Mapping Expectations of Customer Behavior


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Understanding Respect for People/Customers

Most of us will agree when it comes down to the actual purchase decision, it is seldom the best functioning item that gets purchased. Rather, it is a combination of other factors including the other two legs of value; social and emotional. For example, it is why we choose a known brand in a product, it’s safe. However, why do we continue to train our sales force primarily on how to deliver our features and benefits? These are directly related to function. Even when function is the predominate thought, we still have to recognize the social and emotional value. They are the drivers of customer experience.

In Dr. Deming’s context of management, he believed that people are the sources of value and that we need to have a fundamental understanding of psychology. In Lean, it is labeled under the term “Respect for people.” I believe it plays a more important role externally to the organization than internally. After all, it is a function of value.

I have become quite intrigued in the method of Outcome Mapping. From Wikipedia:

Outcome mapping is a project progress measurement system that was designed by the grant-making organization, International Development Research Centre (IDRC). It differs from traditional metrics in that it does not focus on measuring deliverables and its effects on primary beneficiaries but on behavioral change exhibited by secondary beneficiaries. The outcome mapping process consists of a lengthy design phase followed by a cyclic record-keeping phase. Outcome mapping is intended primarily for charitable projects in developing countries funded by large donor organizations in developed countries.

In typical process based systems, we focus on deliverables. I equate that to the typical funnel thinking displayed in a sales and marketing context. We focus on website hits, number of sales calls, open and conversion rates, etc. and our favorite cycle time. All of these are measurable and important.

When we introduce a new product/service changed is required. Change requires a shift in behavior for someone and maybe the entire organization. Organizations are also more networked with decision making becoming more decentralized. We are having difficult time identifying and addressing all the influencers in the decision process. We ask are salespeople typically by themselves to manage this. However, how well is it understood by the rest of our supporting cast and supported?

Outcome mapping focuses more on behavioral changes versus deliverables. It focuses less on achieving a quicker throughput and instead, on how we influence (deliberately and unintended) others. Outcome mapping is typically broken down into two phases; design and record-keeping.

A brief description of the Design Phase:

  1. Visionary Essays: These essays are called vision and mission. The vision reflects the broadest acceptance that is achievable. It reminds me of that “Ideal” target that we discuss in Lean and more specifically the Toyota Kata. The other essay is the mission statement which describes how the vision will be supported. Not in the terms of gaining acceptance rather in the terms of sustainability.
  2. Boundary Partners: Partners are considered anyone that this project influencers. The most common method is to draw a circle with the project at the center and then spoke out to the partners. I liked the maps that had their own clusters and distanced themselves by some predetermined measure such as use, purchase influence, support, etc. I saw one such type of map where you could pick the center node and move it away and connecting areas moved with it. This way when you highlighted an area of influence, you could see how other nodes responded (OK – I am a nerd).
  3. Progress Markers: These markers are the specific behavioral changes that are required of the boundary partners. They call this process the “outcome challenge.” Outcome challengers are often described similar to user stores. An example: The (project) intends to see (partner) who (describe behavior). I have seen several ways to extend this wording by using markers such as behaviors (expect-to-see, like-to-see and love-to-see) and in duration (short, medium, long). I liken my own method of Know, Feel and Do.
  4. Identify Tactics for Boundary Partners: The tactics are made up of a simple grid for each outcome challenge partner with three horizontal columns identified as Casual, Persuasive and Supportive. Causal actions are directly related, persuasive actions are indirectly related and supportive action enables or encourages but has little direct influence (Branding for example). There are two vertical columns that are labeled I for individual or internal and E for environment or external. This is called the strategy map.
  5. Identify Tactics for the Visionary Essays: After everything else is done an exercise of answering eight questions are completed. The questions are the basis for the tactics to employ. A quick outline of the eight areas:
    1. Prospecting for new ideas
    2. Seeking Feedback
    3. Obtaining Support
    4. Assessing & Redesigning
    5. Follow-up
    6. Sharing Knowledge
    7. Experimenting
    8. Reflection

The record keeping phase is completed in a journal format. The primary purpose of this phase is not for hard data rather for learning and creating an open exchange of information. It is an attempt to have reflection on what has been done and what is needed next. Outcome mapping does not side against or for monitoring or collection of data but rather focuses on how that data will be used to further the project. The three phases of Record Keeping:

  1. Performance journal: A collection of minutes of the meetings to determine the progress being made.
  2. Strategy journal: A record of the actions taken and the results in terms of the strategy map.
  3. Outcome journal: A record of events, changes that relate directly or indirectly to the progress markers or outcome challengers.
  4. Evaluation Plan: A short description of the efforts and accomplishment of the project.

I have seen many different styles and layers of maps to accomplish this outline. Below, I have included one of my own Outcome-Based Canvas or A3 for your review. After completing this outline, it reminded me of Hoshin planning and Toyota Kata. However, it gives me a stronger feeling that we are looking at the soft side, the behaviors of the process more than the typical Lean methods.

Book reference: Outcome Mapping: Building Learning and Reflection into Development Programs

Blog Post: Lean Sales and Marketing: Outcome Based Mapping

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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