Sunday, June 01, 2008

Process Improvement in the Sales Process

Over the years one of the more challenging areas to implement continuous process improvement was in the sales process. I have found many sales people to be results driven and time focused. To get them involved for an extended period of time to work on process improvement is to know what drives their behavior. Sales people continuously face rapidly moving sales targets, demanding customers, increased competition, and they always juggling time schedules in order to get everything done.

Along with many others, sales people want to know why they should get involved, after all they are paid to sell and generate revenue. It’s important to let them know that applying quality principles will assist them in closing more contracts, create more customer preference and loyalty, spend less of their valuable time correcting things not done right the first time, generate more commissions and do all of these things in the same or less amount of time.

Bottom line sales results are not the only reason for sales people to get involved in process improvement. Sales people supply the input for a number of core processes like order fulfillment, customer satisfaction studies and competitive comparisons. I have often found that sales people do not believe they work in a structured process. When they begin to realize they are part of the sales funnel process (see below) they become more willing to help prevent errors and defects and start looking at ways to be more efficient and effective by implementing process and quality output measures. CLICK ON PIC TO ENLARGE.

Think of the sales funnel like a plant conveyor belt, sales leads and information pass through the funnel (Process Measures P1 – P5) just like raw materials are passed on a conveyor belt. The Quality Output (Q1) of this process is a timely, accurate and complete order (closed) that meets customer requirements.


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