It’s been well documented that quality of collaboration between sales and marketing directly impacts ROI.
The challenge that many organizations face is that their sales process is a black box. No one except the sales team knows what is going on inside the black box until a proposal or sale happens. Worse still, 80% of the leads that go into the sales black box are rarely seen again.
I’ve encountered many companies where sales and marketing do not jointly agree upon or understand their sales process. At the same time many do not understand their potential customers buying process.
This makes it particularly challenging for marketers who are trying to measure their revenue contribution and lead generation ROI.
Process mapping is a well-known technique for creating a common vision and shared language for improving business results. However, this technique hasn’t been widely adopted by sales and marketing departments.
I read this excellent article, on i Six Sigma, by Michael J. Webb, President, Sales Performance Consultants. Webb’s article tells how to avoid the common pitfalls of sales/buyer process mapping.
"Leaders in both large and small sales organizations often make mistakes that undermine the potential of process mapping. A common result, for example, is that salespeople ignore the process and operate outside the system," writes Webb.
Read "How to Avoid the Four Most Common Mistakes of Sales Process Mapping."
Kristin Zhivago’s book, Rivers of Revenue, has an excellent worksheet on how to map out the customers buying process for what she calls an intense scrutiny product (complex sale).
Webb’s four common mistakes that hinder success:
- Map all the details, losing track of the big picture.
- Focus on the seller, instead of the customer.
- Map the process without showing how the results will be measured.
- Buy somebody else’s "ideal" sales process.
Webb’s principles That Yield Powerful Results:
- Keep your goals in the foreground of your process map.
- Map tools, skills, and performance metrics along with the process.
- Engage your people in process mapping to define problems and solutions. This must be cross functional.
- Determine how to create value for the customer throughout the process.