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How to create a sales process flowchart: 4 steps to streamline your sales

How to create a sales process flowchart: 4 steps to streamline your sales

10
min read

Imagine working on a sales team where a few reps hit quota consistently because they move their deals forward in a way that “just works,” but other reps aren’t nearly as successful. Everyone has their own haphazard approach, and it works for some but not for all.

Does this sound familiar? 

It happens all too often, and it's an expensive problem to have. Luckily, there's a solution to end this confusion and empower everyone to step up their game: a sales process flowchart.

That's what this guide is all about – helping you put structure around your sales process to make it efficient, effective, and most importantly, profitable.
<a href="#what-is-a-sales-process-flowchart" class="anchor-link">What is a sales process flowchart?</a>
<a href="#what-role-does-a-sales-process-flowchart-play" class="anchor-link">What role does a sales process flowchart play?</a>
<a href="#what-are-the-benefits-of-a-sales-process-flowchart" class="anchor-link">What are the benefits of a sales process flowchart?</a>
<a href="#how-should-you-plan-your-sales-process-flowchart" class="anchor-link">How should you plan your sales process flowchart?</a>
<a href="#what-are-a-few-sales-process-flowchart-examples" class="anchor-link">What are a few sales process flowchart examples?</a>
<a href="#start-streamlining-your-sales-process-today" class="anchor-link">Start streamlining your sales process today</a>

What is the difference between a sales process flowchart and a sales pipeline?

Before we dive in, let’s get on the same page with a couple of important definitions.

What is a sales process?

A sales process refers to a series of repeatable steps a sales team takes to find, qualify, nurture, and close new customers. It's an organized way of going about sales that makes sure everyone is following the same playbook.

The particular steps of a sales process will differ from business to business, but generally, most sales processes involve:

  • Prospecting for new leads
  • Qualifying potential prospects to make sure they're worth pursuing
  • Pitching goods or services
  • Handling common objections and questions that come up during the sales process
  • Closing successful deals with customers

When there’s a clear roadmap to follow, sales teams can focus on what matters most: generating leads, building relationships with prospects, offering a great customer experience, and closing deals. A clear sales process helps them stay focused on their goals and hit their revenue targets faster.

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What is a sales process flowchart?

As its name implies, a sales process flowchart is a visual representation of your whole sales process and sales strategy. It shows the various sales process steps, when they should be taken, and how long they should take. It's essentially an infographic of the customer journey – from the prospecting stage to the closing stage. Excellent sales process flowcharts give the gifts of consistency and clarity to entire sales organizations.
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What role does a sales process flowchart play?

Sales process flowcharts provide a quick and simple way to visualize the customer journey, making it easier for new and existing sales reps to understand the steps. As a result, they can quickly become familiar with the best practices of your organization and use them more successfully.

Think of them as maps that guide reps each step of the way. Without them, your sales team could get lost and waste time on processes that don’t yield results. A well-defined flowchart keeps everyone on track and ensures prospective customers are handled thoughtfully.
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What are the benefits of a sales process flowchart?

Having a sales process flowchart comes with a host of benefits, but below are the main four.

1. You’ll improve productivity with a documented sales process

It's one thing to have a sales methodology or process in place, but it's another to document it. A sales process flowchart simplifies the process by making it easier for reps to understand and follow through on their objectives.

This eliminates confusion and ensures everyone is clear on what they need to do, when they need to do it, and how they should go about doing it. That means no more guesswork, confusion, or wasting time on activities that don’t result in conversion.

2. You’ll identify bottlenecks and opportunities for growth

The early stages of a customer’s journey can be complex and confusing. Sales process flowcharts simplify it by presenting a visual representation of the ideal customer journey. This empowers sales reps to identify opportunities for improvement, like reducing friction points in the process or streamlining certain steps that take too much time.

For instance, let's say your sales process flowchart reveals that reps are spending too much time on initial customer outreach. This could be an opportunity to create automated email sequences or invest in a dedicated cold-calling tool.

3. You’ll enhance internal and external communication

One of the worst things a sales team can do is close off lines of communication. When this happens, people work in the dark, and it leads to costly mistakes.

A well-defined sales process flowchart ensures everyone is on the same page, both internally within the team and externally with prospects or customers, throughout every stage of a deal. This approach makes it easy for reps to articulate their strategies and use them as a reference point when speaking with customers.

4. You’ll spot sales opportunities sooner

Without a well-structured sales process, your reps may miss out on opportunities to upsell or cross-sell their prospects and customers. A sales process flowchart helps identify these opportunities early, allowing everyone to maximize the revenue in their deals.

By seeing a visual representation of the ideal customer journey, it’s much easier to identify points where you can offer more value and capture additional sales.

What is the difference between a sales process flowchart and a sales pipeline?

It's important to note that a sales process flowchart is not the same thing as a sales pipeline.

A sales pipeline is a more granular view of the customer journey, tracking every stage from lead generation to close. It's a working tool that’s focused on forecasting future revenue and helping you plan for high-value opportunities.

On the other hand, your specific sales process flowchart shows how your team interacts with customers at each stage of the sales cycle. It’s more of a reference resource than an interactive tool like a pipeline.

In other words, your sales process flowchart informs your pipeline, but the two are not one and the same.
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How should you plan your sales process flowchart?

