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SPIF Tip #19: What it Really Takes to Improve Sales Results Permanently

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03It has often

been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. Yet without understanding the system of causes and effects they are dealing with, managers cannot know what changes they should make to produce the results they desire. What marketing and selling needs is a more scientific approach; an approach that allows managers to understand and analyze information about the performance of their organization and to reliably connect inputs/ causes with outputs/results.

SPIF Tip #17: Marketing and Sales is a Production Process

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tip18Quality and 

process improvement methods have roots in manufacturing, where they add value in obvious and tangible ways. In contrast, sales adds value by providing information and resolving issues, both of which are intangible. Given process improvement’s roots in manufacturing, it’s worth considering a few analogies between sales and manufacturing: Leads are analogous to raw materials in manufacturing. Advertising and promotion produce leads, people who may need the company’s products and services or who actively seek information about them.

SPIF Tip #16: Getting Into Your Customer's Head

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customers-headSometimes getting

customers to talk is a challenge. Salespeople need to learn what is important to customers. And they need a conversation to do it. Too often, companies don’t set things up with salespeople so they can have these conversations easily. Nor do they equip their salespeople with the necessary questions and other tools to do so.

SPIF Tip #15: If Nothing is Improving, You're Probably Not Doing THIS Right

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pdca_wheelWhen Edwards

Deming would hear someone say they were going to accomplish a goal or objective, he would ask, “By what method?” Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA)[1] was his answer to his own question. When company leaders focus on results and not the means of achieving them, they fall into the trap of Planning and Doing while ignoring the methods used.

SPIF Tip # 14 - Why You Need to Improve Customer Facing Functions

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m415-09c23b26-ca71-44a3-93dc-b31745ff50ab-v2In his book

"Fourth Generation Management," Brian Joiner described a company that was told by its customers it was difficult to do business with. It is likely you have experienced dealing with similar companies. Since you’re reading this book, you may even have experienced working inside a company like this:

SPIF Tip #13: Are You Using the Voice of Customer You Already Have?

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tip13Here is a brief

exercise I’ve used to introduce Voice of Customer (VOC) to business people who may not be familiar with it: Imagine you’re the owner of a small chain of movie theatres and are going on a well-deserved vacation to a remote island in the South Pacific. You will have no Internet access, so you’ll only be able to get a very limited amount of information every day from your staff. What information should they prepare for you? Take a moment and write down your answers.

SPIF Tip #12: How to Predict Which prospects Will Buy

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crystal-ballI sometimes tell salespeople they should

 be able to predict which prospects will buy. Often they think, “Wait a second. In manufacturing, I know if I put twenty pieces of steel plate in a brake press and apply  three thousand pounds of force, each piece is going to bend to a 90-degree angle. But if I give twenty prospects the same sales message, no way am I going to get the same result. So how is this even comparable?”

SPIF Tip #11: The DNA of Improvement

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221A consultant recently

told me his perception of Lean Thinking:
  • Womack's 5 principles of Lean Thinking are at the DNA level. It shows how Lean can be replicated in new domains, thus, Lean Thinking.
A lot of people think Womack’s principles (Specify Value, Value Stream, Flow, Pull, and Perfection) are everything you need to eliminate waste and create improvement.

SPIF Tip #10: Defining Sales Terms

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tip10Most early

conversations I have with sales and marketing managers concern how they generate leads, how salespeople qualify prospects, or how team leaders track sales opportunities. After listening for a while and building rapport, I’ll ask, “What do you mean by a lead?” or “What is a prospect?” or “What is a sales opportunity?”

SPIF Tip #9: Seeing Sales as a Production System

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tip 9A sales production

system organizes marketing, sales, and service activities to transform the “raw materials” of people in the marketplace who may need what you sell into customers by adding value to them in specific ways.