What is a sales process map?
If you're new to business software or have never used it before, chances are that salespeople use something like Microsoft Excel for their daily work tasks. From creating reports on leads, managing pipeline data, and tracking key metrics, there's no doubt that spreadsheets play an essential part in the modern organization. However, if you've ever been frustrated by the limitations of these tools, then you know how much more productive they could be when coupled with powerful visualization software.
LucidChart brings the power of collaboration to any workplace, making teamwork easier than ever. It offers real-time updates so everyone can stay up-to-date without missing even one detail. You can also create interactive flowcharts, diagrams, mind maps, Venn charts, etc., all from a single platform. And best yet, it has built-in analytics which allows users to track performance indicators such as conversion rates, time spent per task, cycle times, etc. This means you'll get access to detailed information about every aspect of your team.
Using this tool will help streamline communication between departments, boost productivity, increase efficiency, and ultimately drive revenue growth through better decision-making. Let's learn what exactly a Sales Process Map (SPM) is and why you should consider using it.
What are the four steps of process mapping?
When we talk about SPMs, it helps to first understand some basic terminology related to them. A workflow consists of several sequential activities performed over time by different people within an organization. An SPM represents each step of the workflow in its own node. The nodes represent individual stages where people complete projects. Links indicate dependencies among processes. These links show the order in which events take place. For instance, a link from lead qualification to proposal submission indicates that someone must qualify a lead before sending out proposals. Nodes linked together form a chain indicating the sequence of actions completed throughout the project lifecycle.
Here's another interesting factoid about SPMs: While most organizations prefer waterfall methodologies, studies suggest that iterative methods tend to perform better during complex projects involving multiple stakeholders. In other words, waterfall may not always be the right approach. Instead, try experimenting with both approaches until you find the sweet spot.
The following image illustrates the concept behind a typical SPM. Each box represents a stage or activity in a given workflow. Note the arrows flowing in only one direction -- from left to right. They imply that the next action depends upon completion of the current phase.
In addition, a dotted line implies that two boxes are connected via a shared resource. If you notice, the lines don't loop back onto themselves. That's because each node contains information about resources required along the way and who manages those resources.
For example, let's say you want to send out 10 emails to potential clients. First, you need to identify the audience. Then, you might need to write email content. Finally, you'd need to schedule reminders. Once you receive responses from prospects, you can analyze feedback and decide whether to proceed with future communications based on user input.
It becomes really easy once you start building relationships with colleagues and clients. All you need to do is ask yourself "what are my goals?" and "how am I going to achieve them?". By doing so, you'll discover many opportunities to maximize results at lower costs.
What is the meaning of process map?
A good analogy would be comparing SPMs to construction blueprints. Imagine you're renovating your home but you aren't sure about which contractor to hire. To make things worse, the market is saturated with dozens of companies offering similar services. How do you pick the right person for the job?
Well, just look at the blueprint for guidance. Most contractors will require you to submit a set of questions regarding your needs and requirements. Based on answers provided, you can determine which company will give you the best value for money. Of course, you wouldn't expect a contractor to hand you a piece of paper and tell you to go build your house yourself. So why would you do that with your life and career?
Once again, compare a traditional SPM to a Google Calendar event planner. Just think about the number of parties involved. There will be numerous individuals whose roles depend entirely on others' progress. Furthermore, there are external factors which impact a specific department or function.
So, instead of relying solely on static documents and spreadsheets, put everything in motion with a live online tool that keeps everybody updated with changes in real-time. Not only does it save time, but it improves transparency while boosting overall productivity.
What is process mapping with example?
Now that we've learned the basics, here comes the fun stuff. Below is an actual SPM created in Lucidchart. As you navigate down the page, note the various types of objects available. Clicking on any object opens up relevant options. Here's an overview of what you can accomplish with Lucidchart:
You can add textboxes, shapes, tables, checklists, images, videos, webpages, etc., anywhere on the canvas, and arrange them however you desire. Use drag & drop features to move elements around. Withdraw the mouse pointer to resize items. Or click the plus "+" button to insert additional copies of existing elements.
