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Blog / Sales Process Improvement Forum

Selling Power TV Interview: Does Your Sales Process Create Value?

by Terran Webb | Comments (0)

Gerhard Gschwandtner interviews Michael Webb on Selling Power TV: 

Quote for  General Managers:

“A process approach is a method of finding out what does the customer want, how do we figure out a way of keeping our own company from not giving it to them, and then making that a path that is easier to follow, both for the customer and for the salespeople. …”

“Once you have that idea, then the process is the salesperson’s best friend …”

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Selling Power TV Interview: Does Your Sales Process Create Value?

by Terran Webb | Comments (0)

Gerhard Gschwandtner interviews Michael Webb on Selling Power TV: 

Quote for Lean Process Excellence managers:

“What happens in organizations is that the [production] bottleneck, when you uncover it, you solve it, and then the bottleneck moves to someplace else, and you solve that, and that is how performance improves. And that is one of the huge advantages process excellence brings to businesses.

Because the way sales and marketing is managed now is just somebody’s hunch. Hey, I think the problem with our sales and marketing is … I think it is time and territory management training, so let’s do that. One solution, another solution, and they never define the problem!”

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Selling Power TV Interview: Does Your Sales Process Create Value?

by Terran Webb | Comments (0)

Gerhard Gschwandtner interviews Michael Webb on Selling Power TV: 

A quote for sales and marketing managers from this interview:

“Most people think that process is about discipline, making sure the sales guy does this, that, and the other thing. And, I don’t believe that. Process is about creating value.

“Really good salespeople can invent ways of creating value. But often, they spend 90% of their time trying to work their way around all the roadblocks that their own company puts in the way …”

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Applying Process to Sell Leases for a Real Estate Development?

by Michael Webb | Comments (0)

Real-Estate-marketA reader asked 

“How can this process apply to a new construction to lease up a new real estate development project?”

I haven’t worked in real estate, but I’ve bought and sold enough houses to know the same principles hold. 

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Do We Have the Bandwidth to Implement Process?

by Michael Webb | Comments (0)

John Wooden claps his hands in encouragement of his players in a practice session

A founder and CEO of a global transportation services company asked this very interesting question:

• Do we have the bandwidth to implement
process while the selling wheel must keep
turning?

Every company faces conflicts with time and resources when beginning to implement process excellence. Their people tend to perceive process as extra work they are being asked to do in addition to their “regular” work:

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What is the most effective way to get sales leadership to buy into lean process excellence in sales?

by Michael Webb | Comments (0)

A reader asked:

This is an important question,  and I’ve ansMichaelwered it before  (link1, link2, and link3).

An interesting experience with an editor recently relates directly to this issue. The fellow did not have much background in B2B selling much less lean or process excellence. His first comment on a piece I sent him was, “The text contains a lot of abstract nouns. Try to find ways to use figurative language to ‘concretize’ abstract concepts.”

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Why are improvements difficult to create in sales and marketing

by Michael Webb | * Comments (4)

A reader asked: 

  • Why do improvements seem so difficult to create in sales and marketing?
Leadership listening and acting

Leadership listening and acting

This is a good observation and a good question. The VAST majority of attempts to improve in sales and marketing don’t improve anything in the end. Scratch the surface of most consulting interventions, and you will see this.

Yes, there may be a new kind of sales training, or a new kind of CRM system, or whatever. Yet, in what way did productivity improve? Does the organization even measure productivity? Do they know how to measure productivity? Can they measure value to the customer? Can they measure anything, besides end results (orders, revenue)? Maybe the managers can rank order the effectiveness of their salespeople. So, what are they doing to make sales easier, to improve productivity of the team as a whole? 

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How Do You Sustain The Lean Process Initiative Long Term

by Michael Webb | * Comments (4)

A reader asked, 

  • How do I sustain the Lean process initiative in the long term?
Leadership listening and acting

Leadership listening and acting

This is sometimes referred to as “step-after-next thinking,” and it is one of the most important things you can do. “Once I make such and such change, how will I sustain it? How will I improve it?” This is especially interesting for sales and marketing.

First, lets assume you are able to create measurable improvements in sales and marketing. This is challenging enough in most companies, but doable. To learn simple things you can do to make improving easier, read “Why Are Improvements Difficult To Create In Sales And Marketing?“. 

Now, lets use the “5 Whys” approach. Why is it hard to sustain improvement in sales and marketing? 

Take a moment, and think about your answer.

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How To Take Time Needed For Lean Strategies When You Have Few Resources And So Little Time

by Michael Webb | Comments (0)

A reader asked: 

  • How can we take the time needed to identify, plan, and execute Lean strategies when we have so few resources (no one has any time)?
Time marches on!

Time marches on!

We often hear this question when we start working with clients. Leaders ask it in our early discussions. Then workers involved in improvement work also ask it.

Believe it or not, feeling this way is a sort of prerequisite for success.

First, without pain around your current condition, you and your team might not have the motivation to create an improvement. So, pain and pressure of some kind are a necessary ingredient.

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How To Turn Sales Around In The Shortest Possible Time

by Michael Webb | Comments (0)

A reader asked: 

  • What is the first thing you would do to turn sales around in the shortest possible time?
Prince William tries blindfold archery at new centre, Feb 2010

Prince William tries blindfold archery at new centre, Feb 2010

The first thing anyone has to do is to define their problem. Disappointing sales are never the problem; they are the symptom of a problem. Without realizing it, we in the North America tend to get confused around the term “problem.” That is because we do not have a tradition of defining our terms. In marketing and sales, most businesses engage in a form of blind archery. Unwittingly, they shoot solutions at problems they have not defined. That’s why nothing improves, and it feels like you are in a rat race.

What, exactly, is happening in your situation? Can you express it through observable, measurable data and evidence? Are sales going down from previous levels? If so, what has changed? Are they not rising fast enough? What made you think they would go up in the first place? There are tons of questions to ask, and they are all about defining what you know about the current state. That is how of find clues to potential causes.

Defining the problem differentiates process excellence from traditional management approaches in marketing and sales. You should never try to solve a problem you have not defined. Traditional sales and marketing tries things that sound good. This compounds the problems and makes it difficult to see what is going on. That’s why sales training doesn’t work, CRM systems don’t improve results, lead generation programs don’t increase sales, and on and on and on. 

Solving a problem begins with data and evidence, and proceeds in a systematic way from there. It uses the data to identify potential causes for the situation, and it seeks to find the root cause of a problem. When you confirm root causes with data, it tends to point to potential countermeasures. Countermeasures can then be tested. This is a scientific approach, and any other approach depends on blind luck. You either know what you are doing, because you can use evidence to trace the symptoms to root causes, or you don’t. 

The traditional approach is more “instinct” oriented. Often, executives commit enormous time and money based on gut reactions and “instincts.” Have you worked for years on “opportunity management,” “lead generation,” or “selling solutions”? Have the problems gone away? Then it is a safe bet you have not defined the problem. You only think you know what needs to change. You might not be able to know if improvement happens. B2B companies whistle away millions doing this daily. 

If you want to learn more, consider these articles:

Those should give you a good start. I look forward to learning how things go.  

Michael

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