Control Points and Handoffs


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Most of us agree that hand-offs generate it a great deal of waste both in lost opportunities and mistakes. In most Value Stream Mapping  projects, it is the first area that we concentrate on. In Sales, the dreaded hand-off may be the most difficult part of sales team jobs. Many sales people are very possessive of the hand-off and who it is handed to. In a past podcast with Jamie Flinchbaugh, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean: Lessons from the Road , we discussed the introduction of control points. I think a well design control point can go a long way in developing the trust needed to create hand-offs. Jamie does a great job explaining  control points, an excerpt from the transcription:

Joe:  If I have a salesman that had five questions to measure the pulse of where he was at with a customer that he completed after a sales call each time, we would have an idea on what his feeling was about the customer, where our value proposition was, where our service capabilities were, what we’d be able to do. If he had that and sent that in that would be a piece of standard work for the salesman. Jamie Flinchbaugh

Jamie:  Absolutely. A lot of times, we swing the pendulum in sales between let everybody wing it and having sales scripts. Sales scripts often are far too rigid and winging it means that we have no capability to learn or share or grow as an organization. So, having job aids that kind of say: these are the 10 questions that we really think are the most effective. You may have to start in the middle and work your way back. You may have to skip over a couple because they just don’t seem relevant. It’s not a rigid. It’s an aid. That’s really what is important. A good sales person will have this anyway. The only difference is they probably have it in their head.

A good sales person will know which questions really get to the heart of the matter. Which questions give me good answers and good responses and a good sales person will experiment with that. Well, say if I ask you this way, I get a narrow response. If I get this one, I will get the response I’m looking for.

A good sales person will constantly be experimenting with their set of questions and their spiel as well around what they find most effective. So, they have standard work. It’s just usually in their head. I think the only difference here is, do we have the ability to share some of that knowledge as it’s build throughout a sales team or sales organization?

Read the transcript or listen to the entire podcast.

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.


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