The 5 Sales deal stages that you need to track

What are the sales deal stages?

The sales cycle and the buying cycle

A sales cycle mirrors the purchase cycle- or it should.

The customer moves from initial awareness to interested and gets more involved in the decision making. He evaluates the solution and compares features, price and so on. Finally, he is ready with a decision.

Similarly, a sales cycle proceeds from initial sketchy understanding to deeper understanding- we learn more about the customer and his objectives, needs, how much he is prepared to spend and by when. The customer learns more about our solution as well. While this is a continuum, it is useful to create milestones to really understand how much work is still left to convert the opportunity/ deal into a purchase order. These milestones are the sales deal stages.

What makes it interesting is that, in almost all cases, you will have lesser quantity of deals in advanced stages of sales progression than at the beginning. What you lose in quantity, you make up for in quality- in being able to convert a far higher percentage of the advanced deals into orders.

Lots of names are used for the sales deal stages. Here’s what we use:

sales deal stagesYou will see many, different names being used- depending on industries, even companies- they all use their own. Here’s how Hubspot describes the lead progression stages. Let us at least tell you what ours stand for.

Illustrating sales deal stages on the deal details screen

The 5 sales deal stages

Prospecting:

You have just enough information about a potential sale. Some approximate idea of the budget and initial idea of the product/ solution fit to his needs.

Budget known, At least one Decision maker identified, Budget not identified, Budget Stage not identified.

Opportunity:

Now you are sizing out the opportunity. Enough to schedule a visit/ call- some task to progress the deal with the decision makers. To early to forecast the time-frame or indeed the chance of closure.

At least one decision maker identified, Budget value OR stage identified, not yet met with or discussed the solution with the decision makers, some task scheduled.

Investigation:

A lot more information and interaction under your belt. You have met with the decision maker (s), discussed the solution enough to report their reaction to it, have a better grip on the budget size and approval cycle. And, you can commit yourself to a forecast date (howsoever tentative) or even a chance of win (howsoever low!).

Presentation:

The final stage before you reach the stage of closure. At this stage, you are in possession of all the information related to the deal. You have also submitted a firm priced proposal.

This stage is called Presentation because it is here that you are making the final solution presentation to the clients to swing the deal your way.

Closure:

Closure is often mistaken as a Win. While that may be the desirable outcome 🙂 , we take a deal closure as the stage where the deal is awarded to one of the competitors, including you!

It is close enough after the Presentation stage; so, think of this as the Presentation stage done and waiting for the result- handling last minute objections, ensuring your messages have sunk in and definitely a sales deal stage which can be forecasted to close in the next month or so.

 

The story of Saleswah CRM

Saleswah CRM is a new product, but it rides on 2 years of experience with its predecessor the Salesgenie CRM++.

We launched Salesgenie CRM++ more than 2 years back. It was a web-based comprehensive CRM software that allowed sales, marketing to share data and collaborate. Salesgenie CRM++ focused on the sales process tracking and monitoring. We launched it in the Nasscom Product Conclave, 2010- among the top ten products Nasscom chose to introduce in the Product Conclave that year.
We acquired customers and learn a lot from their usage experience. Among the most important things our customers told us were:
– they wanted to monitor activities as much as processes
– they wanted to have a CRM which sold to individual owned businesses much as enterprises
– they wanted a more comprehensive reporting capability
– they wanted to be able to assign tasks and see if they are being closed.

We listened, and the result is Saleswah!
We could have called it Salesgenie CRM++; the “new, improved”. There are two reasons we did not.

1. We have gone way beyond what Salesgenie CRM++ set out to do or indeed was able to do. Salesgenie CRM++ was meant to be a pure-play B2B Sales and Marketing automation product. It was more a profile and event logging and  process tracking tool. Saleswah does much more- it adds significant task and activity management features, adds process triggers and significantly enhances the reporting capabilities and adds a some really useful dashboards. We also have blurred the distinction between B2B and B2C- you are now as much able to use this products for selling to other businesses as to individuals.

So, it is not just an improved product- it is in many ways, a different product.

2. On Salesgenie CRM++, we did not have a dot.com domain! On Saleswah.com, we do.

This matters to us. It did not matter to you, our customers of Salesgenie; but, it mattered to us. Also, we discovered those who owned the dot com domain in Salesgenie, had a database service. Different service; but, we felt we did not want the confusion.

Two things that are new:

Saleswah CRM adds two features that Salesgenie CRM++ did not have.

1. An evergrowing set of reports and dashboards; to make sense of all the information you are capturing to gain insight into your business.

2. Task Management: Saleswah has a comprehensive task management functionality- define tasks like “Call”, “Meet personally”, “Demo”, “Collect cheque” and assign them to your executives, set deadlines and monitor closures. Simple to use, easy to track on the Tasks Dashboard. You will love it.

What about the existing Salesgenie ORM++ users? Well, if anything, they will see all the improvements when the migrate to Saleswah, and we will help them through the process.

Some things that do not change: Saleswah continues to be web-based and if anything, even easier to use and definitely easier on the pocket. You see, we now have 3 levels of user licensing – so, you can choose just the level of your individual users – don’t pay for features that your users do not use! Our licenses can now start at as low as US$4 (Rs 220/- for customer based out of India) per user per month!