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Trying to solving a Rubik’s Cube on a ledge
The problem with needing to bring money into your business is that it can create a sense of panic. Then it becomes hard to take a step back and consider what you’re doing. It’s like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube whilst you’re on a ledge – you need to focus but feel overcome by panic and frustration.
Taking a step back and mapping out or reviewing your sales process helps you consider the goals, opportunities and each individual point of your sales system — and how you can best serve prospects throughout that process.
Get a map
If you want to know how to get to your destination, you need a map. And mapping out your sales process is more straightforward than most people think.
In terms of mapping resources, I’m a fan of Post-It notes and a whiteboard. But the most important resource is your team members and their individual insight into the prospect-customer journey. And by team, I mean anyone who is involved in prospecting, marketing, sales, account management and customer support on your behalf. The broader the insight, the more consensual the map. And the stronger the buy-in, the more positive the results.
Lifetime commitment on a first date
Understanding sales as a process is key. You’re (hopefully) unlikely to sidle up to a stranger and ask them to marry you. And you’re not going to approach a cold prospect and ask them to buy from you out of the blue, either. You need a process to help the prospect understand your vision and mission, your expertise, the results you achieve and how you can help them solve their problems. It’s a process.
Before you dig out your Post-It Notes, I’d like to touch on the importance of speaking to the correct prospects. Spending time educating, meeting and trying to sell to the wrong prospects is one of the biggest sales sabotaging behaviors we see — wasting time, effort and sales energy. It also distorts the sales process, as you try to hammer a round peg into a square hole. So, get clear on who you can help, and be as specific as possible. Then focus your sales conversations, efforts and mapping on those prospects.
Now to the mapping. Personally, I find this a fun experience, as you can learn so much about a company — its team members, their skills, strengths and experience — and the service it offers.
If you are starting from scratch, it’s easiest to start mapping based on an existing, ideally recent sale.
Start mapping out each of the contact steps between you and that prospect-customer.
Where did they first find out about you? What was the first contact? When or how did you share information with them? How many times did you follow up with them? In what format did you follow up with them? What questions or objections did they have and how were these addressed? Did you have to present? What stakeholders were involved in the sale? What was the process to secure budget sign-off?
Documenting each step of the interactions — including questions, challenges, meetings, information exchanges, documents, contracts, disagreements and agreements — is a great way to start mapping your sales process.
The great thing about sales maps is that there is no one way to do it. The bad thing about sales maps: there’s no one way to do it… but with that in mind, here’s so dos and don’ts.
Dos and don’ts of mapping out your sales process
- Have a written sales process
- Ensure it is shared and visible within your team
- Create it in a step-by-step format, working toward specific goals to get to each step
- Track your sales through the sales process: is reflective of the real world?
- Revisit it frequently. Can it be optimized? Are there steps where sales bottleneck, slow down or are lost? Keep asking yourself: what is the simplest path to purchase?
- Walk the line between your company vision and details. You need to ensure your sales map connects to the vision — the big “why” your company exists — and also includes enough detail to communicate that vision breakdown during the sales process
- Pinpoint handovers and make them as specific as possible and set goals for each stage
- Set goals for each stage
- Factor in metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) at key stages, for example qualification metrics; lead conversion to opportunity; handovers such as marketing to sales and sales to customer support; calculate your close rate
- Factor in resources required at each stage, including people and assessments
- Think about how the process appears from a prospect’s perspective
- Ask your new customers what their buying experience was like: Is there anything they would change?
- Use a different company’s sales process — really, you need to map out your own
- Make your sales process so detailed that it’s inflexible
- Over-define the “how” things should be done to get to stage goals. Creativity and lateral-thinking can be strong differentiators in sales, and your team should be able to contribute in this way
- Create “sales silos,” where departments or individuals are working alone. Factor in collaboration checkpoints and goals to the sales process to maximize focus on these goals.
- Think that all steps of the sales process are equal. Some stages are more important than others
- Keep your map within your sales team: the process impacts all prospect and customer-facing departments and individuals
At the end of the day, it’s important to understand the step-by-step experience for your prospects and how you can deliver maximum value and the best buying experience. This is a win-win for all involved. Mapping out these steps in a flow chart — which your team refers to as they come from a place of service — helps your company help your prospects make the best decision.
About Hazel Butters, Sales Accelerator
For 18 years Hazel has worked on with businesses on both sides of the Atlantic, including innovative start-ups and global companies including Adobe, IBM, Dell and Oracle. She helps entrepreneurs to get comfortable and to ask for the sale, and works with corporates to increase sales – and have fun in the process.
LinkedIn profile[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][text-with-icon icon_type=”font_icon” icon=”icon-envelope-alt” color=”Accent-Color”]Want to find out more about sales mapping? If you’re near Boston, then join Hazel for a one-day intensive sales workshop on Friday, June 23 at the Cambridge Innovation Center, or sign up for our Sales Mindset e-zine for regular sales tips, tools and advice.[/text-with-icon][/vc_column][/vc_row]