October 5, 2021

Mapping The Sales Process

Ever wondered what salespeople do when they are not talking to customers? How do they sell, and how do they know if their product is good enough? We've built a map of the typical sales process to help you get better acquainted with your customer.

A sales process is simply the steps in the journey of an account. A salesperson's job is to reach out, qualify opportunities, and work with accounts to achieve revenue goals for their company. 

A sales process helps outline the necessary tasks that are needed to close an opportunity with a qualified account. Mapping your own sales processes allows you to understand what specific activities need to be completed when working with different types of accounts. 

Using incomplete or incorrect information during this process can significantly decrease the amount of time it takes you to reach each stage of the sale. Hence, resulting in lost deals or opportunities. 


Mapping Your Own Sales Processes With Unfolding Opportunities

In any complex sale, some opportunities unfold over time. A sales process mapping should be done using chronological steps to show where leads or accounts are at any given moment. This allows the salesperson to understand what steps need to be taken next, and if necessary follow up with previous stages of the opportunity for it to progress forward successfully.


Mapping Your Sales Processes With the Buyer's Journey in Mind

It is important to map your processes from a buyer's perspective. You should start at the end of the sale and work backward, identifying each step that leads to opportunity closure on both sides of the table. A lot goes into making a successful sale, so you need to consider what steps need to be completed for a win-win situation. 

You should include all information that you plan on using or sharing with an account during this process, which may have been obtained from different stages of the buying journey. If there are specific actions needed from both parties for an opportunity to move forward towards closing, make sure they get included as well. 


Building a Sales Process Map

When building a sales process map, consider the following steps: 

  • Define the Starting Point

As said above, you must start at the end of the sale and work backward to create your map.  For example, assume you want to create a sales process map for the SaaS (Software as a Service) company Slack. You can take all of the information you have gathered from previous stages in this sale and begin mapping out your processes with these pieces of information. 

The starting point will be where leads are currently. For Slack, this is when leads are being generated by Marketing or Product Marketing teams through organic search or content marketing campaigns. 

  • Collect The Steps

Now that you have identified your starting point, it is time to start collecting all of the steps involved in reaching an opportunity close. These may include everything from creating quotes or proposals, scheduling demos, creating contract templates, or even following up after each step has been completed. This will help you to create a comprehensive list of all activities that need to be completed. 

  • Align With Stages of the Buyer Journey

It is important to align steps in your sales process with stages from the buyer's journey. This will ensure that your account is always presented with tailored information, and helps you realize when it may be time to follow up or reach out for more details during any stage. 

Most organizations and companies map their customer journey and know this information already, making it easier for you to find which step your opportunity should be at any given moment. If you do not have access to this information, consider working backward from lead generation rather than purchase or end of sale close. You can then identify each stage over time and take the appropriate next step as your opportunity moves through these stages.

  • Avoid Common Mistakes When Mapping Your Sales Processes

There are a few common mistakes that can negatively affect sales processes and ultimately lose deals or opportunities, so it's important to avoid them at all costs: 

1. Not mapping your process from both sides of the table: Either starting with an account's perspective or starting with your own will result in an incomplete map. You should always take into consideration what steps you need to complete for success no matter where you start from during sales process mapping. 

2. Assuming anything: By including every step involved in closing a deal entirely, you allow yourself room for error and ensure no steps are left out along the way. This will help you to avoid guessing, which may lead you down the wrong path. 

3. Losing sight of customers' decision-making process: Even though it can be time-consuming to map your process from an account's perspective, it is always worth the effort to understand their buying patterns and what triggers them into taking action. Without knowing this information, it will be much harder for you to communicate properly with that person or organization.  

4. Forgetting to map your pricing and contract stages: If you are not mapping out your entire sales process, it can be easy to forget that each stage in the journey may require different pricing or contracts. This is especially true if you offer a tiered pricing model or certain cases that need lots of customization. 

5. Not considering all potential blockers: There are always going to be roadblocks along the way in any sale, so consider them when building your process maps. The more thorough you make these maps, the easier it will be for you to identify what's missing and address them before they become bigger issues further down the line. 

6. Leaving out dependencies: Identifying dependencies is crucial to keep your process moving forward. No matter what stage you are at, there are always other people involved that have a say in how things are progressing or which steps need to be taken next. It's important to understand all of these relationships and make sure they align with the overall goal. 


When building your sales process maps, keep in mind that this can be a time-consuming task if it's not already mapped out for you. However, every minute spent upfront will save countless hours later on down the line as things move along smoothly behind the scenes, rather than falling apart because something was left out entirely. 

If time is an issue, consider inviting others from different departments across your organization to help out with the map, including recruiters, account executives, support staff, and anyone else that plays a role in closing deals.


Conclusion

It is important to keep these common mistakes in mind when mapping your sales process so you don't fall into them along the way. As long as you are thorough when making your maps, it will be much easier for you to apply these principles when identifying where opportunities should be at certain stages of the buyer journey. 

By following this simple process map guide, it would be much easier for you to learn how to build a successful sales process step by step that aligns with your unique selling point or value proposition. Definitely, it would demand a lot of time and research, but ultimately allows you to gain focus on all elements required for lead generation success.

The more thoughtful processes that exist across your entire team for each stage in the buying process, the easier it will be for you to keep track of your sales pipeline and maximize its potential. As it would also give your prospects a better idea of what steps they will go through before signing on the dotted line. 

By considering each aforementioned step (in detail) throughout your sales processes, your lead generation campaigns will not only be more effective, but your sales team will have an easier time closing deals.


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Written by

Spencer Farber

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