“It’s just the way things are done around here.” This may be the most costly thought process of all time, and unfortunately a lot of companies live by it.
Are there inefficiencies in your Sales & Marketing processes today? These inefficiencies are costing your company money. Because they are hidden costs that do not reveal themselves in your financial statements, they are continuing to do harm to your business. By incorporating “Lean” practices into your commercial approach, you can correct these inefficiencies and enjoy more profitable sales.
There are many aspects to “Lean Process Improvement”, but lean systems are customer driven. Because of the genesis of “Lean” in the automotive industry, most people think of “Lean” as relating only to the manufacturing process. However, as “Lean” is really tied to removing costly inefficiencies, it truly applies to all aspects of business – YOUR Company’s Sales & Marketing effort included.
The traditional goals of a “Lean Process Improvement” are to:
- Improve Quality
- Eliminate Waste
- Reduce Lead Time
- Reduce Total Costs
You can see how these goals easily transfer to your sales and marketing effort. Customers determine the value of your products. If YOUR Company’s sales and marketing program contains “non-value added” aspects, your potential for gaining additional market share is suffering because these activities are costing you money. You are either:
- Passing these costs on to your customer, increasing your sell price
- Absorbing these costs, reducing your profitability
- Suffering from doing a combination of both
In any of these scenarios, YOUR Company’s ability to win incremental business is being compromised, but also your CURRENT business is not as profitable as it could be.
Too many companies, whether they are manufacturers or distributors, are spending time and money repeating sales and marketing steps that are unnecessary to help them grow their sales profitably. As an example, consider your Sales Process – is it taking too long to close the sale? If “yes”, you are losing sales revenue. Consider your “time to market” for new products. Is it as short as it can be? If “no”, you are losing sales revenue. These and other inefficiencies are absolutely correctable!
To determine if you need to implement “Lean” practices into your Sales & Marketing process, see if any of these 9 questions apply to your business.
1. Does YOUR Company have a “Sales Process” that is as effective as it could be, or is your sales team not advancing sales opportunities through the pipeline?
2. Does YOUR Company advertise in a way that reaches your desired customer and is producing a good ROI, or are you spending money on the hope that your desired customer will see it?
3. Does YOUR Company have an authoritative and educational website that is working for you as a sales tool, or is it just another website?
4. Does YOUR Company implement price increases efficiently and timely, or does the process take too long?
5. Does YOUR Company generate qualified sales leads and follow up on them to secure new business, or do you treat all leads equally?
6. Does YOUR Company appropriately segment your marketing initiatives, creating communications that “speak” directly to the desired customer or do you take the same approach to reach all potential customers?
7. Does YOUR Company have sales aid information that is organized and readily accessible for your sales team, or are they having to search in multiple places for that?
8. Does YOUR Company effectively and consistently on-board new hire salespeople, or is the approach inconsistent, resulting in a missed opportunity to instill your corporate strategy from the outset?
9. Does YOUR Company introduce products to the market timely and powerfully, or are you missing out on the great opportunity to draw attention to your distributorship’s brand image as a solutions provider?
All of the above are areas where inefficiencies can become common practice and hurt your top and bottom lines.
“Lean” thinking – it’s not JUST for manufacturing!
Michael has over 20 years of industrial sales and marketing experience, helping manufacturers and distributors strengthen their brands, build customer loyalty, and capture market share. Visit www.mybrandperformance.com to learn more.