Click Create New Document to open a blank workspace or select Templates under Explore. Browse categories ranging from Business Intelligence & Analytics to Presentation & Reports to Web & Graphic Design. Pick a template that suits your purpose. Alternatively, choose More Categories to browse further subcategories.
After choosing a suitable document type, you can customize your layout by customizing the background color, font style, theme, etc. Using themes provides greater control over colors, fonts, layouts, etc. Plus, you can apply skins for personalization.
Select My Workspace followed by Preferences to change preferences like screen resolution, interface language settings, security level, chart styles, animation effects, etc.
To share your workspaces, signup for free account credentials and upload your file. Anyone else with the same login details can view and edit your files.
Why is a process map important?
With the above explanation, hopefully now makes sense as to why having a clear picture of your entire workflow matters. But how often do you see managers or executives trying to figure out a particular project plan on their own? Do you remember the last time you saw someone struggling to answer a simple question due to lack of proper documentation? Well, guess what? Those scenarios happen far too frequently.
However, when you combine visual thinking skills with collaboration capabilities, issues like these become history. Visual representation of processes gives teams a birdseye view of how projects unfold. Since everyone is constantly checking status updates, nothing slips past unnoticed.
Furthermore, it eliminates unnecessary meetings which drain precious resources. When done correctly, SPMs reduce administrative overhead, cut delays caused by miscommunication, and decrease errors. Ultimately, it saves money by avoiding rework and rescheduling conflicts.
But wait, you still haven't seen our favorite feature...
Have you noticed that we highlighted five unique ways to utilize SPMs today? We did so because it's impossible to practice these concepts fully with static documents. Unlike static representations of processes, a diagramming tool allows you to manipulate visuals and controls the flow of information seamlessly.
Think of it as a digital whiteboard that lets anyone collaborate regardless of location. It's perfect for brainstorming ideas, planning strategy, collaborating on big projects, sharing sensitive info, etc. Best of all, it enables real-time updates, which is crucial for keeping employees informed.
Just imagine being able to communicate effectively across time zones and locations. Now that's an experience worth living. No wonder Lucidchart was selected as a Top Workplace Company 2019 by Great Place to Work Institute.
Want to explore more creative uses of Lucidchart? Check out our examples below.
1. Plan Events
Planning large events can become complicated when dealing with hundreds of attendees. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't attempt to organize anything less elaborate either. Why waste time drafting invitations when you can simply import contact information directly into Lucidchart?
2. Build Dashboards
Dashboards are essentially graphical displays showing vital information pertaining to various areas of interest. On top of that, dashboards provide immediate visibility which increases accountability and boosts employee morale.
3. Track Projects
Keeping tabs on longterm projects requires meticulous records. Rather than manually updating milestones and deadlines, embed timelines into your Lucidchart dashboard for seamless followups. Besides, you can assign different members to certain sections depending on their expertise.
4. Collaborate Better
Whether you're working remotely or physically, it's hard to keep track of all conversations happening simultaneously. Luckily, Lucidchart integrates Slack, Gmail, Dropbox, GitHub, Trello, Zoom, Skype, Jira, etc., so you can easily monitor ongoing chats. Also, you can connect with your teammates via video calls to discuss critical insights.
5. Share Files
Instead of wasting time uploading files to cloud storage sites, why not store them inside Lucidchart itself? Aside from giving you instant accessibility, it also frees up space in your inbox.
6. Manage Meetings
In today's complex selling environment, it can be hard to understand where you stand or how far behind competitors are—especially if there hasn't been any quantifiable metrics put in place for measuring success or growth. And while this may sound like an impossible request, most companies have their own internal problems when trying to pinpoint areas that need improvement. The solution could lie in something as simple as a visual representation of current processes and procedures.
Process maps are nothing new but they're used less frequently than flow charts because people tend to think of them as "just" flowcharts. However, just like a flow chart, a process map provides a clear overview of what needs to happen from start to finish. Although these two types look very similar on paper, they serve different purposes and are best utilized under certain circumstances. In order to help you decide which one would work best for your business, let's break down both of these tools so you'll know exactly why they're important.
What is sales process flowchart?
