No, the point of this first post of the new year is not about a resolution to lose weight. (Although, yes, I’m doing that again this year!) The point of this first post is to focus attention on what is arguably the sales manager’s most powerful habit; Process Thinking.
Re-reviewing the fundamentals of lean management is most certainly in order for “new year action items,” and frankly is something sales leaders must do on a continuous basis. These fundamentals are simple. They make extraordinary sense. They are easy to understand. They are not so easy to implement. (Which is exactly why you as the leader need to be thinking lean, thinking process, on a continuous basis!)
- Value – Look at everything you and your team and your customers are doing. If an action does not add value to your organization or your customer’s organization, stop doing it. Now!
- Value Stream – Look at the value-adding actions that are left. Put them in the optimal sequence. You will be stunned to find obvious dumb sequences. You will find, for example, proposals delivered before customer requirements are understood, elaborate sales strategies developed and executed before the prospect is qualified, huge relationship development efforts expended before the customer decision process is understood, and on and on and on…
- Flow – With the proper sequence of actions defined, do it faster! Think of your sales process as a river. Straighten out the meandering curves. Remove the boulders. Get a bigger motor for the boat.
- Pull – Clue the customer in on what you’re doing. If it makes sense; if you have a compelling value proposition; the customer will pull you through your very straight, boulder-free sales process ASAP. If you don’t have a compelling value statement and the customer is not pulling, rethink the priority of the opportunity and/or the customer and/or build a better value prop.
- Perfection – I can put it no better than the late great Vince Lombardi. “We will pursue perfection, knowing full well that we will never attain it. But we will pursue it. And in doing so we will achieve excellence.
So constantly think “Lean Sales Process,” and go have a great 2015!