Contact: Michael J. Webb
Phone: (877) 784-6507
Chicago, Ill (June 20, 2005) — In recent years businesses have gained productivity through quality-oriented approaches such as Six Sigma. Unfortunately, most of the gains have been in manufacturing; sales and marketing productivity has not kept pace. Sales and marketing tends to focus on people and their emotions, and is quite different from manufacturing. How can quality-oriented approaches help improve productivity in the slippery world of sales and marketing?
Now, executives can bring science to marketing and selling without causing more problems than results.
Although manufacturing is different from sales and marketing, both can create value for customers. Sales and marketing can help customers solve problems and provide needed information. As it turns out, most companies haven’t really thought through their sales and marketing functions in those terms. Yet that simple idea is the key to improving productivity in sales and marketing organizations. This is the concept behind a valuable new book: Introduction to Sales Process Improvement: Gaining More of the Right Customers at Higher Margin and Lower Costs with Lean and Six Sigma, by Michael J. Webb.
When executives want to improve sales, they tend to mean sales people’s performance. They try to improve it through marketing campaigns, sales training, compensation programs or contests, or even CRM systems. Usually these intend to get salespeople to do more, or to work harder, and don’t change the fundamental way marketing and selling work are done. As a result, in many companies, marketing keeps on generating leads, and salespeople keep on ignoring them.
The problem is people’s assumptions on the meaning of terms such as a “lead,” or a “qualified prospect.” Often, there is no consistency and no one has even mapped out the steps prospects go through from the prospect’s perspective, much less set up reasonable ways of measuring the quantity and quality of leads and prospects flowing through marketing and salespeople’s hands. “Once these things are accomplished,” says Webb, “companies can begin viewing the sales process more rationally, in terms of cause and effect. The key is understanding why the customer should take the actions you want them to take every step of the way, and to design these into the way you do business rather than leaving it up to chance.” The book is a ground-breaking prescription for better management of marketing and selling that marketing and sales people, as well as their customers, will appreciate.
Michael J. Webb is President of Sales Performance Consultants, Inc., a consultancy devoted to helping senior executives who are struggling to measure and improve unreliable and unmeasurable processes for finding, gaining, and keeping customers. Mr. Webb delivered the keynote address for the first two conferences held on applying Six Sigma to marketing and sales. He has helped clients such as American Express, 3M, Marriott, and many others to improve their sales processes and results. He also works with certain sales training firms to integrate best selling practices into client’s sales operations.
Mr. Webb’s website (www.salesperformance.com) contains information and resources for companies that want to improve their sales performance. You can reach him at (877) 784-6507 or email@example.com.