How to Make Your Sales Smarter Through Sales Process Mapping

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Every business needs a plan, and it’s no different when it comes to sales. While gut feelings and intuition might be a method to attract leads and close deals, what happens when they fail?

To eliminate the need for guesswork and luck, a solid sales process needs to be established, ensuring consistency and a positive outcome. This is where sales process mapping can make your sales smarter.

What is sales process mapping?

A sales process is an approach to selling a product or service. It involves several predefined and repeatable steps leading to a predictable outcome. By following the steps each time, you can expect similar results.

If every department or employee has a different sales process, the outcome will be inconsistent. It would be like each department having a different enterprise pricing strategy. Sales would be negatively affected.

The process needs to be standardized, and that’s where sales process mapping comes in.

A sales process map is a visual representation of the steps, decision points, and potential outcomes your sales team might face. It’s a detailed guide that’s accessible to everyone and can be used to instill confidence in your team when dealing with customers.

It’s different from a sales methodology. A sales process highlights the stages to making a sale, while a sales methodology describes the approach to take during each step. 

While they’re both crucial to success, keeping them separate is vital.

Why should you map your sales process?

By detailing how each sale progresses, your team can gain clarity on how deals happen. They know the routes to take and can avoid veering into rough terrain when interacting with customers.

Some benefits include:

  • Streamlined onboarding
  • Standardized processes enable KPIs to be tracked effectively
  • Highlights common issues to the sales team
  • Instills confidence in your team
  • Builds better relationships with customers
  • A more efficient sales process

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How to create a sales process map

Your sales process map will be unique as it’s specific to you and your customers. Unfortunately, this means there isn’t a pre-designed chart to fill in. However, there is a method to follow to create your sales process map.

Start with the destination

Before you plan a route, you need to know your destination. When mapping your sales process, start at the end. Determine the goal you want to achieve, whether it’s to increase revenue or generate leads. Use a clear goal to help you reverse engineer your process, determining the steps needed to get there.

The sales process isn’t linear. There are a variety of potential outcomes and steps needed for different customers. By starting at the end and working backward, you ensure no steps are skipped when building your map.

Focus on the buyer journey

Your sales process must be customer-centric to sell effectively. Keep the buyers’ journey at the core of your map to cater your process and provide excellent customer service.

Do this by creating buyer personas to understand who your customers are. Analyze their needs and the stages of their journey.

This enables obstacles, customer pain points, and reasons for lost prospects to be identified. It could be your sales team is moving too quickly from one stage to the next, which might damage relationships and your company reputation.

Include everyone

A sales team forms one part of a business, but its success depends on everyone working cohesively. For example, marketing attracts customers, and customer support provides follow-up and assistance. Almost every part of a business is involved in sales, whether it’s to answer a phone or submit VAT return.

Schedule meetings with groups or individuals to identify where they’re involved in the process. Use this as an opportunity to collect feedback about your methods and approach. Ensure you clearly define each person’s role, as this will be crucial for onboarding. 

Whether it’s prospecting, nurturing, converting, or following up on a sale, every department and individual must be considered when putting together a sales process map.

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Define steps

After meeting with everyone, get them to list the sales process they use or have used, especially during their recent sales. Ask them to also list the obstacles and snags they’ve encountered and how they managed to overcome them.

By comparing their approaches, you may find outliers that differ from typical steps but still lead to success. 

Another consideration is the time taken for each sale. By examining slower and faster sales, it’s possible to pinpoint common processes and determine successful steps to a speedier sale. This information can enhance efficiency and streamline business processes.

There are only two things to remember when defining the steps for your map: be customer-centric and be honest. Map the process that’s happening, not the process you want to happen. Don’t exclude anything or paper over cracks for a perfect map.

Keep things visual

A sales process map is a detailed, logical, and useful chart available to every team member. Therefore, it can be challenging to decide what information to include and exclude, but don’t let the details bog you down and clunk up your map. 

Invest time in thinking about the flow of your processes and how best to represent them graphically. Consider working collaboratively, using feedback from your sales team to iterate your process map.

This chart will be unique to your company, so there’s only one hard-and-fast rule to follow: keep it visual.

Track performance

Now you’ve mapped the steps in your process map, it’s imperative you track how well they’re working. Performance indicators are crucial for business processes, and it’s no different here. Determining effective and ineffective processes is vital to improving the success of future sales. 

Decide on what success means to you. Use this to identify the KPIs and metrics to focus on and track. A sales process map isn’t a do-it-and-leave-it exercise. It’s an iterative process, with your first map representing the initial step in improving your sales efforts.

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Improve your process

The purpose of a sales process map is to provide transparency to team members, systemize the sales process, and create actionable, measurable progress steps.

By visualizing every step of the sales process, you can determine which of your current steps are working and which are not, identifying areas for improvement.

Defining clear steps instills confidence in your sales team and eliminates guesswork when dealing with customers, increasing your sales and improving the customer experience.

Revisit your sales process map regularly to enhance the performance and capabilities of your sales team and make your sales process smarter and more successful.

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