The Not Following syndrome is more common in mid-size companies ($250M-1B). The root causes for this are in the domains of culture, management commitment, and execution. Well-understood processes either have not been institutionalized, communicated, or enforced. Therefore, there is no path to improvement in performance. Lean Selling provides methodologies for institutionalizing and gaining commitment of the salespeople to known and proven sales processes.


The following outlines a four-step approach to get buy-in from a selling team to a sales process, as the first step toward instituting a Lean Selling system.


  • Selecting the members of an internal Sales Assessment Team (SAT) from sales management and sales leaders
  • Agreeing on management and individual goals and objectives of the sales team
  • Helping the SAT to see the importance and value of following a process in sales
  • Introducing the SAT to basic concepts of Lean Selling
  • Identifying key obstacles to increased sales success
  • Understanding root causes for salespeople not following a process


  • Learning how much variation there is with selling approaches
  • Cataloging what seems to be working and not working
  • Agreeing on what we know, what we don’t know, and what we need to find out
  • Determining whether there is a “Least Common Denominator” (LDC) model for the way selling is being done currently
  • Comparing LCD to standard (established) model to identify similarities and differences
  • Understanding why differences exist between LCD and standard model
  • Agreeing on a candidate process for moving forward
  • Identifying KPI’s that will show how the proposed process is working
  • Determining which metrics support the KPI’s and how they will be captured
  • Brainstorming ideas on the best way to motivate the salespeople to use the process
  • Making the candidate process design visible to management and everyone who uses it
  • Communicating, training, and executing the process
  • Capturing data and monitoring adherence to the process


  • Convening the SAT to report on personal and anecdotal experiences with the candidate process
  • Discussing salespeople’s experiences resulting from adhering to the candidate process
  • Evaluating KPI data collected
  • Identifying new issues that have surfaced
  • Determining if and how the process should be modified to respond to what has been learned so far
  • Deploying an updated process
  • Continuing with PDCA* cycles to hone the process


  • Continuing to monitor KPI’s and salespeople’s reactions
  • Monitoring congoing adherence to process
  • Deciding on next steps for Lean Selling improvement

*Lean technique for Continuous Improvement that stands for Plan, Do, Check, Act

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