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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Why Lean is Crucial for Sales and Marketing

Vicki Morgan is a Business Partner of the Continuous Improvement team at First West Credit Union. Currently, she is a Blackbelt candidate for our Fall 2013 program. In this interview, Vicki sheds light on an issue often brushed under the rug- embedding Lean principles into the area of business focused on customer value, the Sales and Marketing department.

Why is Lean often overlooked when it comes to the Sales and Marketing arm of the business?
Most people look at Lean from a process improvement stand point.
We describe it as a three pronged stool:

  1. What does the change mean to the organization
  2. What does change mean to the employee
  3. What does change mean to the customer
The third prong is our "why". Ultimately, we want to improve the customer experience and the other two prongs are supporting roles to that reaching vision.

One might argue that the Sales department is already customer focused, what value does Lean bring to the Sales department?
Lean puts a lot of emphasis and optics around the customer. It is easy for us to get tied into our own routines and as such we have the danger of being motivated to perform our work with the goal of making my own work easier. If you are approaching your processes from the customer driven standpoint sometimes this may mean moving some of the expectations that we have on our clients to the back office and taking on a bigger piece of the pie. If your customers feel that it will take their own time and energy to deal with you, then they will shop elsewhere.

In this respect, Lean is a mechanism to help you walk through your process thinking about what a customer would think. This is your competitive edge.

Companies that fail to do that suffer in product delivery, product creation and how they market their product is based on what they think versus marketing from the customers' standpoint. Generally, we all have similar products and services but Lean thinking, looking at your processes from the customers' perspective is what will set you apart.

Lean Sensei's two-day workshop will examine how traditional sales and marketing practices are filled with “muda” that not only waste resources but even worse, block attempts to become a Lean enterprise.

October 16 to 17, 2013
Lean Sensei training facility,Vancouver, BC 

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