Mapping The Sales Process: 6 Steps For Success
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Doing sales mapping can be fast and easy with these six steps.

In this article:

  1. A Business Needs to Have a Sales Process Map
  2. Six Steps for Sales Mapping
    1. Understand the Process Stages That Make Up Your Sales Organization
    2. Define a Structure for Sales Mapping
    3. Map the Current State Process
    4. Review the Current State for Strengths and Opportunities
    5. Create a Future State Process Map
    6. Implement a Governance Structure to Periodically Manage and Improve Your Sales Process

Sales Mapping | Carve Your Path to Sales Success with These 6 Steps


A Business Needs to Have a Sales Process Map

I performed sales mapping for years. In fact, I helped map the sales process for over 200 clients in my time.

I know you’re going to hate me for this, but there’s one thing I learned throughout this experience: you can’t escape doing sales process mapping. You need to map your sales process.

In all the consulting I did, I had only three companies show me a detailed sales process map. Yes, just three out of hundreds.

Most sales leaders do not realize their sales system is actually a collection of multiple processes. Some may even have just a simplistic view about it.

These executives may think it’s as straightforward as making a product, marketing it, and then selling it to the different market segments.

Sales mapping is one of the most effective visualization tools sales executives can use to see both the big picture and the intricacies of each step. It helps you understand the real flow of their sales process in a structured manner.

Through this, leaders can then identify gaps and other challenges in their sales performance.

A sales mapping tool can help companies find a solution that drives improved results.


Six Steps for Sales Mapping 

Is sales mapping difficult? In reality, it’s not, but often for sales leaders, this concept proves to be a tough exercise.

When it comes to mapping out your sales process, there are six basic steps:

1. Understand the Process Stages That Make Up Your Sales Organization

Businesswoman leading meeting at boardroom table | Mapping The Sales Process: 6 Steps For Success

Sales organizations are becoming a complex system of different functions. Gone are the days when a single sales rep does all the prospecting, closing, and managing of accounts.

The new model of selling focuses on specialization. Team members perform a specific functional role, which they manage individually.

InsideSales.com data shows companies that effectively specialize experience a 7% higher close rate than companies that do not. Specialization is the new model of sales, and it’s time to embrace it.

Here are a few examples of sales structures with companies we’ve worked with:

One company has a marketing department that generates leads. It then sends those leads to a team of lead development reps.

Those lead development reps qualify leads. They send them to either an inside sales team or an outside sales team this company calls “business development.”

Now, the business development or sales team does a lot of their own prospecting by utilizing third-party lists.

There’s another step before closing a deal. It involves several teams, including the:

  • Underwriting team
  • Legal team
  • Customer Management or Customer Service team

The Six Questions to Ask about the Stages of Your Business

As you begin to understand the stages of your business, make sure you answer the following six questions:

  • Stages — What functional roles does my company have in its sales structure?
  • Goal — What are the primary goals of this role?
  • Manager — Who manages or leads this team?
  • Location — Where are these functional roles located?
  • Reps — What is the total number of reps in each team or function?

Once you understand the different functional areas, you need to determine how you’re going to create a current state process map.

2. Define a Structure for Sales Mapping 

People get lost in what software they should use to create a process map.

Some popular sales mapping tools include:

  • Pencil and paper
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Lucid Charts (free)
  • Other free or paid programs

When it comes to the shapes, there is a whole list of choices to use in process mapping exercises. If you’re a salesperson like the rest of us, you want to do it quick and simple.

For this reason, I recommend you start with these basic shapes:

  • Rectangle: Action
  • Diamond: Decision
  • Rounded Rectangle: Start/stop
  • Arrow: Connection
  • Small empty boxes to make notes or highlight a number associated with a process: Note or number

Of course, you’re free to designate these shapes to other types of processes. What’s important is they’re easy to understand and follow.

Once you’ve determined the appropriate shapes for your process map, you need a structure to start inserting your shapes into.

