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SPIF Tip #39: How Deming's Foundational Principles Will Make Your Sales Funnel Flow Faster

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In the work-a-day world of

hustling to find new customers, what good is a management philosophy used in manufacturing? If you’ve wondered about this, prepare to be surprised. Because your sales success today (and in the future) is strongly influenced by these simple, deceptively powerful ideas. Consider the state of most sales and marketing organizations:

SPIF Tip #38: Sales Management Development Podcast

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I was interviewed by Todd Youngblood, who runs the Sales Management Development Podcast. He agrees with me that the vast majority of B2B companies could benefit immensely from applying lean and Six Sigma thinking to sales and marketing. We discussed why so few companies have begun this journey, and what it looks like when you

SPIF Tip #37: The Obstacle Even Great Salespeople Can't Overcome

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A fellow named Yves asked this great question:

In all your SPIF tips I have read, you haven’t written about selecting the right people in sales. Perhaps this is the sales manager’s responsibility. Yet, plenty of sales managers should not have been promoted to their positions. How can sales work if the wrong people are sales managers, or if technical experts are trying to develop new customers, or farmers are trying to hunt, etc.? In other words, how can sales work if HR doesn’t do its job?
Most businesses get this problem backwards. It is true that hiring the right people is important. However, if management doesn’t understand with data how their system (or process) works, they are running a crap shoot, not a business. Hiring the best people into that environment will eventually make them miserable.

SPIF Tip #36: Unless You've Gone to the Gemba, You're Probably Fixing the Wrong Sales Problem

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I’ve often written about

the sad state of affairs in sales and marketing productivity. It happens because companies have only anecdotes and no data on the causes of sales and marketing problems. But collecting and analyzing data is harder than it seems. The “information dashboards” and “control systems” guiding and controlling sales and marketing are notoriously bad. Salespeople don’t like to collect data. And unless you have some background in process improvement, you may be unable to use the data you have. So, where do you “Go to the gemba” in sales and marketing?[1] Where you start in analyzing data? Whether you want to improve sales productivity, or manufacturing productivity, the most important part of the system is the people. In both arenas, you must start by studying what is between the ears of your employees. Before sales and marketing people can help you improve things, they need to know why they are doing it, and what is in it for them.

SPIF Tip #35: A Wake Up Call for Senior Management

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Piyush Saggi is the co-founder

and CEO of a promising startup in Atlanta called SalesTing. He interviewed a seasoned enterprise sales rep in a recent LinkedIn post “Confessions of an Enterprise Sales Rep.” Some of what the rep said was priceless: Piyush: What % of your leads come from Marketing?

Rep: Tough to answer that. Probably not much. Every now and then they'll send me someone's contact info as a "lead" if that person attended a webinar but I'm usually already engaged at that company.

Piyush: Have you ever shared this with your Marketing team?

SPIF Tip #34: What Sales and Marketing Can Learn From "The Martian"

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I'm sure you've heard

about "The Martian," Ridley Scott’s thrilling movie about Mark Watney, an astronaut left behind on Mars when a mission to the red planet went horribly wrong. 
about "The Martian," Ridley Scott’s thrilling movie about Mark Watney, an astronaut left behind on Mars when a mission to the red planet went horribly wrong. 
 
Watney's statement, "I'm going to have to science the shit out of this" struck a chord around the world. The only way Mark could save himself was relentless use of a single tool: reason.

SPIF Tip #33: Need to Improve Your Team's Sales Productivity? This Simple, Logical Approach Works

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When markets, technologies,

or personnel change, sales departments that have run well for years can have a rough time. When too many deals go to “no decision,” and no one can predict which accounts will buy, the traditional “black-box” mentality of the sales department becomes a problem that needs solving. Of course salespeople do their best to explain what is happening via their stories and anecdotes. Unfortunately, that usually doesn’t solve anything. Worse, these situations are typically not their fault. They are the legacy of the culture that worked in the past. Yet, there is a way to see inside the sales black box. And like an X-Ray, the results it makes possible are far better than most companies can achieve without it.

SPIF Tips #32: The Root of Improvement

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I recently had the

opportunity to talk with Bob Miller, former Executive Director of the Shingo Institute. I asked him how he helps companies change their culture in a manner that enables improvement to really stick. His answer was quite interesting:

SPIF Tip #31: Sales Problems Are Probably Not Caused By Your Sales VP

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Through the grapevine

I heard that the CEO at a company I’ll call “Blunder, Inc.,” wanted to fire his Sales VP. Why? He missed his sales forecast. Now this might not be politically correct, yet someone has to say it. Based on that information alone, the CEO should be fired, not the Sales VP. Senior executives behave this way every day. Yet this behavior is inexcusable. Let me explain.

SPIF Tip #30: How you can help sales leaders become more critical thinkers

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Problems are the

undesirable result or effect of the work or a job. Solving them is fundamental to everything in business. Unfortunately, most people in sales and marketing have not been taught the finer arts of problem solving. This article describes one method for defining sales and marketing problems in a manner that makes them easier to solve.