Lean Selling: How to Make Your Sales Process More Efficient
Lean is all the rage. More and more companies are hearing the battle cry “GET LEAN!” But what is lean and how can we achieve it in a selling environment?
Simply put, lean is removing all the wasteful and non-value-added activities. In sales, it’s removing activity that doesn’t add value to your sales process.
In terms of lean selling, we want to eliminate all of the steps from the selling process that don’t help you move your prospects through it and enable you to sell more.
There are some classic examples of lean being used in the selling environment. One would be creating templates for frequently used emails. By creating a template and automating the process, you remove or automate tasks and are more efficient with your time. Consequently, you sell more.
Steps for Lean Selling
So what are some steps you can take to achieve lean? Here are some suggestions:
1. Build a sales process map.
Create a list of your activities during the course of your day and write them out on Visio or PowerPoint.
You can color code it so that activities are grouped by color. For example, green may be for sending follow-ups and pink may be for prospecting activities. Once you’ve mapped out everything that you do, look for activities that aren’t needed or that can be automated.
2. Automate where possible.
The aforementioned use of templates is an example of successfully using automation. Using technologies like “if this then that” (IFTT) can help you automate items like social media interactions with clients.
If there are common activities that are done by all of your sales reps, see if those items can be centralized and delegated to sales support. There are many items that sales does on a daily basis that could be handled by a less expensive, less burdened resource. Items such as sales proposals can be standardized and proposal tools can be used to simplify and streamline the proposal generation process.
4. Standardize work.
If items aren’t shared across sales, ask yourself why. Why would one person do a step in the sales process while others don’t? There may be a legitimate reason for it, or it may be an item that needs to be eliminated. The goal is not to turn salespeople into robots, but to try to alleviate some of their burden and make their use of time more efficient.
Lean selling can mean your sales team spends less time on menial tasks and more time actually selling! By evaluating your sales process at least once a year, you’ll be able to see where you can be more efficient. Trust me, your salespeople will appreciate it.