- Identify your goals to organize your process map. When you are finished mapping the current process you can refine the map showing what can be expected in how the goal is achieved. As individuals work toward consensus in the activity steps, they develop and entrench best practices for achieving the goals.
- Identify how to create value for the customer throughout the process. Specifically identify areas such as prospecting, qualifying, selling and delivering. For example, when selling to a customer, create value by ensuring you understand the customers' application requirements well enough so that you can credibly demonstrate that your solution is best for their needs.
- Map tools, skills and performance metrics with the process. As products and services move through their economic life cycles, sellers must change their marketing and qualifying strategies accordingly. In addition, the Sales Manager can then identify bottlenecks or weak links, allowing resources to be allocated most effectively. For example, if you are not generating enough good prospects, adding salespeople or engaging expensive training services may not help. Instead, the process should be improved first, in order to create enough prospects or better prospects. New sales personnel are only added after the processes have been improved and entrenched. It is a lot cheaper and productive to fix the processes before spending money on new staff or training.
- Engage your people in process mapping to define problems and solutions. This approach also allows people to participate in setting their own goals by drilling into more detailed analyses and metrics to improve performance. To refine your sales process requires the hearts and minds of your people to create a common vision.
Mapping your sales process is an ideal tool when it is accomplished through team collaboration. With a clear focus on customer value at every stage, it is a power tool for removing roadblocks and constraints. In summary, sales process mapping provides the following benefits to any organization because it:
- enables the team to tap into the customer and trace a path to your business,
- ensures that the team can pull together to create real value, so salespeople don't have to go outside the system, which sales people often do,
- helps individuals understand and accept organizational changes across functions,
- provides the framework for measuring performance goals, which people can set for themselves.
Process mapping brings huge potential for creating breakthroughs in organizational sales performance. It's a proven low cost tool that provides demonstrative, productivity improvements in sales. Until you do this, you can't really define what size your sales staff should be or how to help them improve their performance.
Linda Hanson, CMC, is a certified management consultant and author of 10 Steps to Marketing Success. She writes, speaks and consults on marketing, management and customer service issues and can be contacted at www.llhenterprises.com. Sign up for her free newsletter The Superior Performance Report.