Now that the significance of having a sales process flowchart in place is clear, let's look at the steps for building it.

Step 1: Gather data

Your first step is to understand what the current sales process looks like. In this phase, you gather information from the team members who interact with customers on a daily basis, such as sales reps, sales managers, sales teams, and customer service representatives. You can also go a step further and get input from other stakeholders who may not directly interact with customers, such as marketing teams and product teams.

This will help you identify disconnects between departments, while also providing you with input from all relevant sources.

Step 2: Collate & standardize your process

Next, it's time to organize and standardize your process based on the data you’ve just gathered. This is where you can take a more strategic approach and focus on optimizing the customer journey.

Combine the best practices from your team and isolate any inefficient or erroneous steps that need to be removed. Document each step of the process clearly so there's no ambiguity about who’s responsible for what.

Your goal should be to create consistency between teams and departments while ensuring that each stage of the process is easy to follow. It's also important not to overload people with too much information; the process should be as simple as possible while still providing the needed insights for each stage.

Pro tip: consider adding customer-oriented goals, best practices, and any relevant data points that may help a seller better understand the overall process.

Step 3: Evaluate the results

Following that, it's time to put the flowchart to the test. To do this, you should work closely with customer-facing teams and monitor how well they're adhering to the process you’ve set out. Give them time to get used to the new sales process and any changes you have implemented.

At this stage, it's important to remember that the goal is not to find fault — rather, it's about understanding what works and what doesn't so that you can optimize your sales process.

Of course, to make this phase successful, you need to enable your sales organization well and ensure everyone is held accountable. Set up metrics to measure success and make sure that everyone is aware of their individual responsibilities. For example, you should track key performance indicators (KPIs), such as response times, customer satisfaction rates, sales conversion rates, or any other metrics relevant to your process.

Step 4: Iterate, iterate, iterate

Finally, once your sales process has been established, don't forget to revisit and revise it often based on new information and recent successful deals. Your goal should be to continuously improve your flowchart, making tweaks and adjustments as needed based on customer feedback and your observations.

This can be done on a quarterly or biannual basis. This way, you can make sure that the process remains relevant and effective in the ever-changing sales environment.

However, don't go it alone on this; listen to your team for the best results. Even minor changes can have an impact, so make sure to get buy-in before making any adjustments.
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What are a few sales process flowchart examples?

Before you head off to create your own flowchart, it might be helpful to review some examples of what a sales process could look like in practice. Here are some common types of sales processes for you to consider.

Example 1: A simple sales process flowchart

This type of flowchart is ideal for teams with limited resources. It generally consists of seven stages: prospecting, lead qualification, preparation, approach, presentation, objection handling, and closing.

The flowchart itself could work in a manner like the one below:

A simple sales process flowchart
A basic sales flowchart for most use cases
  • Lead qualification stage: Determine whether the lead is a good fit
  • Preparation stage: Gather information about the customer and develop a tailored sales approach (here, you could put together resources such as product sheets and other materials)
  • Approach stage: Make contact with the customer and deliver your message or set up an introductory meeting
  • Presentation stage: Showcase your products or services to the customer in an engaging way
  • Handling objections stage: Respond to any objections that the customer may have
  • Closing stage: Review the terms of sale, verify customer information, and finalize the agreement.

Example 2: A detailed sales process flowchart

This type of flowchart is more complicated. The additional stages include important elements for mid-market and larger enterprises especially, like lead segmentation, research and discovery, lead nurturing, proposal creation, post-closing approaches, and follow-up. Detailed sales process flowcharts like the one below ensure a comprehensive approach to every customer interaction.

Here’s a glimpse of what a more detailed flowchart might look like:

A detailed sales process flowhart
  • Lead qualification stage: Determine whether the lead is a good fit
  • Lead segmentation stage: Categorize qualified leads into distinct groups to create a targeted approach
  • Research/discovery stage: Gather additional relevant information about the lead, such as their needs or interests
  • Outreach and lead nurturing stage: Reach out to potential customers and nurture them through marketing activities
  • Proposal creation stage: Create a tailored proposal that meets the customer’s needs
  • Negotiation and closing stage: Negotiate the terms of the sale and close the deal
  • Post-closing activities stage: Make sure customers get started on the right foot with implementation and onboarding resources
  • Follow-up stage: Monitor customer feedback and continue communication with the customer

If you’re creating a detailed flow chart like this, be sure that under each of these steps, you add various activities or tasks that sellers should complete at each stage.

For instance, in the post-closing activities stage, some tasks may include sending out thank you notes, holding post-sales training sessions, or deploying a customer survey. Similarly, for the lead qualification stage, determining whether the lead is a good fit or not may entail checking whether the lead fits the criteria for your ideal customer profile, or whether they can afford your product or service.
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Start streamlining your sales process today

A solid sales process flowchart is the cornerstone of sales success. By guiding your team through each step and maintaining some consistency across the entire sales process, you can start to streamline your sales efforts and guarantee a higher success rate.

Once you have your sales process flowchart in place, the next step is to leverage it to inform your sales pipelines. Fortunately, there's an easy way to do this with Streak

From custom views and comprehensive data analytics, to deep integrations and visuals that offer you a big-picture understanding of your pipelines, it’s never been easier to streamline your sales process. Want to see for yourself? Try Streak for free today!

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