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5 simple steps to mastering the sales process and boosting your bottom line

Contrary to what many think, creating a sales process is extremely important to revenue generation. 

It keeps your sales team on track and ensures your reps use tactics that have been proven to convert leads into clients. 

Plus, it makes a serious impact on your sales and profitability. Companies that implement a sales process almost always see more consumption of their products or services.

In fact, research by the Harvard Business Review found that companies with a defined sales process have 8% higher sales growth than those that don’t.

“Businesses with a defined sales process have 8% higher sales growth.“

— Harvard Business Review.

With this in mind, it becomes clear that companies without a sales process need one. The problem is that businesses are either unfamiliar with a sales process, or feel that it’s not something that suits their needs.

Sales processes take into account both customer needs and concerns. So creating one for your business paves way for a promising financial opportunity. 

Even if your business is not experiencing problems in their sales department, a sales process only leads to better results.

Throughout this article, we cover the series of steps that define a sales process. These have helped countless successful companies reach their goal of increasing sales and growing operations. 

Before we dive in, however, let’s review: what are the five steps of the sales process? 

  1. Prospecting
  2. Qualification
  3. Nurture
  4. Final Pitch
  5. Closing

Each sales process step is equally as important as the others. Now that we’ve covered this, let’s take a closer look at each stage of the 5 step sales process.

1. Prospecting

The first part of your 5 step sales process journey is prospecting.

This is the part of the sales cycle where you find people to sell to.

Since sales teams can reach out to anyone with even the smallest digital footprint, the choice of who to prospect is almost endless. 

But more choice isn’t always better, so here’s how to narrow things down and strategically prospect for the smoothest sale process possible.

Identify your best customers

When choosing sales prospects, you want to look for people who resemble your best customers.

These are the people who:

  • Buy from you the most.
  • Leave you amazing Google reviews.
  • Refer their friends to you.
  • Champion your brand.
  • Make payments on time.

While you might have a good idea of who these customers are, you’ll want to back up your assumptions with data. To do this you’ll want to turn to your CRM solution as it will help you see who in your customer base:

  • Converted the fastest and at the lowest cost.
  • Is a frequent customer.
  • Spends the most with your business.

Once you’ve gathered this information, you’ll know who your best customers are and can now look for key points that tie them together.  

Find similarities between your best customers

Now that you’ve established who your best customers are, you’ll want to look for similarities that unify them. 

Doing this will help you narrow down the prospecting pool and maximize your ability to convert leads into customers. 

You’ll want to look for characteristics your best customers share, such as their:

  • Age.
  • Gender.
  • Job title.
  • Education level.
  • Location.

Once you’ve found some patterns in your best customer list, you can now use these insights to inform your sales strategy

During prospecting, you’ll want to reach out to people who have the characteristics of your best customers. 

Reading up on prospective clients before performing outreach saves you time, money, and aggravation. This way, you can focus on the prospects who are most likely to buy from you and generate the most revenue for your business. 

2. Qualification

Now that you’ve found people who are likely to buy your product or service, you’ll want to make sure they can actually purchase it. Sales processes are ineffective if you target the wrong people.

To qualify your prospects, here are 3 questions to get you started: 

  1. Does this person have a need for what I’m selling? 
  2. Do they have the money to buy my product? 
  3. Do they want to make this purchase in the immediate future? 

Once you’ve identified prospects with a budget and need for your product, it becomes much easier to prioritize which leads you should put the most energy into. 

3. Nurture

The next element of the 5 step sales process is to nurture the prospects in your sales pipeline and begin developing a professional relationship with them.

To do this successfully, you need to be strategic and purposeful in how you follow up with potential customers. Tailor your follow-up to the prospect you nurture.

The first step in doing this is to keep an accurate record of all the touchpoints you have with a lead. 

And while pen and paper can capture these details, they’re not your best bet. 

Using a solution with activity tracking such as Method:CRM will ensure that all prospect communication is documented and associated with the right contact. 

This kind of visibility into nurture efforts allows you to see exactly when and how you last got in touch with a lead. 

Using this information, your salespeople can create nurture strategies based on a lead’s communication habits and preferences. 

This information will strengthen professional relationships and give your reps the opportunity to develop a rapport with your clients. In turn, they will maximize the effectiveness of their nurture efforts. 

4. Final pitch

As we approach the end of the 5 step sales process, let’s look at how to make a great sales pitch. 

The trick here is to prepare for and personalize your sales pitch as much as possible. 

To do this, you need to review all the notes you have on a potential customer and put yourself in their shoes. 

