Kaizen is an approach to improve continuously by making small changes in the processes. The numbers of small easy to implement positive changes deliver dramatic improvement in sales and marketing results.
The Kaizen approach is based on cooperation and commitment to transform for betterment. The approach has been adopted in diverse business sectors and delivered the results as per expectations. Kaizen theory guides to evaluate and improve the current marketing activities for better results in the future.
Ten Kaizen Fundamentals Aligned to Sales/Marketing:
Businesses need quick and the best return on the investment. There is no scope left to ride over the successes of past for longer; to sustain the growth rate and even to survive in the competitive era, businesses need to empower their marketing policies with the latest methodology and technology; and, Kaizen is the best time-tested technology to improve sales/marketing results. The conversion rate optimization (CRO) is at the core of Kaizen. The ten Kaizen fundamentals that guide the Lean- Kaizen sales/marketing teams are:
- Let go the assumptions.
- Be proactive for solving the problems.
- Avoid accepting the status quo.
- Don’t chase the perfectionism; instead, adopt iterative changes.
- Find solutions to mistakes.
- Create an environment to encourage everyone to contribute.
- Find out and eradicate the root cause.
- Respect the information and opinions you get from others.
- Apply creativity to lower the cost with small improvements.
- Never stop the journey for improving.
How to Apply Kaizen for Sales/Marketing:
Applying Kaizen for sales/marketing is relatively a new idea; early birds are getting competitive advantages over the competitors. Applying Lean-Kaizen principles to sales and marketing processes requires the entirely new way of looking at sales/marketing and Kaizen.
The sales process is of virtual nature; it is more complex to be identified, measured, and quantified than in manufacturing. Assessment of indicators is purely based on the understanding and expectations of salesperson aligned to so far behavior of potential client; and, this behavior can be changed any time. Here are strategic steps to apply Kaizen should for sales/marketing:
Value Stream Mapping for Sales
To get a complete understanding of sales process and performance, you and the potential customers must be on the same page. The areas to be improved can be identified by analyzing the sales process and the trending buying processes. Eliminating waste has been the fundamental of Kaizen–Lean approach; therefore, don’t waste the efforts and cost for the things that don’t work for the customers or which are not valued by the customers.
Alignment of your plans and efforts according to customers’ behavior is must to improve the sales results. Once you develop a new marketing plan, recreate the sales processes with scrutiny schedule. More you analyze the sales efforts and strategies for each lead development and conversion, your salespeople will perform better because of the guidance you provide.
Apply the 5 S’s theory of Kaizen:
There are five ‘Ss’ famous in Kaizen approach implementation in sales/marketing – Sort; Set in order; Shine; Standardize, and Sustain. Implementation of five ‘Ss’ theory in sales/marketing plans and activities eliminates the ‘no results in delivering’ efforts; thus, your sales force can focus better on effective ways. 5 S’s theory implementation includes arranging the workplace professionally and communicating faster also without holding any key information.
Value to Assessed Quality of Leads and Efforts:
How valuable is the lead? Sales and marketing efforts should be aligned to the quality of objects you are going to hit. Understanding of quality of leads helps you to plan, organize and work smarter.
Do you understand the requirements, concerns, and expectations of your client? How do you find a new client? How much interested is the client to make a purchase? If a client is not much interested in your products, you will have to deploy a different strategy to make him interested; and, if your client comes to you, you need to follow a different strategy. Nurturing the leads into the interested prospects should be your roadmap.
Use ‘PDCA’ Mantra of Sales Kaizen:
What is ‘PDCA’? It is – Plan; Do; Check, and Adjust. This success mantra is all about continual improvement. You plan for a collective goal (sales target). Everyone does as per his role and capacity.
Team manager and members check the outcome and assess the possibility of conversion and the period for the closing of a sale. Adjustments are made according to the identified barriers. The pinpointing of problems at an early stage helps the sales professionals to change the way of dealing with a particular customer.
Three Guiding Principles for Kaizen Sales/Marketing Monitoring:
Ok, you have applied your Kaizen skill to improve the sales/marketing results but monitoring the processes is also as important as the implementation of Kaizen approach. Here are three guiding principles for Kaizen sales/marketing monitoring for further improvement:
Pain in a sales process indicates the area that needs special attention and can be improved. Identified ‘Pain’ can be loss of market share, emergence close competitor, inadequate service support, and failure to compete.
Conflict in sales/marketing refers to the developments during the sales process that creates conflict between the expectations and happenings. Sometimes dissatisfaction of employees because of an unhealthy working environment and incentive programs etc also harms the total output. Sometimes, prospective buyer changes his buying decision because of the absence of expected support or quality service.
Sometimes you get pressure from the senior management because of the high cost of sales and marketing. Wastage of time, cost and efforts on poor quality leads is the very common case. Kaizen approach advocates controlling of expenses without limiting the scope of selling.
Understanding of Kaizen Fundamentals, ways of implementation and ways of monitoring drives the sales/marketing professionals over more promising roadmap but they need a powerful engine to pull the entire team together. The power to carry on the entire team in the same wagon comes from embracement of the latest technology.
Applying Kaizen approach in sales and marketing is getting wide-scale acceptance because of delivering improved results. The way of Kaizen implementation in a stepped process makes the difference to ultimate yields; here comes the role of professional Kaizen consultant or Lean – Kaizen consultancy agency that could impart the training to all the concerned professionals. The learning of Kaizen implementation can be simplified by making it part of ‘continuous learning and development’ program designed for the special groups of sales and marketing professionals.