February 17, 2023

How to Map Out an Effective Sales Process

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Key takeaways

  • Documentation of processes makes it easier for any organization to create and stick to standards.
  • Sales process mapping helps define roles and responsibilities, as well as create visibility and understanding for everyone involved.
  • Ensure you map your actual process and not just your ideal process.

June 7, 2023: Stylistic changes and updates to content.

One of the most important resources a sales team can have is documentation. Documenting goals, responsibilities, success measurements, and the sales process is essential to any sales manager, business owner, and C-suite executive. Sales process mapping should be the cornerstone of that documentation.

Mapping the sales process is a great way to visually show goals, responsibilities, and the strategy behind how those items will be met. Building a sales map helps support problem-solving, and the development process helps measure results, fosters cross-functionality environments, and promotes autonomy.

Before we get into how maps can help these sales processes, let’s first look at what a sales process map is. 

What is a sales process map?

A sales process map is a visual representation of how your sales team works throughout the sales process. The map may include steps, decision points, and outcomes which may arise during the process.

The word map may be a bit of a misnomer, as this visual can look like anything from a flow chart to a detailed infographic. However, no matter what it looks like, the purpose remains the same: To provide transparency to the sales process for the entire team.

A sales process map showcases sales methodology that can be applied to any approach your sales team uses. The sales process map can also include strategies that are used to close deals.

ALSO READ: Top 8 Sales Mapping Software for Territory Planning

5 ways sales process mapping improves sales

Photo by parabol.co

1. Supports problem-solving

Continuous improvement is critical to the ongoing work process. That’s why process mapping can be an essential tool for improving sales. Everyone from managers to developers can review process documents and identify areas for improved efficiency and profitability.

Process mapping will help you explore each step’s value and results. As a result, you can find opportunities to reduce waste and boost production. Also, the process of revising your map (which should be done often) can help you communicate any changes to your teams.  

Process mapping can also help you reveal solutions for unexpected challenges. For example, if you find one particular team is a blocker, you may need to redefine their turnaround time. This leads us to our next point, how mapping helps perfect the development process. 

2. Helps the Development Process

Anytime you have a new goal, a sales process map can help you with your development plan. In addition, you can use existing process maps to identify which steps are profitable and which actions need to be adjusted or removed.

For example, suppose you’re creating a new user experience, or UX, flow meant to generate sales prospects. In that case, it may help to model the new screens after previous flows that have successfully converted leads.

Modeling your sales process based on past performance can also save your team a lot of time and money. 

3. Helps measure results

Setting expectations, or how you measure success, is important for any business. A process map will clearly define each key performance indicator (KPI), and every stakeholder will have access. Specific information such as revenue goals, click-through rates, and customer conversions are just a few ways a dedicated sales map can help determine these successes.

When a project is finished and launched, you can use the process map as a jumping-off point for the next planned project. Because you’re using a map from a past project, you can clearly see pain points in the process and plan to fix them in advance.

When considering cost, time, and expense when mapping your sales process, the differences between your map and the actual outcomes will help you improve your strategy for a similar project down the road.

Photo by parabol.co

4. Fosters cross-functionality

Sales process maps illuminate how each employee works and how what they do reaches the customer. When developing or organizing a cross-functional team, it’s helpful, if not essential, that employees understand how each department depends on the other.

If you’ve ever heard an employee say they need to figure out who handles specific tasks, a process map will come in handy. Team alignment, knowing which teams rely on what job to be done and who the stakeholders are, can help reduce the amount of time tracking down the right person.

A clear map promotes transparency, allows teammates to know everyone’s role, and helps employees support each other by illuminating who picks up the slack in times of absence.

5. Promotes Autonomy

As a continuation of promoting cross-functionality, sales process mapping also helps encourage autonomy. For example, if you’re a manager and spend a lot of time answering questions, adding solutions to a process map will help save resources. 

It is as simple as adding resource links, instructional videos, style guidelines, brand policies, and other process docs, which empower teams to seek answers. Not only will autonomy save time, it will also facilitate a culture of openness because everyone will have access to the same documentation. No one will be left wondering where to go to find answers.

Why your business needs a sales process map

Documentation of processes makes it easier for any organization to create and stick to standards, and documenting and adhering to standards leads to greater efficiency and increased revenue.

Sales process mapping allows everyone to see the steps and important details in one place. It helps define roles and responsibilities, as well as create visibility and understanding for everyone involved.

In addition to ensuring an effective process, it also helps pinpoint and adjust those items which aren’t working. For example, when a sales cycle is mapped out, it’s easier to identify issues or breakdowns in the flow and highlight where things like effort and time are wasted.

6 common sales process mapping mistakes to avoid

Sales process mapping is a crucial step in optimizing sales workflows and driving business growth. However, to ensure its effectiveness, it’s important to be aware of and avoid common mistakes. Here are some key pitfalls to watch out for when mapping your sales process:

  1. Overcomplicating the process: One common mistake is creating a sales process that is overly complex. While it’s important to capture all relevant stages and activities, an overly intricate process can confuse sales teams and hinder productivity. Keep the process streamlined and focused on the essential steps to avoid unnecessary complexity.
  2. Ignoring customer journey: Sales process mapping should align with the customer journey, from initial contact to closing the deal. Neglecting to consider the customer’s perspective and needs can result in a disconnected and ineffective process. Ensure that each stage of the sales process addresses customer pain points and provides value to enhance the overall customer experience.
  3. Lack of flexibility: A rigid sales process that doesn’t allow for adaptability can be a major hindrance. Sales situations can vary, and strict adherence to a fixed process may not accommodate unique scenarios. Incorporate flexibility within the mapped process to empower sales teams to make necessary adjustments based on specific customer requirements or changing market conditions.
  4. Failure to involve sales team: Sales process mapping should be a collaborative effort involving key stakeholders, especially the sales team. Neglecting to seek input and feedback from those who are directly involved in executing the process can lead to a lack of buy-in and hinder successful implementation. Involve the sales team in the mapping process to leverage their expertise and ensure alignment with their needs and challenges.
  5. Lack of measurement and review: Sales process mapping should be an iterative process that is continuously reviewed and optimized. Failing to establish metrics and regularly analyze the effectiveness of the mapped process can limit improvement opportunities. Implement key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of the sales process and regularly review the results to identify areas for enhancement.
  6. Not providing sufficient training: Introducing a new sales process without proper training and guidance can create confusion and resistance among the sales team. Training should be provided to ensure everyone understands the mapped process, its objectives, and how to execute it effectively. Ongoing support and coaching should also be available to address questions and provide continuous development opportunities.

By avoiding these common sales process mapping mistakes, businesses can create a well-aligned, efficient, and customer-centric sales process that empowers their sales teams to achieve better results and drive business growth.


Why build a sales process?  

A sales process can offer your sales team many benefits. It helps keep teams aligned, helps streamline the development process, keeps goals clearly defined, and fosters an agile, cross-functional team. 

How do I map out a sales process?  

To map out your sales process, you can follow these steps: 

  1. Define who does what and include all stakeholders
  2. Define every step and how long it will take to do what
  3. Align efforts with stages of the buyer journey
  4. Include the definition of “complete” for each step
  5. Include success metrics

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