How to Map Your Sales Process with Salesforce

How to Map Your Sales Process with Salesforce

Every department in your company is important, but so is your sales team and how effective their sales process is. A sales process that functions well allows your sales team to close deals faster, generating more revenue for your company. In order to close deals, your sales team needs to ensure prospects are converted into happy customers, but they also have to be adaptable to diverse customers. Commercient and IMG want your sales team to stand out, that is why they have teamed up to help you map your sales process within Salesforce!

What is a Sales Process and Why Is It Important?

A sales process is a roadmap that your sales team will follow to make sure prospects go through the stages to become successful customers. By doing this, prospects become aware of their business needs and sales representatives ensure this, by providing them with the right steps through each stage of the sales process. 

By having a streamlined sales process, each sales representative will be able to track their progress when it comes to converting prospects into customers, knowing where they may have gone wrong, and how to make improvements throughout the process. This will give the sales team a chance to go through training and achieve their objectives. 

The sales process is important for the following reasons:

  • New sales representatives will be able to follow a process and have a better understanding of how the company functions.
  • In a sales process, there is a step to do research so that sales representatives have a better understanding of their prospects and outline their buyer personas.
  • Sales representatives will focus on qualified leads, as they have gone through the steps and there is more of a possibility of them converting. 
  • It gives sales representatives the opportunity to follow up with prospects at the right stages. 
  • It can help forecast sales as each sales representative will know what stage they are in and estimate how many deals can be closed in a certain period of time.

Definition of Terms

Account, contact, lead, and opportunity are some of the terms that you will become more familiar with as you begin to use Salesforce for the first time. While every company may have its own way of defining these terms internally, there are some standard definitions in Salesforce.

  • An account indicates a business entity or an organization you plan to sell to. Each account can have many contacts, and you store all the information about them in your database.
  • A contact refers to a person who is qualified to do business with you. By “qualified,” it means that the person could become a paying customer. Contacts are not Leads (see below).
  • A lead refers to an unqualified contact. They’re unqualified because they still have doubts or uncertainty about your business and aren’t ready to buy, even though they show some level of interest in your product or services.
  • An opportunity refers to the high probability of generating sales revenue. When an opportunity is created, it’s a signal of the start of a sales cycle. Opportunities are typically created from a converted qualified lead or an existing client that is interested in a new product or service

What is a Salesforce Lead?

A Salesforce lead refers to any lead you’ve captured from your website, online ad, phone call, cold email, etc. A customer would not be considered a lead. Not all leads are created equal – some will end up being unqualified, while others will end up becoming life-long customers. This is why it’s important to properly track your leads and ensure the proper data is being entered into your CRM.

In Salesforce, there are three lead-related terms that are highly relevant when managing your lead pipeline: lead qualification, lead status, and lead process.

  • Lead qualification: The process of determining if a lead is qualified or how likely a lead is to turn into a paying customer. This is an internal process that allows you to make a decision on when to either disqualify the lead or convert it to an opportunity.
  • Lead Status: A status assigned to each lead. Out of the box, Salesforce has the following lead statuses: New, Working, Nurturing, Qualified, and Unqualified. You should look to adjust these statuses to match your sales process. A few examples of custom statuses include meeting scheduled and not interested (which is different than unqualified).
  • Lead process: This is the process of creating, nurturing, and transferring new leads to sales reps to convert them into opportunities. Marketing will play a role in the lead process as it can help to nurture these leads to gain interest and then hand those leads back to the sales team for direct interaction. Aligning your sales and marketing teams is a crucial part of the process and key to your overall success.

What is an Opportunity in Salesforce?

A Salesforce opportunity isn’t a person or a business entity. It’s a potential future sale for an account (or person) you want to work on or track. You can use Salesforce opportunities to forecast sales for your business. Like the Leads status, Opportunities will contain stages to track the progress of the Opportunity. The out-of-the-box Opportunity stages are Qualification, Needs Analysis, Proposal, Negotiation, Closed Won, and Closed Lost. A few custom stages that we see often are Needs Followup and On-Hold.

In addition to the Opportunity stages, it’s also important to track the potential revenue (amount) that the Opportunity should generate, even if it’s only an estimate initially. It’s also important to track what products or services are associated with that Opportunity.

One other important thing to note: Salesforce requires a Closed Date when creating an opportunity. While you might not know when an opportunity will close, you can estimate a close date for pipeline reporting purposes. This date can be changed after the Opportunity is closed.

When to Convert a Lead to an opportunity?

There is no one size fits all answer. Every business will have a different process to qualify leads and convert them to real opportunities. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Establish a consistent set of criteria for defining opportunities and ensure that all team members follow the rules for lead conversion. Inconsistent data management will result in inaccurate reporting and make it difficult to manage your company’s sales pipeline.
  2. Make sure as you capture leads that you gather all of the necessary data points to properly assess lead quality (industry, geography, lead source, company size, etc.). Once a lead is converted, all of this data will flow to the opportunity and will allow you to generate revenue reports leveraging these data points.

Converting a lead to an opportunity should be a data-driven decision to ensure that you’re spending the most time with the right prospect, rather than investing time into leads that will not produce ROI.

What Can I Do to Get a Head Start on Mapping Out This Process?

Some businesses have well-established sales processes, while others are going through this process for the first time. If you are going through this process for the first time, here are the main items to start gathering:

  • Lead Status: Determine if the out-of-the-box statuses are helpful (New, Working, Nurturing, Qualified, and Unqualified) and add remove them from this list as needed.
  • Lead Source: Identify a list of where your leads come from. The most common examples are websites, social media, conferences, networking, phone, and referral.
  • Lead Assignment: Determine how to handle new leads coming in that were not sourced by a Sales Rep. Some common scenarios are:
    • Round Robin – Leads can be routed to a new sales rep each time based on a list of available reps on the sales team. This evenly distributes leads among the team.
    • Lead Assignment Rules – Salesforce offers Lead Assignment Automation that allows you to assign leads automatically based on specific lead criteria (i.e. geography, industry, etc.)
    • Sales Lead Queue – New leads can automatically be entered into a Queue and then manually assigned by a manager.
  • Lead Conversion: Determine at what point your team should be converting a lead to an opportunity. Some common conversion points are when a proposal is being created for the client or after a discovery call/meeting is completed.
  • Opportunity Stages: Determine if the out-of-the-box stages are helpful (Qualification, Needs Analysis, Proposal, Negotiation, Closed Won, Closed Lost) and add remove them from this list as needed.

Bonus Tip

Are you collecting leads from your website or Social Media? Salesforce offers web-to-lead functionality where you can connect your website forms to Salesforce so all new leads will automatically pass to the CRM with all of the appropriate data. If you are using Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram lead generation forms, you are able to use Zapier to connect those social channels to Salesforce for auto lead capture.


CRMs can sometimes be overlooked, but it’s a platform that can help map your sales process. Commercient integrates ERP and Salesforce data, either one way or bidirectional and this means your sales, marketing, and customer service teams will have access to information in real-time. This can help keep track of orders, invoices, and sales reports. Clients will get the most out of their data and leads as well as prospects will be easier to track. With IMG and Commercient, your teams will get the most out of mapping their sales process with Salesforce.

Contact Commercient today to find out more!