The Insufficient Process syndrome is common in larger companies ($1B+), where compliance to process may be strongly enforced, but the processes themselves become outdated with changing market requirements and competitive and technological developments. The root causes for this situation can generally be traced to a lack of understanding of customer value and a lack of focus on continually improving the delivery of that value.
When salespeople diverge from an established process, it is an early warning sign that the process is no longer working for them. To address this, Lean Selling provides principles and practices for improving the sales process to make it more aligned with the goals of the salespeople as well as management.
The following outlines a four-step approach for the Sales Improvement Team to improve a sales process, using the principles and practices of a Lean Selling program.
- Gaining management buy-in and support to a Lean Selling initiative
- Selecting an internal sales improvement team (SIT) and team leader
- Evaluating organizational readiness (culture, current practices, and infrastructure)
- Educating the SIT on Lean Selling philosophy, principles, and practices
- Completing research assignments to prepare for improvement (aka, kaizen*) event
- Holding a multiday kaizen event
- SIT agreeing on the Current State and a proposed Future State, using Value Stream Mapping tools
- Identifying and prioritizing improvement projects
- Determining KPI’s to assess impact of improvements
- Assigning teams to work on projects
- Deciding what process metrics will be captured, and how
- Developing and implementing a Visual Management strategy
- Making improvements
- Capturing metrics
- Reporting KPI’s
- Reviewing KPI’s to see if improvement projects are working
- Continuing with PDCA** cycles for improvement projects
- Making decisions on next steps
- Returning to Planning phase
*A core component of the Continuous Improvement process, where a team collaborates on improvement of a specific process
**Lean technique for Continuous Improvement that stands for Plan, Do, Check, Act