Is Standard Work needed in Sales and Marketing?

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Watch as Mike Micklewright uses comedy, to dissect the top 10 list of unacceptable corrective actions when it comes to today’s quality systems:

You know why this video is funny? It is because we have heard them all. In fact, Most of us have said them ourselves at one time. And as odd as it may seem, customer may even accept them for awhile. What is the corrective action?

I find in any methodology that the creation of a standard seems to be the key ingredient in the process. As Taicchii Ohno stated: “Where there is no standard there can be no kaizen (continuous improvement).” We must identify how we will control these processes to make sure that we are all doing them the same way, and the best way our organization has identified. Controlling the process means documenting the work instructions, training employees or finding other ways to make sure that the process is done consistently.

In ‘The no-nonsense guide to standardized work’, Robert Thompson explains;

Employees, not ‘outsiders’, study the jobs they know intimately in order to uncover best practices and create methodologies for continuous process improvement. Thus they become responsible for solving problems and own the standards that result.

In a Dennis Stevens post, Does Process Discipline Really Reduce Creativity? he says:

Something I find interesting is the push back I hear from agile developers that process discipline will inhibit their creativity. They say, “Software development is a creative activity. If you put process rigor around it you will inhibit our creativity.” I have heard others complain about applying Lean concepts to software development. “This isn’t manufacturing,” they say, “There is no place for standard work in what we do.”

These are the same arguments that I hear time and time again in developing standards for the sales and marketing process. The sales and marketing process simply has to improve. It no longer has the budget, manpower it once did and in many cases a defined sales and marketing model. Many organizations don’t even know where their leads and sales are coming from. They attribute them to word of mouth but are really hesitant on how, what or who influenced a new lead. We even are ridding ourselves of marketing segments and calling them touch points. The importance of standard work is that it is the starting point to created efficient and effective ways to communicate with your potential customers.

Dennis Stevens response to the excerpt above:

In fact, it is because software development is a creative process and because it isn’t manufacturing there there are a whole set of processes that must exist to drive value. It is important to focus creativity where it adds value. It is also important to create an environment where creativity can be harnessed. You may not be able to create standard work around domain specific problem solving, but I contend that the higher the level of process discipline in the team, the more reliably developers will deliver value. Further, I believe that the lack of discipline in the following process areas is the key contributor to poor performance – particularly in new agile teams.

Standard work begins with understanding the customer. We determine customer requirements and make sure we can deliver on those requirements. Delivering on these requirements consistently means that we need to be in control of our processes. And simple stated, we are only in control of our processes when we have documented procedures.

What are the excuses about the quality of sales and marketing? Same tired ones that we have all heard before?

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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