After years of working with diverse sales teams from fledgling start-ups to large enterprises, I have learned there is one thing that all sales teams have in common: we rely heavily on process to accomplish our goals. Even the “lone-wolf” sales rep who doesn’t update the CRM because “everything is in their head” can consistently hit their sales goals if they follow some sort of process.
Since a process is defined as a series of actions or steps taken to achieve a particular outcome, a sales process refers to the series of steps that your sales organization follows to close a deal. For this reason, a sales process is essential to your success, regardless of your role on the team. As former HubSpot CRO, Mark Roberge, stated, “Trying to scale your business without a sales process is like driving in the dark.”
Now that we’ve established the importance of having a sales process, it’s alarming to note how many sales professionals don’t have an up-to-date sales process flowchart or even have a process diagrammed at all! The old saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” In sales, a well-diagrammed process could prove to be worth millions in revenue.
Chances are you’re missing an important piece in your sales process. Whether you’re a sales leader running multiple teams or a front-line contributor looking to smash your personal quota, when trying to improve sales performance, taking the time to build a sales process flowchart will help you identify where you need to focus in order to optimize sales performance.
Use this simple process as a guideline:
1. Start with this basic example I created in Lucidchart and add or remove steps to modify it for your team. It’s free to create a Lucidchart account to view and create your own sales process flowchart. If you get stuck, observe recently closed deals along with deals that are currently in the pipeline. Clearly define the actions that will move your sale to the next stage. Be mindful of the process from the buyer’s perspective and consider what causes them to progress to each step.
2. If you’re in a leadership or support role, have each of your sales reps also map out their own processes. Remember the lone-wolf quota crusher I mentioned earlier? This is where you can identify what they are doing to be successful. If you’re a front-line contributor, it’s helpful to have a teammate map out their process so you can compare diagrams.
3. Now that you have a sales process flowchart, you’re ready to begin measuring results at each stage of your process. Metrics should be reviewed on a regular basis so you can quickly identify trends.
4. Observe closely and don’t hesitate to make adjustments to your process map as needed based on feedback from your team members and/or customers. Keep in mind that your sales process is much like a living organism that will continue to evolve.
You will see that understanding and communicating a process through a flowchart is much easier than using words alone. Mapping out your sales process provides the visibility necessary to accurately pinpoint where in the process you need to focus to improve. Even before any analysis is conducted, the mere exercise of mapping out your sales process helps increase awareness of inefficiencies or other related issues that could be hindering performance.
Now that your sales process flowchart is complete, you’re well on your way to creating a sales process that is scalable and predictable.