Creating a Lean Sales Process
Sales is like any process, it operates by design or default.
Using Lean Tools we redesigned a very successful company’s sales process to improve Sales Rep Productivity, getting more Profit from every Rep.
This month’s case-study Client sells transportation equipment, services this equipment and sells replacement parts. The owner had executed a successful growth strategy, and in a few years has grown by 400%. This is pretty incredible. But even more impressive, is that he realized that his company had out-grown its methods. He knew he had inefficiencies in his sales process, but didn’t know how to find and eliminate them.
His Sales process included creating bids, configuring orders, installing options at his service-locations, delivering and billing.
Lean Selling Process (Process Flow Mapping)
Details: Performance Measurement
1) The focus of this project was sales, so the Equipment Sales team created its Performance Scorecard. As we analyzed and streamlined the sales process we focused on improving sales, gross profit and market share.
Details: Lean Selling Process – Identifying Non Value Added Steps
1) We used Process Flow Mapping to understand the current state of the Sales Process.
2) We had a cross sectional team including Sales Reps, Sales Support, Customer Service and Accounting.
3) We then sorted the process. Each step is evaluated and given a colored dot:
Green – Value Added to the Paying Customer
Yellow – Non Value Added but Required by Legal, Regulatory, Safety, etc.
Red – Non Value Added and should be eliminated
DETAILS – Lean Selling Process – Eliminating Non Value Added Steps
1) We then listed all Non Value Added (red-dot) tasks on the attached spreadsheet. You will see that most of them involved Sales Representatives filling out information. By mapping the process we found out that Sales Representatives were doing all of the administrative work to close a deal… and they were all doing it differently.
2) Sales Reps are the profit-generators for the company. Giving them more time to know their customers better will increase profit. We freed up Sales Rep time and also standardized the process our client uses to sell.
DETAILS – Applying Technology to Eliminate Non Value Added Steps
1) We also carefully used Information-Technology to streamline the process. This company targeted information-technology investments to improve productivity, speed and quality of their sales proposals. This is a contrast to many other companies that let technology dictate the process.
Impact on People
1) Sales Reps are an independent group. Honestly, the first year the Vice President had to push them to use the standard process.
2) After the first year it became the way they did business. Everyone in the company embraced making more money with the same resources, and growing.
Results & Summary
The results of this Implementation are clear and outstanding
1) We eliminated 601.5 hours of Non Value Added time in this company per year.
2) Even better, Gross Profit % increased 40%! The additional time Sales Reps have with customers and the standardized sales process resulted in improved profit for our Client.
We hope this Real World Lean Six Sigma case study gives you ideas to improve Sales Execution. Next month we will look at how this company delivered for their new and existing customers.