How to align your sales process steps to match your buyers

How to align your sales process steps to match your buyers

Improve the buyer experience and increase wins through this 7 step sales process

B2B buyers and sellers are rarely on the same page. Often, the seller is following structured sales process steps that don’t match up with the buyer’s journey, leading to frustration, miscommunication and stalled sales deals.
Forget the traditional sales process flowchart. When developing a B2B sales process, the thing you need to focus on is aligning with the steps your buyers are taking toward finding a solution.

The typical buying process

the typical buying process: discovery, diagnosis and assessment, identification, evaluation, selection, selection narrowing, negotiation and validation, close. Blue green aqua lime forrest.

Here’s what buyers are doing in each step of their journey and the sales techniques reps can use to capitalize on each stage of the 7 step sales process:


Buyers: They are either beginning to realize that there is a problem that needs to be dealt with, or they are doing initial research to find out why they are falling behind their competitors.
Sellers: If you’re lucky enough to be talking to the buyer at this stage, this is your best opportunity to demonstrate your industry expertise. Challenge the buyer to discover issues that they didn’t even know they had.
Buyers are often more than halfway through their buying process by the time they speak with a sales rep. –Accenture

Diagnosis and Assessment of Pain Points

Buyers: Now that the buyers know they have a problem, they’re trying to figure out what can be done to solve it.
Sellers: First, determine if your solution can solve their problem. If not, don’t waste time pursuing the deal. If it’s a good fit, start developing a strategy to position your strengths as the best solution to their pain and guide them through the sales funnel.
Sales reps who win deals are 2.5 times more likely to understand the buyer’s needs than second place reps. –RAIN Group

Solution Identification

Buyers: At this point, the buyers are researching all available solutions and deciding which ones are worth pursuing further.
Sellers: Establish trust with your buyer by offering unbiased industry research and even suggesting they look at your competitors’ products. The industry insight you provide will help strengthen the relationship and give credence to the message about the value of your own solution.
46% of buyers create a short list of potential vendors and 33% conduct initial solution research before talking with a sales rep. -Demand Gen Report

Solution Evaluation

Buyers: Once they reach the evaluation stage, buyers are focusing on the specific details about which solution can truly solve their problem and provide the best results.
Sellers: This is your time to shine. Keep on challenging your buyers and presenting your solution as the best in class. Expand the buying team to ensure there are no hidden nay-sayers who could shut down the deal.
59% of sales reps believe improving content relevance to customers will help support selling efforts. –Richardson

Selection Narrowing

Buyers: Buyers eventually start eliminating some of the competition for various reasons, such as high cost, lack of key features or even just because they don’t like the seller.
Sellers: Try to give your buyers the best possible experience. Keep an eye on the buying teams’ activity and watch for any signals that they are starting to lose steam. Work with your champion to address any objections and assure the team that you are the best fit. While you can’t completely avoid the cost conversation, try to keep the buyer focused on the value you provide.
Buyers are 54% more likely to make a second purchase from a vendor who provided a positive buying experience. –Forrester

Negotiation and Validation

Buyers: This is when the buying team really starts to expand, and new requirements and requests start pouring in. Procurement and compliance might get involved. It’s no longer just about your solution— it’s about your company’s track record. Are you still going to be around in a year? Can you prove the results you’re promising? Can they get a better deal than what you’re offering?
Sellers: You’re almost there. You want to make sure that you are responding quickly to all of the requests. Work with your contracts department to make sure that nothing gets stalled.
Before a purchase is finalized, an average of 5.4 people within the buying organization have to sign off on it. –Harvard Business Review


You’ve won the deal! The contract is signed! Time to celebrate!
Sales enablement software can help at every stage in the sales cycle:
  • Keeping your sales reps following the right process
  • Recommending resources based upon CRM data and buyer engagement
  • Improving the buyer experience with personal portals and customized content
  • Providing real time coaching tips to help your sales reps differentiate from the competition

Interested in learning more?

Request a demo today to learn how Accent Accelerate can help with business process management, sales training, buyer-seller alignment and more.

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