by Todd Youngblood
GE says that Six Sigma has saved the company $8 Billion over the last three years. Is anybody smart enough to apply that kind of power to the sales process?
A recent Business Week article noted that, “In the world of manufacturing, Six Sigma has become something akin to a religion…” In addition to the $8 Billion saved at GE, Dow Chemical calculates an average savings of $500,000 per project and there’s a laundry list of other manufacturers with similar success stories.
Even more intriguing, Dell estimates that a six sigma project took $2.4 Million out of their Accounts Payable process. Not a manufacturing process, but one executed by knowledge workers. (Your sales reps are knowledge workers, right?)
Wellmark used six sigma and reduced the time to add a new doctor to its medical plans from 65+ days to 30 or less, and was also able to reduce the headcount required to do it. Again, that’s knowledge work substantially improved with this “manufacturing” tool.
Here’s a disturbing/humbling perspective… Many (if not most) sales execs would be thrilled if 30% of all leads could be turned into sales. That would translate to One Sigma performance!
Three sigma performance (which, by the way, would get you summarily fired from any GE factory) equates to turning 93% of your leads into revenue producing customers.
No more math for now. It’s too depressing. Unless, maybe, we could view this as an opportunity.
What if the process engineering principles of six sigma could be applied to your sales process? What if the define, measure, analyze, improve, control philosophy really does apply to knowledge work like selling?
What would the bonus check look like if you could lead your team to two sigma? or three sigma? even 1/2 sigma?
Think about it…