A sales process flowchart (SPF) allows you to visually represent all steps involved in each phase of the buying cycle. These diagrams typically contain boxes containing information about tasks such as research, qualification calls, proposals, negotiations, presentations, etc., along with arrows representing the direction of workflow through each step. The end result is a graphical depiction of how buyers navigate a sale.
While SPFs were originally designed to show the path taken by prospects throughout the entire buyer journey, many organizations now utilize them to determine whether existing systems are efficient enough to support a more streamlined approach. If not, then a SPF will allow you to see if any changes need to be made before moving forward.
For example, if you want to streamline the proposal development process, you should first create a SPF to find out if everything has already been done correctly. A lot of times, buyers don't realize the importance of providing accurate data until after they've paid thousands of dollars for services rendered. By creating a SPF at the beginning of the process, you might discover that some crucial pieces haven't even gotten started yet. This way, you won't waste time and money developing a proposal based on incorrect assumptions.
There are several software programs available to assist businesses with designing SPFs, including Microsoft Visio Professional 2016 and Adobe Illustrator CC 2015. There are also online resources you can use to design custom ones using templates provided by third-party websites. One popular option is Canva, a free tool used by over 250 million users around the world. Using Canva, you can easily customize designs to fit your specific requirements and save images directly onto your computer. With Canva, anyone can learn how to build professional graphics without needing advanced skills.
If you'd rather skip learning the ins and outs of drawing a diagram yourself, you can always hire someone who specializes in graphic design to draw up a professionally looking SPF instead. Depending on the complexity of your company structure and budget constraints, hiring professionals for project management and graphic design may cost anywhere between $100-$1,000 per month. For large enterprises with multiple locations, departments, and employees, outsourcing SPF creation could become quite expensive.
Although SPFs aren't usually included in standard analytics packages, they provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of various marketing tactics. They help managers identify patterns within the overall sales funnel, allowing them to better adjust budgets and allocate funds toward initiatives that produce results.
An effective SPF doesn't only give you the ability to visualize your organization's current practices, it helps you take actionable steps towards improving efficiency. It can tell you which parts of the buying cycle require attention and where additional training is necessary.
To get a full idea of what we mean here, check out our guide detailing how to set up a sales process flow chart.
What is sales process flow chart?
Sales Process Flow Chart (SPFC), also known as Sales Process Map (SPM), is another type of visualization commonly used by sales teams across industries. Similar to a SPF, SPCs consist of a series of nodes connected by lines depicting relationships between activities. Unlike SPFs, however, SPCs focus solely on showing how products move through the sales pipeline.
Unlike SPFs, whose goal is to reveal gaps and shortcomings in the system, SPCs exist to ensure that every stage stays organized and productive. While a SPF shows the general progression of a product going through the selling cycle, a SPC focuses specifically on keeping track of individual projects. Once completed, a SPC gives the team a complete view of its progress, giving them the opportunity to analyze performance.
Similar to SPFs, SPCs are usually created in collaboration with outside entities, such as consultants or designers. Because of their detailed nature, though, SPCs are often harder to create than their simpler counterparts. Creating a SPF requires much fewer decisions since the user only has to choose shapes and colors. On top of that, once a template is ready, it can simply be dragged and dropped wherever needed.
Creating a SPF takes significantly longer due to the number of features required to properly display a process. But the tradeoff is worth it when considering the benefits of having a consistent method of tracking goals. Like SPFs, SPCs are beneficial to marketers and analysts alike. Since they include details about customers' purchasing habits, they can add significant value to decision making and forecasting models.
What is the meaning of sales process?
Simply put, the sales process refers to the actions individuals go through when deciding whether or not to purchase goods or services. Most people enter the market with varying levels of knowledge and understanding regarding price points and industry standards. As soon as they begin interacting with salespeople, however, they quickly develop opinions about what works well for them.
Different factors affect the sales experience differently depending on the person. For instance, younger generations tend to prefer shorter interactions whereas older shoppers are more comfortable with lengthy meetings. Some feel uncomfortable asking questions during presentations while others thrive off of engaging conversations. Understanding the differences among consumers is essential to helping them effectively communicate their wants and needs.
