And you get to Choose from a variety of immersive templates, saving time on content creation. 


HubSpot- CRM Software


HubSpot is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software that coordinates how customer data is stored and managed.


In addition, it tracks customer interactions, lead and pipeline management, automate tasks, and analyze results for the sales team.


This tool will improve the efficiency of your sales team, boost their interaction with customers, and allow you to make informed decisions. 


Klently- Sales Management Software 


Klenty is a software that manages sales by automating outreach, follow-ups and lead nurturing.


Thus when applied in B2B selling process it can increase the productivity of the sales teams as well as increasing leads transformation rates among other things.


Gong- Revenue Intelligence Platform


Gong is the undisputed leader in revenue intelligence. It’s a valuable tool for the outbound sales team because it provides insights into sales conversations, enabling sales coaching, performance optimization, and deal forecasting. 

Therefore, it can help to improve the sales team's performance, improve deal outcomes, and increase revenue.


Monday- Project Management Tool


Project management tool Monday helps with project planning, collaboration, and task management, ensuring that sales projects remain on course.

With features like task tracking, project timelines, team collaboration, and customizable workflows, it improves efficiency in projects.


Also, it improves project efficiency and enhances team collaboration, as well as making sure that projects are delivered on time.




What is the first step in the B2B selling process?


Lead generation. That involves identifying potential leads and understanding how to reach them effectively. Sales reps generally conduct extensive research to understand their target market.


What is the hardest part of B2B sales?


A long sales cycle. Considering the cost of B2B products and their potential impact, buyers may take a long time to close the deals. Sometimes, you may have to send emails, make phone calls, and even meet offline.


What are the key responsibilities of B2B sales?


  • Building a strong connection with clients
  • Prospecting
  • Understanding customer needs
  • Presenting solutions effectively
  • Negotiating deals
  • Ensuring customer satisfaction for long-term partnerships.




Effective management of the complete B2B sales process in an organization proves instrumental in reaching that revenue projection and hitting those sales quotas. 


Constant repetition carries conviction.” 


Mastering the B2B sales process is more than just knowing what it consists off. Constant repetition and experience in every stage will help you tailor the complete process to suit your style. 



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