The power of sales process maps to deliver best sales practice

“Here go out with Josephine, our best sales person and be like her.”

Most new salespeople are thrown in the deep end when it comes to sales induction.

Most salespeople, in general, are given no articulated sales process, which means there’s nothing specific to be coached or trained to, or to follow.

In sales teams we often have the blind leading the blind when it comes to achieving sales best practice.

Why? Because most businesses do not have an articulated sales process map(s) for their salespeople to follow. They treat selling as an action and not as a profession with clearly defined standards.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way.

What if we gave our new and seasoned salespeople an articulated sales process map that outlined each step of their sales activities, ranging from sales and territory planning; prospecting and new business development; the client meeting, proposals, recommendations and closing; and follow-up, implementation, and review?

What if we articulated the actions and behaviours necessary in each step? If we do that, we now have something to induct, train, and coach our salespeople to, and our salespeople have something to refer to themselves for self-development and guidance.

And just to make it clear, we are not talking about rigid tram-track processes with no deviation — like the very unhelpful scripted sales approaches that stifle any form of initiative and slowly ‘kill off’ the best salespeople.

We are talking about sales processes that operate like a race track; something that we can drive around and manoeuvre as we see best; something that gives us direction and guidance but allows us to make the moves that serve us and the client best.

Building sales process maps

For many years now we have been building and creating sales process maps for our clients’ sales and client facing teams, especially for induction, sales training and sales coaching purposes.

Why? Before any induction, training or development, it is critical to assess and map the current sales process(es) and identify the crucial steps and protocols needed to ensure a consistent and appropriate approach to sales leadership and selling across the sales teams and all people involved. Developing minimum standards of sales and sales leadership excellence, and implementing effective sales processes and leadership frameworks (based on current best practice) will help sales teams consistently sell better.

This framework helps managers design the minimum standards of sales and sales leadership excellence they want to see from their salespeople, client facing teams, and themselves.

The draft sales process map and leadership framework is used as ‘evidence from the field’ from which the sales managers can make informed decisions about the minimum standards of excellence required from and for their sales teams. Once the sales process and sales leadership standards are agreed upon, then we can create the sales learning and development plan for the sales team.

This includes creating an engaging and effective sales learning and development plan that includes:

  • What to train our sales team to in relation to knowledge, skills and mindset;
  • How to create a perpetual learning environment using the 70:20:10 model and principles (for example, as a blend of classroom, online sales training, infield coaching and so on);
  • The power of regular one-on-one and group coaching sessions; and
  • How and when to use classroom and online learning in concert with the sales process map.

Key tip: You cannot apply one sales process across different sales channels; there may be similarities, however, understanding the nuances in each sales process is key to gaining maximum impact for each sales team.

Once finalised, the sales process map can be further elaborated to create the organisation’s “Sales University Library”, which houses the specific knowledge, tools/resources and behaviours for each step of the sales process map. It can be used for recruitment, induction, training, coaching, performance reviews, self-help and succession planning purposes to underpin “the way we sell around here” and ensure everyone performs the right activities to the right standards, delivering the right results in a selling better culture.

Remember everybody lives by selling something.

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