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Sales process mapping is a great tool businesses can utilize to strengthen their sales force and work on an effective marketing strategy. Keep reading to learn some of the most common mistakes businesses make and how you can avoid each of them.

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In this article:

  1. Mapping The Ideal Process Instead Of The Real One
  2. Focusing On The Wrong Person
  3. Not Having a Standardized Notion
  4. Mapping Details But Losing Track Of The Big Picture
  5. Mapping The Process Without Showing How Results Will Be Measured
  6. Never Updating Process Maps
  7. Buying Somebody Else’s Ideal Sales Process

How To Avoid These 7 Common Sales Process Mapping Mistakes

1. Mapping The Ideal Process Instead Of The Real One

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that sales process mapping is about creating a vision of what an ideal sales process looks like. This is not the case.

Creating a sales process map is, first and foremost, about observing and mapping one’s current sales processes or activities. From here, the team can suggest changes that can improve it.

Mapping an ideal sales process instead of one grounded on the actual process will most likely result in a failed implementation. Often, this is because that ideal process is far from the realities of the company.

For the sales process map to work, the changes you wish to implement have to happen slowly. You have to take into consideration the limits of your team and their ability to adapt to the changes you wish to implement.

2. Focusing On The Wrong Person

business people talking | Most Common Mistakes In Sales Process Mapping And How To Avoid Them | sales process map

Sales process mapping over an entire business

Another common mistake businesses make in sales process mapping is making it about the sales department of the company. The essence of any successful sales process is and always will be the customers.

Focusing on the wrong set of people when mapping sales processes will most certainly lead to mistakes. While the company employees are, of course, a big part of the equation, it must always focus on the customer.

Sales processes that actually work are those that create value for one’s customers. They should be able to answer the question of how your business can create real value for your clients.

If a business, for example, needs an administrative phase, then that business should learn how that phase creates value for the customer. Otherwise, they should place that phase where it creates said value.

Everything that a business does to look for, gain, and retain customers should produce clear value for them. Customer value is a business’ first line of defense against constantly-changing markets, technologies, and conditions.

“The customer is always right,” does not necessarily mean that they are always right. It does, however, mean that their point of view is.

This should be the key factor when mapping, evaluating, and improving any sales activity process.

3. Not Having a Standardized Notion

Having a standard way of notating sales process flowcharts across the board is a must for any successful sales process mapping activity. Not having this creates confusion, especially when employees use various process maps.

The shapes, text, and language you use in every document have to be consistent. This helps avoid confusion among workers and mistakes that could be costly.

To avoid this, it’s important for businesses to decide on conventions early. Afterward, these conventions should be used while creating process maps.

The style guide should always be readily available for anyone’s viewing should they need it.

4. Mapping Details But Losing Track Of The Big Picture

man tired of work | Most Common Mistakes In Sales Process Mapping And How To Avoid Them | sales process flowchart

Exhaustion from sales process mapping

This is one of the most common mistakes that manifest in a lot of attempts at sales process mapping.

When it comes to the mapping of a sales process — or any process, in fact — people forget that there’s such a thing as too many details. They easily forget to consider the big picture.

A lot of these maps are too detailed, capturing more information than an individual can realistically take in at once. Sometimes, each activity may also seem equally important and co-dependent with the others when this may not be the reality.

A process should be equally about input as much as it is about output.

Things will function more smoothly if one begins with the bigger aspects of every activity. Afterward, they can move towards breaking them down into smaller details.

From there, it becomes easier to identify and measure decision points and their results. This allows one to gain critical insight that is necessary for process improvement.

Again, any sales process mapping activity should focus on three main elements:

  • Input
  • Output
  • Necessary steps to get from point A to point B.

Once you have identified these, you can begin breaking them down into smaller parts with big picture consistently in mind.

RELATED: The Sales Cadence Tool You Need To Generate More Leads

5. Mapping The Process Without Showing How Results Will Be Measured

For a sales process to be considered truly effective, there must be clear metrics that assess each step or phase in that process. Many businesses forget to include this in their mapping activities.

Having clear metrics allows the business to adapt their qualifying and marketing strategies. Metrics can serve as powerful indicators of shifts in the market, allowing you time to adjust accordingly.

It also identifies weak links and bottlenecks in the process, thus allowing you to allocate your resources and efforts where they are more needed.

Bottlenecks Definition: In a production system, bottlenecks are points of congestion that happen when the workload arrives too quickly for the next processor to handle, thereby creating delays and increasing production costs. The term comes from the image of the neck of a bottle which is the area where congestion or clogging is most likely to occur when pouring liquid from the bottle.

If, for example, a business’ marketing is not able to generate good leads, adding more salespeople and spending on making them undergo expensive training services will not help. Instead, improvements to the marketing process should be made to encourage leads generation.

These adjustments can only happen if there are clear metrics on the effectiveness of each step or phase in the sales process.

6. Never Updating Process Maps

man using calculator | Most Common Mistakes In Sales Process Mapping And How To Avoid Them | the sales process

Updating a sales process map to ensure accuracy

The systems put in place for a business should be living and breathing, just like the business itself. Something that produces results today may cause a business to lose clients tomorrow.

Similar to everything else, change is constant. The effectiveness of a sales plan depends on its ability to adapt to these changes.

In line with Mistake #5, process maps should be reviewed, evaluated, and changed to adapt to the results of the metrics mentioned above. This will allow for continuous process improvement since weak links and bottlenecks will be identified by the metrics.

However, despite the presence of these measures, some businesses fail to update their process maps. This could be because it wasn’t included during planning.

A lot of people make the mistake of not designating time and resources for the periodic updating of these maps. This could lead to a business with an outdated and inefficient sales process because changes that need to be adapted weren’t implemented.

As such, it’s important to hire a person whose job function is to oversee and manage the process maps. Make sure they’re regularly reviewed and modified as necessary.

7. Buying Somebody Else’s Ideal Sales Process

A lot of sales processes are bundled as sales software systems. While these can be useful when implemented appropriately, they can also be damaging when not used properly.

Businesses who purchase these so-called “ideal sales processes” often fit their business to the software when in fact, the software should be the one adapting to the business.

Admittedly, suppliers of these software and training give valuable tools that help support a business’ sales process. However, no business can purchase its sales process from a supplier.

An effective sales process requires the input of your people because it’s about your strategy when it comes to customer relationship.

It should be the organization’s leaders who decide on a common vision. They’re the ones who need to implement the process collaboratively to create and achieve that very vision.

Sales process mapping is an invaluable tool businesses can use to improve how they do things and drive sales up. Avoid these seven mistakes mentioned above to truly make the most of this activity.

Are there other sales process mapping mistakes we may have missed? Share them with us in the comments section below! 

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