5 Steps to Structure Your Deal Stages Like a Pro - Amplify Group
As a founder, you already know that structuring your company's deal stages is an essential aspect of your sales process. However, it might not always be easy to know where to start. This confusion is completely understandable, and common. Here are five easy steps to help you streamline your sales process and better manage your pipeline and performance.
Map out your sales process
Begin by mapping out a general outline of your sales process. By identifying each step, you'll have a better idea of how to structure your deal stages.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What steps does a lead need to go through before becoming our customer? Examples might include, a demo, procurement, security review, legal review, etc.
- What criteria do we consider essential to qualify a lead as a good fit for our solution?
- Who is our buyer or decision maker? What other stakeholders are likely involved (the buying center)?
- What information do we need from the customer to qualify them?
- What information do we need from the customer to provide pricing or a proposal?
- What is the customer doing internally to get approval or team buy in?
Set up a CRM system
Once you have outlined your sales process and buyer personas, the next step is to set up a customer relationship management (CRM) system. This helps you keep your leads organized and track deals effectively. You can use tools like HubSpot, Salesforce, or Pipedrive to manage your deals.
We recommend HubSpot as the optimal solution for most startups given their vast set of features and generous startup discount program.
Create customized deal stages
Now that you have your CRM system in place, you can start creating customized deal stages. Each deal stage represents the steps in your sales process and pipeline.
All deal stages should have a clear customer action and a clear internal action. Each stage should represent continued alignment and progression from both sides of the transaction. Deal stages should also have clear descriptions and objective exit criteria.
Each business will have unique deal stages, but an excellent starting point is usually:
- Stage 1 - Discovery (Meeting booked)
- Stage 2 - Scoping & Demo
- Stage 3 - Proposal or Pricing
- Stage 4 - Documentation
- Closed Won, or Closed Lost
When should you create a deal
For B2B sales, you should only create a deal when a prospective customer has agreed to and scheduled a meeting or demo. If you do not have a meeting, you do not have a deal.
If you are looking to identify target accounts or contacts, use account status or lead status for that (cold lead, hot lead, marketing qualified lead etc). Leads are not the same as deals. Leads convert to deals or opportunities.
Measure and Analyze Your Deals Performance
Once you've set up your deal stages, measuring and analyzing their performance is critical. It shows you which stages are working well and which challenges to address. Use these insights to improve your sales process and close more deals.
- Are you converting most of your deals to a demo, but then losing them? Perhaps there is a product issue or improvements that could be made to the demo process.
- Are you losing most of your deals at pricing? Is there a pricing issue? Or perhaps you need to revisit your definition of your ideal customer profile or buyer persona?
- What are your total average conversions from first meeting to closed won deal? Do you have enough deals to hit your revenue targets (pipeline coverage)?
Structuring your deal stages is an iterative (and evergreen) process, but the effort is necessary to properly manage your pipeline and measure your performance. By following these five simple steps, you can streamline your sales process, save time, and close more deals.