State of Readiness | Michael Webb; President @ Sales Performance Consultants, Inc.

I have known Michael Webb for several years.  He has been a member of the Advisory Board of the Operational Excellence Society almost since its inception and led the Operational Excellence Society Chapter in Atlanta. 

We start the podcast by discussing the application of operational excellence and continuous improvement principles to sales and marketing activities.  Paris made note of the challenges due to the personality-driven nature of sales and getting salespeople to document processes and how there might be a natural conflict between the human-empathetic side of sales with the data-driven needs of management.

Michael explained how sales processes can be defined through engaging salespeople to determine what drives value for customers.  This allows processes to be measured and improved.  To this end, defining what is of value operationally is important and discussed how processes should focus on creating value rather than only eliminating waste.

Michael highlighted how statistical analysis can be applied to sales activities like lead qualification when processes are defined properly.  This brings more science to sales.  And regarding management needs, Michael emphasized processes should serve salespeople but allow enough standardization for effective management and fostering opportunities for coaching.  Striking a balance when it comes to documentation is ideal; harvesting only the information that is of value and minimizing the narrative form of documentation (nobody reads it anyway).

Towards the end of the interview, Michael overviewed his books, including Sales and Marketing the Six Sigma Way which shows how Six Sigma principles apply to sales, and Sales Process Excellence which earned a Shingo Research Award and provides a textbook on improving sales processes.

And finally, no interview would be complete today without some commentary on where AI is going and its impact on sales and marketing processes and personnel.  To this end, we both believe that human interaction will remain important for establishing trust and empathy.

  • Sales and Marketing the Six Sigma Way: In Sales and Marketing the Six Sigma Way, Michael Webb shows how to blend marketing and sales efforts with the cutting-edge methods of Six Sigma to boost their bottom lines.
  • Sales Process Excellence, 2015 Shingo Award Winner:  In ‘Sales Process Excellence’, Michael Webb traces sales and marketing problems to their root causes in traditional management methods, such as pushing product, setting quotas, and trying harder while doing the same things over again.

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