We’ve tested multiple approaches, but the one that stuck breaks down the sales process into three key areas:

  • Lead/List Acquisition — Where do you get things?
  • Contacting Cadence What do you do with things?
  • Qualification and Close — How do you finish with things?

3. Map the Current State Process 

It’s now time to begin mapping the current state process.

In this step, you need to gather the necessary information. It can be through a series of questions.

It can be through individual stakeholder interviews. It’s important to target the key individuals who represent the different functional areas in your business.

These questions don’t need to be long or complex. It can be as simple as asking them their daily step-by-step sales process.

Here are a few examples of roles and questions you can ask:

Demand Generation:  

  • How many different lead sources do you have, and what are they?
  • Are you appending or enriching leads and lists as they come through your system?
  • How do you route or assign leads from different lead sources?

Sales Development: 

  • How do you structure your sales development team? Do you have a response team, outbound team, vertical, product, etc.?
  • How does a rep prioritize leads?
  • What is the contacting strategy for sales development reps?
  • Here is our numbers question: How many activities does the average rep do per person per day?


  • How does the sales team generate new business?
  • Once the sales team owns the prospect, what is their strategy and process to close the deal?
  • What are the opportunity stages sales reps follow to close deals?
  • Here is our numbers question: What is the average sales cycle?

Customer Success:

  • How does the sales team generate new business?
  • Once the sales team owns the prospect, what is their strategy and process to close the deal?
  • What are the opportunity stages sales reps follow to close deals?
  • Here is the numbers question: What is the average retention percentage per rep?

When you ask these questions, you should be able to complete the necessary information to map out a step-by-step process map.

You may feel these are a lot of questions. Let me give you a visualization then. Here is an example of a sales process workflow chart from Lucid.

RELATED: 4 Simple Questions That Will Transform Your Sales Process

4. Review the Current State for Strengths and Opportunities

business people having meeting in conference room | Mapping The Sales Process: 6 Steps For Success

Once your process map is complete, you can review it for strengths. You can also identify areas of opportunity.

From these, you can begin making a plan for a future state.

What are the different sales and opportunities? Here is an example you can identify in a sales development organization:

  • Strengths: use of marketing automation, lead statuses structure in place, submit opportunity function added to Salesforce
  • Opportunities: batch time should be under five minutes or immediate, auto-routing leads with the CRM, response time needs to be under one hour

5. Create a Future State Process Map 

Remember, earlier, I mentioned it’s essential companies have a sales map? Let me explain why you need to have this ability.

Once you identify strengths and opportunities in your current process, you can recreate your process in a future state. You can then identify opportunities and represent them in an ideal form.

Here is an example future state process map:

  • Work to get our batch time down to five minutes.
  • Build routing within our CRM.
  • Push to get a one-hour response time.
  • Structure a follow-up strategy to include three calls, three voicemails, and three emails.

6. Implement a Governance Structure to Periodically Manage and Improve Your Sales Process 

The first five steps should do more than acquaint you with sales mapping. They must let you make one now.

The job is not over, though. One important step is periodic management.

Once your sales process map is complete, make a periodic follow-up. It should review the process.

It will let you see if some parts of the process already broke down. In other words, they are no longer working.

With a strong governance structure for a sales acceleration project in place, this is not difficult. If that does not exist, you’ll need to create some form of a governance structure.

A steering committee of sales leaders and sales operations personnel should review the sales process every quarter. They can determine the types of decay and delays present.

Sales operations should own the sales process. They can function as the operations committee.

Sales leadership, meanwhile, should guide the strategy on the steering committee.


Memorize the six steps for sales mapping. Use this Inside Sales video to remind you:

Do you want to know the other benefit of sales mapping? This process is similar to creating a product roadmap. It’s possible to create a sales structure for your team fast. I do hope you take the time to map the sales process. You will not regret it.

Does your company perform sales mapping? Share your process in the comments section below.

Up Next: 5 SaaS Sales Principles To Boost Performance


Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on May 14, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

Mapping The Sales Process: 6 Steps For Success https://blog.insidesales.com/sales-process/mapping-sales-process/

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