Process mapping has been proven as a great technique for standardizing activities and, consequently, improving business results. The benefits of mapping processes are quite clear for all types of process but today we’ll focus on sales process mapping and the mistakes people make when mapping their sales activities.
Even though it’s been largely established as a great technique for improving processes’, some leaders (in both small and large organizations) still lack the vision for understanding all the potential benefits in sales process mapping.
If you’re interested in knowing more about what process mapping is and how important it is, check out some of our previous articles. If you want to know more about sales process mapping mistakes, stick around and check them out.
Sales process mapping: what not to do
Mistake #1: Map the ideal process (instead of the real one)
We’ve already talked about this I’ll repeat it over and over again until it’s engraved forever in your brain: sales process mapping is not about creating your vision of what an ideal sales process would be!
It’s about observing your current sales processes, mapping the activities that are currently part of it and, only after you’ve thoroughly mapped the real process as it currently is you can focus on proposing gradual improvements for it.
Mapping the idea of a perfect sales process likely lead on to a failed implementation of a process that’s far too distant from your company’s reality. In order for it to work, change must happen gradually and respecting your team’s limitations and their ability to adapt to these changes.
Mistake #2: Too much focus on detail
Mistake #2 is one that haunts one too many sales process mapping attempts. When focusing on mapping a sales process (or any other process, for that matter), people tend to think there’s no such thing as too many details and easily lose track of the big picture.
A process is as much about the input and output as it is about each detailed step in between. As we’ve mentioned above, things will surely work out a lot smoother if you start from the ‘big’ aspects of each activity so that later on you can break them down into smaller details.
Check out this step-by-step guide on how to map your processes we’ve put together to help you avoid losing focus. Roughly specify your processes main elements: the input, the output and what it takes to get you from point A to point B.
Only after you’ve outlined these main elements you can start breaking them down into smaller parts, always focusing on the part each of these smaller elements plays into the big picture.
Mistake #3: Focus on the wrong person
Do you think your sales processes are about the people in your company’s sales department? If you do, I’m sorry to inform you, they’re not. Your sales processes are first and foremost about the people your selling to: your customers.
Focusing on the wrong people when mapping your sales processes is a great way of making the whole thing go wrong. Your sales department employees are, of course, involved in all the activities you’re mapping in your sales processes but the focus of it must always be the customer.
You know when people say ‘the customer is always right’? Even though they may not always necessarily be right, their point of view is (and always will be) the one you should keep in mind when mapping an activity or deciding on a way to improve it.