Retool your Sales and Marketing with Lean


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Many small organizations procrastinate on their marketing efforts. They already have another job or working on a sufficient number of bids. When they finally reach out for marketing assistance, what they are looking for is sales. On the other side of the coin, people often times start out marketing creating brochures, advertisements and other marketing collateral without having a well define process or strategy.

An example of this type of thinking in the new wave of “innovation” symbolized so well with the success of the Lean StartupTM concept. Lean Startup is a strong buzzword these days along with Service Design and Design Thinking. I am perceived at times as anti-Lean Startup because I am unwilling to throw the baby out with the bathwater. My belief is that established companies must grow from their. Nothing wrong with innovation, but it is only a percentage of what you do. We have to create a mix in the marketing process; SDCA ____%, PDCA ____%, EDCA ____%. You will see how I view the three (SDCA-PDCA-EDCA) together in the Lean Scale-up.

This mix has to be balanced along with time, money, and people. If you don’t, people will grab that next “silver bullet” for marketing, thinking that is the answer. A question you might want to ask, what percentage of these resources are you willing to risk? Can you take a 25% hit if the new idea does not work? This is why you reduce the risk by creating a certain % of standard work. We would take and dedicate a % to PDCA and a % to EDCA. This way we learn by doing with little risk and still have upside potential.

Retool your Sales and Marketing with Lean.

Retool your Sales and Marketing Process with Lean from Business901
The tendency is to jump into EDCA (Lean Startup) and try to create a silver bullet. When “retooling”, you should delay starting “new” marketing ideas. You start with CAP-Do and categorize and develop the idea and practice of standard work. Standard Work consists of understanding the basic Lean principles, an understanding of your value proposition, how your product/services are used and the markets you serve.

From that, we can grow through PDCA by addressing either an improvement our position in a market or a product/service. We improve on this through PDCA and create what is called the little i of innovation. The little i of innovation is as important as the big I (EDCA), maybe, even more. It is how we improve standard processes and how we make them better. Practicing PDCA allows us to see opportunities for improvement and leverage the resources that we have. Developing this type of culture is imperative for an established company if we want to become innovative or practice the big I of innovation or as some may call it, The Lean Startup.

I like to use the term EDCA learned from Graham Hill to designate the Explore aspect of Lean. I view it as more of Design Type thinking content that allows for that collaborative learning cycle with a customer. Companies need innovative practices. We look to the fringes of our markets where chaos exists. It is where development and the Big I of innovation (EDCA) occur, and the Lean Startup principles apply. Companies need all three.

Doing it this way, we build a culture of continuous improvement so that the organization is ready for innovation. EDCA is the third leg of the journey. I would recommend starting there only if you have no core value proposition and are at risk of closing if something dramatic does not happen. The Lean Startup with all of its hype has not offered any evidence that it has improved the success rate of start-ups. I think it is a better way, but I certainly would not bet my entire program on it.

As you can see, I talk little about marketing tools and material. What tools that are used are all dependent on what the process tells us. You should try many you will only be successful with a few. However, our trials will be small and directed so that mistakes are early and at a minimal cost. Look at things through an appreciate inquiry lens, using SOAR as much as SWOT. This way we expand on the positive (our core) versus trying to find waste. Waste becomes what disappears or we stop using.

Lean Marketing eBooks (More Info): Excerpt from the Lean Marketing House

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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