What is the sales ladder and how do you use it?

Joakim Steenfos

2 Nov, 2023

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What is the sales ladder and how do you use it?

The Sales Staircase is an important model in the sales and marketing world that can help you structure your sales process and optimize results. In this article, we’ll dive into what the sales ladder really is and how you can use it to increase your company’s efficiency.

What is the sales ladder?

The sales ladder is a strategic model used to guide potential customers from interest to purchase. The model consists of a series of steps or phases that customers go through in the buying process, helping companies manage and optimize their sales efforts.

The model consists of five steps that include identifying a potential customer, building relationships, presenting and demonstrating the product or service, negotiating and finally agreeing on the sale. Furthermore, there are two stages that include activities after the sale is closed – these two stages consist of upselling and after-sales. The sales ladder helps you create a structured view of your sales process and ensures effective results in terms of conversions and closed deals.

The sales ladder is important in the sales process as it provides a picture of the customer journey and helps identify the necessary actions to reach a successful close.

The 5 steps of the sales ladder

Below is a brief overview of the 5 steps of the sales ladder. The sales ladder should almost be seen as a kind of blueprint to help you boost your sales.

  • Step 1: Prepare for conversation
  • Step 2: Contact and qualify
  • Step 3: uncover needs
  • Step 4: Quotation, presentation and sales meeting
  • Step 5: Win the customer

In addition, some salespeople work with two additional steps that deal with the aftermath of the meeting:

  • Steps 6-7: Retention, upsell and post-sale

How do you use the sales ladder in practice?

Step 1: Prepare for conversation

Conduct market research to identify the persona, ICP and their needs. Then divide your customers into different segments based on their needs and preferences so you know which problems and needs to address.

Step 2: Contact and qualify

When contacting your leads, it’s important to be very specific about your solution and their needs. Make sure you’re talking to the right person and that they have the mandate to make the decision for the company.

Step 3: Uncover needs

Once you’ve qualified that you’re talking to the right person, you need to make sure you’re solving their needs. Here, it’s important that you speak about the person’s specific issues. Show confidence and demonstrate through references or other proof of concept that you can solve their problems.

Step 4: Quotation, presentation sales meeting

Create an offer tailored to the problems the person has specified in the conversation with you. It’s important to have a generic template that can be tailored to the specific needs of your business.

Step 5: Win the customer

Once the offer is presented, make sure it’s easy for the company to sign up and become a customer. You can do this by having an intelligent contract system, following up, reviewing the contract with the person and setting a deadline.

Steps 6-7: Retention, upsell and post-sale

Once you’ve managed to close the customer, it’s important to retain them. Therefore, use a CRM system to build long-term relationships and create loyalty. Stay connected with regular communication and personalized follow-up to ensure your customers continue to choose your business. It’s also possible to get the customer to upgrade to a larger contract that solves more of their problems and becomes harder to do without.

Why use the sales ladder?

The sales ladder is an effective way to structure and optimize your sales process. It’s especially used for B2B sales where the sales cycle is longer, the order size is larger and there are more decision-makers. It’s precisely in these sales where you as a salesperson need a tool that can really help you know what steps to go through, why and how. Here are some of the benefits of using the sales ladder:

Better overview

The sales ladder helps you get a clear and structured overview of all steps in the sales process. You can easily identify where your leads are in the process and what actions need to be taken to move them forward.

More efficient sales flow

By defining specific actions and goals for each phase of the sales process, you can create a more efficient sales flow. You can ensure that everyone involved in the sale has a clear understanding of what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.

Increased conversion rate

By following the sales ladder, you can increase your conversion rate. You can identify any bottlenecks in the process and implement the necessary changes to improve conversion rates.

Personalized follow-up

The sales ladder allows you to stay in touch with your leads throughout the sales process and follow up on their experience personally. It helps build a good relationship with them, which increases the likelihood of conversion.

How to put the sales ladder into practice

To put the sales ladder into practice, you need to identify the specific actions and goals for each phase of the sales process to be included in the sales ladder.

Customize the steps to your company’s specific needs by incorporating your products or services, customer segments and market trends.

You should also implement a CRM system to support the process. The CRM can be used to see where a lead is in your pipeline, follow up and track their engagement with your website to see which services interest them.

Sales ladder summary

The first five steps of the sales ladder take you from the first contact with a lead until the deal is signed. The two additional steps ensure you’re prepared for the work of retaining the customer after the sale and potentially upgrading them to a larger solution.

By using the different steps of the sales ladder and adapting them to your business needs, the sales ladder can help you create an effective sales strategy.

To fully utilize the sales ladder, you should implement a CRM system that can ensure personalized follow-up and tracking of your potential customers – all in one place.

Optimize the sales process with Radiant

At Radiant, we consult and execute on building your sales process strategicallyand practically in HubSpot CRM. We have implemented and designed more than 100 sales processes in HubSpot on behalf of a number of prominent tech, SaaS, professional services and finance companies.

We use a wide range of tools such as Vainu, LassoX, LinkedIn to sample data for the sales process, target customers where they are, and do smarter segmentation where we can speak into their problems using AI.

All this is done through HubSpot as a Service and Sales as a Service.

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