Understanding the stages of the sales cycle is equally important. Many people believe that everyone goes through the same sequence of events regardless of age, gender, education level, or occupation. But that couldn't be further from the truth. People come into contact with sellers in entirely different ways, leading to varied experiences. To illustrate, consider the following examples:
Younger men tend to talk extensively about their interests and hobbies while women typically ask open-ended questions related to personal opinion and feelings. Young adults who live alone spend a majority of their day browsing social media platforms while married couples generally turn to friends for advice and recommendations.
As mentioned earlier, the speed at which transactions occur varies greatly from consumer to consumer. Older folks rarely leave home without anything other than essentials, whereas those in college still bring laptops and smartphones everywhere they go. Those who travel internationally tend to carry luggage loaded with extra clothing and toiletries.
Each unique scenario presents opportunities to engage with potential clients in creative ways. Instead of assuming that everyone follows the same pattern, try experimenting with different approaches and gauging reactions. Afterward, take notes on what worked and what didn't so that adjustments can be made accordingly.
How do I make a sales flow chart?
Once you've decided to adopt either of these techniques, you'll need to select the right program to use. You can download pre-made SPF templates from sites like Google Drive, Figma, Creately, EaseDesign, etc. Alternatively, you can opt to collaborate with experts who specialize in sales strategy design or sales analytics.
When selecting a software platform, it's important to carefully review what functionality comes included in the initial package. Additionally, read reviews left by previous users to see firsthand what kind of customer service they receive. Finally, compare pricing plans to figure out which one suits your company best.
You can also access sales process flow chart and sales process flow chart design guides to help you familiarize yourself with the basics. Once you grasp the fundamentals, you can continue reading articles outlining tips and tricks you can implement immediately to maximize productivity.
Every day, you meet more prospects than ever before. With so many conversations to have, you need an organized way to stay on top of things—and that's where a Sales Process Map comes in handy. In this article, we'll explain how it works, what exactly they're used for, and some best practices when creating one yourself.
A good sales team doesn't just talk about opportunities—it presents them effectively and efficiently. That means having clear guidelines and processes in place from the very beginning. A well-designed process map can help ensure everyone knows who needs to be involved, which information should go where, and when important tasks like calls or emails must occur. It also makes sure there aren't any gaps in communication between different departments within the company. And most importantly, it keeps people focused on their goals without wasting time.
In other words, a sales process map acts as a roadmap, giving everyone direction while keeping them on track to hitting their targets.
Here's everything you need to know about making one of these useful tools work for your organization.
What does a process map include?
To create a basic process map, start by writing down all of the activities required to move a potential customer through each stage of the sale cycle—from initial contact to follow up and closing. You may end up with something similar to the below example:
Now take out a pen and paper (or use whatever graphic tool you prefer) and draw lines connecting each step together. The goal here isn't necessarily to make everything perfectly straight or even proportional. Instead, you want to get a general idea of how long certain stages will last, and roughly where others fit in. For example, if someone contacts you via email, then follows up with a phone call, the first thing you might do is set up a meeting at your office. Then, after the fact, you'd probably send over those documents related to the prospecting conversation. These diagrams can become especially helpful for visual learners.
Depending on the size of your business, your final product could look anything from simple flow charts to elaborate floor plans. If you find that yours requires advanced customization options, consider using online services such as Lucistock or Creately. They offer easy drag & drop functionality, allowing users to easily customize their maps to suit their specific needs. To learn more, check out our guide on designing professional looking flowcharts with LucidChart.
Also, keep in mind that not every part of your workflow involves selling directly. Sometimes, your customers simply require assistance with research projects. Or perhaps you're working on a software development project, meaning your potential client wants to review your documentation prior to signing off on the contract. Either way, you may decide to skip certain parts of your typical sales funnel altogether. This is completely fine—just don't forget to add these non-sales related actions onto your diagram if applicable. Otherwise, your entire timeline could quickly turn upside-down.
The above template allows us to see approximately how much time would typically pass between each event. As such, it only includes four events: lead qualification, presentation, proposal, and close/pitch. However, depending on your industry, you may have several additional phases including discovery, due diligence, negotiation, etc., which vary widely across industries.