You want to think about how your product will bring value to this person specifically and then echo these benefits in your sales pitch. 

Pitching should involve identifying and offering a solution to the issues that the individual has. Make sure to highlight a relevant use case or example at this point in the sales cycle.

You also need to prepare to handle objections from your buyer as well as go head-to-head with your competitors. 

This means thinking of every reason your buyer may not go through with the purchase and creating a strong argument as to why this isn’t a viable option. 

5. Closing

The bottom of the 5 step sales process structure: closing. 

Now that you’ve brought a lead through the sales funnel, it’s time for them to take the plunge and purchase. 

And while this may sound simple, it often isn’t. 

Despite your best efforts to qualify, nurture, and share the value of your product, many buyers can still be on the fence at this stage of the sales cycle. Getting someone to commit – especially to sign a contract – often feels futile.

Here are some tips to help you overcome buyer hesitation and close the sale: 

  1. Provide content with social proof like customer testimonials and case studies to confirm their decision to purchase
  2. Highlight how the benefits of your product outweigh its cost
  3. Make buying as frictionless of an experience as possible with online, self-service options like customer portals

Even if your sales process is perfect, trying to convert leads into paying customers will not always work. But acknowledging and implementing each step of the sales process will do nothing but help your business nonetheless.

Measuring the success of the 5 step process

There are a few ways to measure the success of your 5 step sales process. 

One way is calculating your lead-to-opportunity rate. Leads can be anyone that you think will have an interest in your product. Opportunities are those who have actually confirmed that interest. 

Similarly, you can measure your opportunity-to-close rate. Figuring out how many of those opportunities become paying customers will give you insight on the efficacy of your sales process.

Common mistakes in the 5 step process

Some common mistakes in the 5 step sales process are when businesses:

  • Look in the wrong places for leads.
  • Value some steps over others.
  • Follow the same generic approach for different leads.
  • Cling onto leads that won’t work out.
  • Ignore the big picture.

How to use technology to enhance the process

There are several ways to use technology to enhance the 5 step sales process. However, the most powerful way to do so is with an activity tracker like Method:CRM

Tracking each step in your CRM software will help you through the process and give you valuable data for the future. Below is a preview of how Method:CRM enhances your sales process.


5 step sales process recap

A critical part of any company’s success, here’s the 5 step sales process you need to follow to grow your business.

  1. Prospecting – Look for and find prospects who are similar to your best customers. 
  2. Qualification – Use qualifying questions to prioritize your leads.
  3. Nurture – Track all nurture activities to get the most out of your efforts. 
  4. Final pitch – Personalize your pitch to your potential buyer and prepare to overcome any objections.
  5. Closing –  Give potential customers the information needed to make a decision they’re happy with. 

To close out this blog, let’s review an example of the sales process. Let’s say you’re a wholesaler seeking the right distribution channel. 

  • The first step takes into account your history with existing clients. This clarifies what sort of distributors will support your business and retail your products. 
  • Next, research if these prospective distributors are able to retail your wholesale products. They might not have sufficient funds, or direct access to the markets that you target. Or, they might just not be interested in what you wholesale.
  • Then the nurturing begins. Here’s when you show your lead how the features of your wholesale business will suit their exact needs. Record your touchpoints with each distributor you nurture with an activity tracker like Method:CRM.
  • Then comes your final pitch. This is all about giving them a feeling of security regarding your business. Ultimately, leave them to their own devices, but make sure to reiterate just how much they would benefit from choosing you.
  • Finally, once they’re content with you as their wholesaler, you need to close the deal. It sounds simple, but you could do everything right and still fail to close. What’s important is to try to reinforce their initial desire to distribute your products.

5 step sales process FAQs

How do you define the 5 step sales process?

The 5 step sales process outlines the process from prospect to paying customer. It’s designed to help you figure out the best ways to acquire new customers. The steps to the sales process are as follows:

  1. Prospecting.
  2. Qualification.
  3. Nurture.
  4. Final pitch.
  5. Closing.

Who developed the 5 step sales process?

Real-estate entrepreneur Grant Cardone developed the 5 step sales process.

Who is the target audience for the 5 step sales process?

The target audience for the 5 step sales process is anyone who will: 

  • Benefit from your product or service.
  • Follow through with a purchase. 
  • Spread awareness of your brand.

Step 1 and 2 already filter out those who aren’t a good fit. So you can and should apply the sales process whenever a new lead hits your radar.

Download your free ebook for insights on how to take your sales process to the next level.

Image credit: Christina via Unsplash

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