Most businesses want to make more sales. The problem for many struggling sales teams: they focus on working harder (doing more) rather than smarter (doing the right things at the right time). They don’t have a plan.
Capturing your process in a sales process map is one way to help teams identify process improvement opportunities and close more deals.
A sales process is the series of interactions between a company and a lead that take the prospect from New Lead to Customer to Raving Fan. Typically these steps can be clearly defined so that even the newest member of a sales team can execute them with ease.
Consider the documented sales process a roadmap. It guides your sales team on what to do during each phase of the customer journey–from someone becoming aware of your products or services to ending with a sale–or repeat sale.
A sales process map is a visual approach to outlining all the steps used to sell your products or services. For each step of the process you identify the touchpoint, who’s executing that touchpoint (bonus points if it’s automated) and the completion deadline. The next step is then based on the outcome of that previous touchpoint (for example, one step may be: Automated email inviting prospects to set up a demo call. Do they schedule? If yes, the next interaction will be different than if no. Creating this visual process map gives business owners and sales managers alike the opportunity to evaluate each step of their sales process and identify leaks, loose ends, and gaps in messaging.
Every sales process should be a series of steps that are:
Investing the time to create a well thought out sales process map will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your sales team. It will help you:
Additionally, it will lead to:
As your team creates and develops the process, you also get to experience your customers’ journey firsthand. Instead of thinking about how your prospect should act or react, you can think empathetically about your touchpoints. In short: you’ll convert your sales process from reactive to proactive.
Sales process mapping clearly defines each and every interaction that could take place in a sales process. It’s rarely linear, but rather, is defined over a series of interactions broken up by step function changes (Stages!) of your sales process.
Flow charts capture the multiple decision points of an actual customer journey. They provide scenarios where different conversations and outcomes can lead to the same end place.
For example, when discussing pricing, a lead may A) agree to the price or B) need time to process and negotiate C) say “no way” emphatically. A good diagram would capture what to do in all three cases.
Are you excited to start mapping? Here are some tips to help the process go smoother:
Most road trips begin with a destination preselected. You don’t want to drive around aimlessly wasting your time, money, and fuel, hoping you find a route or city you enjoy.
The same is true for your sales cycle. What is your end goal? Be specific and have a concrete goal about why you’re mapping your sales process now. Some examples could be:
If your team has been working without a sales process for a while, they probably have different ways to close a sale. Those different approaches can give you great insight as to what works best.
Find out what’s working. Meet with individuals or small groups to discuss how each salesperson wins a deal. Compare notes. Nail down the best practices and triggers that move the sales process along.
For a sales process to be effective, you must see everything through the customer’s eyes. One problem some teams run into while creating their processes is outlining it the way they believe it should happen. As if they have control over a prospect’s behavior.
Sure, there are things you can do to steer the prospect’s behavior in a particular direction… but the most effective sales processes are empathetic at the forefront. An effective process will seek to address customers’ needs, desires, objections, and emotions.
Seeing the sales process as a human process allows you to understand the different directions a customer’s journey may take and how to keep your products and services on their radar.
Sounds like some kind of Zen mantra, right? Juxtaposing simple and comprehensive–is that possible?
Think of it this way. Once you have the first draft of your map, give it a few days and return to it.
Ask yourself a couple of questions:
Mold it into something clear, concise, and efficient. Then show it to someone outside the sales team. Have them explain it to you. If they can summarize your sales process without missing important steps, you’ve hit the nail on the head.
After you take the time and energy to create a sales process map, make sure it gets used. One way of doing that is building it into your company’s software.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software, like Pipedrive, has features that enable you to build your sales process right into the tool. For instance, Pipedrive’s philosophy is that the right series of actions executed at the right time will close more deals, so if you program your sales steps into Pipedrive as activities, you’ll be off to the races (and the bank!).
Carefully programming your CRM to match your sales process map ensures your software solution gets used to its fullest capabilities. You get the most out of your investment while increasing the efficiency and success of your sales team.
CRMs also empower you with data. When designed thoughtfully, your CRM will be able to give you rich information about which steps of the process are working and which aren’t. You can also see how your sales reps perform individually and as a team and which lead sources are worth your investment.