You may opt to remove certain elements from your map based on the type of job you’re trying to fill, whether it be full or part-time employment, freelance gigs, or consulting contracts. Additionally, you may choose to omit certain milestones for various reasons. Maybe you were already contacted by another candidate during the same phase, but haven't yet decided whom to pursue further. Another reason why you may leave some steps blank is because they depend entirely on your particular situation. While you wouldn't want to waste valuable time on useless meetings, sometimes it helps to give employees flexibility when filling out timelines.
What does a process map show?
Once you've got your rough draft ready, you'll likely notice how effective it looks once laid out. Now it's time to think about what questions it answers. Is anyone left confused about what happens next? Are you missing crucial pieces of information? Does it feel overwhelming to view it all at once?
If so, try breaking it up into smaller chunks. Each section should tell the story of one individual action, rather than being too broad for visitors to comprehend. Consider splitting large sections into multiple pages or even subfolders, providing plenty of space for details. Having a clean layout will allow your audience to better absorb key points, helping them understand everything that goes into each milestone.
Additionally, focus on drawing connections between relevant items whenever possible. Your diagram should contain meaningful relationships that paint a clearer picture of your overall strategy. Since it's meant to act as a reference point, it shouldn't be hard to spot patterns and trends among the data. Afterward, you can use this knowledge to inform future decisions regarding marketing efforts.
Lastly, remember that this is supposed to serve as a starting point for you to visualize your own unique approach. Don’t worry if you don't come up with the perfect solution right away. Take advantage of feedback sessions with coworkers to discuss ideas and figure out new paths. By doing so, you'll ultimately increase your chances of success.
What are the three main components of a process map?
There are really no strict rules when it comes to putting together a good process map. But there are definitely commonalities worth taking note of. First, don't underestimate its importance. Without proper guidance, your entire plan could fall apart. Next, avoid jumping ahead or skipping past certain phases. You never want to lose sight of the big picture. Finally, limit unnecessary meetings and reoccurring tasks wherever possible. When you can eliminate redundant steps, you free up countless hours per week that can now be spent elsewhere.
What are the major steps in process mapping?
When creating a process map, there are two primary considerations that determine the structure of your document: What you wish to accomplish and how you intend to achieve it. Here are the five essential steps:
Step 1: Identify Opportunities
First, identify all existing leads. Do so by either manually searching your CRM database or using scripts to scan incoming messages. Once you have all active cases listed, categorize them according to the current status quo (i.e., open, under consideration, rejected). Also, separate ongoing jobs from completed ones, since they won’t appear until later.
Step 2: Create Lead Flow Maps
Next, write down each case that hasn't been closed yet. Make sure to list any necessary parties along with their roles. Depending on your industry, you may want to assign an estimated completion date for each task. Of course, this is largely determined by your internal policies. Just make sure that you clearly outline expectations for both sides.
Step 3: Set Up Milestones
With your spreadsheet populated, it's time to organize it properly. Use color coding to highlight areas of concern, so that you always know who has upcoming deadlines. Then arrange each item chronologically to display progress throughout the pipeline. Alternatively, you can sort them alphabetically instead. Whatever method you chose, make sure that nothing falls through the cracks.
Step 4: Build Relationships Between Items
After adding labels, grouping similar entries together and removing duplicates, connect each pair of items with arrows pointing toward the rightmost column. Connecting unrelated items prevents confusion later, and provides a sense of continuity from one page to the next.
Step 5: Add Notes
At the bottom of each sheet, jot down notes explaining your reasoning behind assigning colors and symbols to each entry. Using this extra info gives you room to adjust your logic later, plus gives others an explanation of what to expect going forward.
As mentioned earlier, the process map itself is merely a guideline. Feel free to tweak it however you please, provided that you still maintain consistency within your department. Even though it's often easier said than done, the resulting diagrams should always reflect your core values.
Since process maps are constantly changing, it's vital to update them regularly. Try setting aside time to review old versions and compare them to newer iterations. Over time, you'll discover outdated content that can be removed safely, saving you precious resources.
It takes years of experience running a business to develop efficient methods for managing complex operations. So trust professionals if you want to streamline your operation and boost productivity.