A survey of 62 B2B organizations conducted by Vantage Point Performance and the Sales Management Association, and summarized in a Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, found that organizations that had mastered three sales pipeline practices experienced 28% higher revenue growth.
The three practices are clearly defining the sales process, spending at least three hours per month on pipeline management, and training sales managers on pipeline management. Of the three, the first is the most crucial to ensuring efficient, standardized, and streamlined sales processes. Organizations can define a sales process by creating a sales process map.
What is a Sales Process Map?
Process mapping is a management tool that organizations use to visually depict a business process. The most commonly used process map is a flowchart. But many others are used depending on the type of process that is being mapped. For example, a swimlane process map is useful for depicting the employees responsible for completing specific tasks.
A sales process map depicts how an organization’s customers progress through each stage of the sales process. As the authors of the HBR article cited above explain, having a formal sales process means “having clearly defined stages and milestones that are universally understood…your sales process should align with how your customers move through their buying process.”
A sales process map be universally understood and accessible by everyone within the organization. This ensures consistency in the sales process which gets passed on to customers to provide a superior customer experience. The best way to achieve these objectives is by using a standardized notion system to create your process map. BPMN 2.0 is the most effective since it is easily understood by business users and also provides technical users with the ability to represent and implement complex processes.
Getting Ready to Create Your Sales Process Map
Before you can create your sales process map, you need to spend some time thinking about what it is that you want to achieve. For example, your objective may be to increase sales by a certain percentage or boost customer retention. If you know the destination, mapping the journey will be far easier and more effective.
Once you have defined the objective, the next step is to evaluate your existing sales processes. It is important to involve stakeholders in this process. Their feedback will help you make sense of the day-to-day functioning of your processes.
Look at prior sales and evaluate what it took to advance the buyer through each stage of your sales funnel. What were the steps? Which stakeholders were involved? How long did it take to progress through each step? Were there any hiccups? How did the sales team overcome these challenges? What suggestions do stakeholders have to improve your sales process?
Before moving onto the sales process map, make sure you fully understand your customers. Create detailed buyer personas. Determine what your customers need at each stage of the sales process and how you can best meet their needs.
Creating a Sales Process Map
Before you can create your map, you should familiarize yourself with the different types of sales process maps and choose one that best meets your needs. For many organizations creating a basic flow chart using BPMN 2.0 will be the best choice. This can be done manually or in a matter of minutes with BPMN 2.0 compliant business process management (BPM) software.
Sales processes vary greatly across organizations and industries. While no two processes are likely to be the same, each sales process map should include some key components.
A Starting Point
The first step in creating your sales process map is to pick a starting point. This could be as simple as receiving an online inquiry from a lead or receiving a credit application. If you are using BPMN 2.0, you will mark the starting point with a circle.
Sales Process Stages and What Happens in Each Stage
The sales process map should detail each stage in the process. For instance, your sales process may consist of the following stages:
- A discovery call. The sales representative holds a call with a qualified lead to learn more about their needs.
- A demonstration. The sales representative follows up on the discovery call with a scheduled demo of the product or service.
- The proposal. Following the demonstration, the sales team creates an estimate. The sales process map should detail the steps for creating the proposal. The sales process does not advance until the proposal is submitted to the buyer.
- Signed contract. The sales team may obtain a verbal agreement from the buyer before receiving a signed contract. But the process cannot advance to later stages until the signed contract is obtained.
- Delivery and Implementation. The product or service is implemented. A complex implementation process may require extensive subprocesses.
- Post-sales process. This stage details how the client receives support, upsells, and how retention is supported.
With BPMN 2.0, it is simple to depict all aspects of the sales process. From the process level to subprocesses to tasks.
In addition to showing all the steps, the sales process map must clearly depict how the process progresses from start to finish and align with CRM. The flow is depicted with arrows.
This allows management and employees to visualize and understand the process. This ensures that there are no deviations from the process and allows organizations to achieve continuity in business processes.
ProcessMaker has helped countless organizations in a broad range of industries to transform their sales processes. ProcessMaker offers a BPMN 2.0 compliant intelligent business process management and low-code platform that makes it simple to design, implement, analyze, improve, and automate sales processes.