Lean Thinking A3 Sales Call Sheet


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This A3 report is a takeoff on a marvelous book by Mahan Khalsa, Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play: Transforming the Buyer/Seller Relationship. It is about determining what’s of value to your client and how to provide a solution that meets this value criterion.

I have used this for many years as a guideline for selling. After writing Marketing with A3, I have had several requests from clients to update several of the tools that we created. This being the most requested one. I am sure it will evolve after a few months but I thought it would be a welcomed addition to the collection. It will be updated on the Marketing with A3 website.

The A3 is laid out much like the call sheets in the book. The author follows a very similar format by determining if there is a need or an exact solution that you or your organization can provide before proceeding to what I depict on the right side of the page.

A3 Sales Call Sheet

In a A3 sense of thinking, we walk through the Opportunity, Resources and Decision Process of a customer to determine if there is a good fit between the need (problem) and the solution. We need to do our best possible job on the left side before moving to the right.

You cannot help someone, even if there exists a substantial opportunity if the timing, people and/or money is not available. We must determine that there is commonality between our customer/prospect beliefs and ours. If a prospect/customer is a qualified opportunity with sufficient available resources there still needs to be a clearly defined decision process with access to the people we need to see. Neither our client nor we have earned the solution till this point. Only at the time should we proceed and present a solution.

In the Solution stage, the right side of the A3, we will demonstrate to our customer how we will resolve their problem and/or achieve the results that match their decision process.

The A3 is not completely clear at this point for the untrained user. We actually intend to demonstrate and resolve each step in a PDCA cycle before moving to the next step or stage. The A3 points out how we intend to do that and the proposed effort/resources to do that.

The most important part of the right side is the relationship section. We need to develop a series of action steps to achieve agreement in each step of the decision process before proceeding. Getting out of sync or having half of the clients’ team on board typically results in disaster. This series of actions steps are needed to ensure a positive and productive ongoing relationship.

Using A3 in this manner facilitates the introduction of Lean to the Sales and Marketing team. Learning by doing is at the essence of Lean and as proficiency develop within area that your team is familiar with they will start developing a continuous improvement mind set.

In the TimeBack Management Blog recently they discussed how to develop a consensus-driven culture. I recommend the post in its entirety. Stealing some of his thunder he says:

What this company is crying out for is a process for building consensus. In fact, let’s call it by its lean name: standardized work: a clear method by which a person can build a case for the initiative, communicate it to colleagues, incorporate their feedback, gain their support, and thereby move forward. Slowly, perhaps, but consistently.

Sound familiar? Maybe a bit like an A3?

In fact, I think the A3 is a perfect structure for building consensus. It replaces difficult-to-schedule, bloated meetings with shorter 1:1 meetings between stakeholders. It eliminates turgid Powerpoint decks with a concise story told on one page. And it structures a dialog so that people don’t have an opportunity (or at least, less of an opportunity) to climb up on their favorite soapbox and air their grievances about the proposed initiative. In other words, the A3 can help mitigate the downside of consensus-building.

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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