Lean Sales and Marketing is a term that has a low company priority until its benefits are understood.
Much like its humble beginnings in operations. Many organisations have applied lean thinking in their operations, but few take the step further to apply it within their sales and marketing (S&M), who appear to be immune to the lean mantra.
There is a reluctance by S&M managers to accept what they do as a definable ‘processes,’ as they believe they operate in a world of relationships and the art of selling and marketing. Their management style plays a major role in their desire to accept processes as set out in this article regarding managers drowning along with your revenue line.
Lean Sales and Marketing focuses on B2B business management practices more than how your sales team interacts with customers. Companies have their own set of internal practices and processes to function, but there is an underlying commonality where lean thinking has a direct benefit to the company with a degree of adaption.
One of the great influencers of lean thinking, W. Edwards Deming, said, “if you cannot define what you are doing as a process, you do not understand what you are doing.”
Why should management embrace Lean Sales and Marketing?
At the most fundamental level, lean promises to not only lower the cost of sales but also improve sales growth. A major contributor is the alignment of sales and marketing to gain the full value of lean thinking. Aligning sales and marketing goes much deeper than agreement on sales tools and overall direction.
It is about management shifting from people managers to business managers. Understanding the different styles of sales managers and how they affect your business performance when you consider hiring them.
The key is to engage with S&M managers in a way that will make them want to adopt lean positively. Lean Sales and Marketing is a form of measurement, providing a catalyst for improved decisions. On interviewing S&M managers, they often show resistance to measurement, which comes from win-loss outcomes when measured in the past, where the focus was on sales goals rather than all the contributors to delivering sales goals.
Lean Sales and Marketing goes much deeper to provide valuable information to improve decisions and the experience of those working with S&M managers. It has a direct positive effect on the company and to those working in sales and marketing.
Lean Sales and Marketing is bringing lean thinking to the centre stage of S&M planning. It goes to the core of setting budgets for both sales and marketing and driving performance improvement while simultaneously reducing costs.
A lean sales and marketing organisation must define its processes.
Lean Sales & Marketing Process Model
The process model drives S&M performance, and if one or more element is not operating effectively, then the root causes need to be identified and addressed for it to improve. It is about applying the right analytics to uncover the root causes then taking informed and necessary action for improvement. You can utilise lean principles and techniques to develop a sales and marketing performance improvement plan. Lean processes provide continuous improvement. It can remove under or overburdening, waste and bottlenecks while improving process flow. Importantly it can identify continual cost savings.
Lean Sales and Marketing are more related to the analytical capabilities of S&M management than exploiting the full disciplines of lean thinking. There are similarities but without saturation. Companies seeking to improve performance will find that adopting a lean approach offers them an effective and appropriate set of tools and techniques to assist in realising their goals.
If you are looking advancing the disciplines of sales and marketing with the intention of reducing your cost of sales and increasing revenue, please reach out to our office and organise a time for discussion on your specific situation.