The 7 Sources of Sales and Marketing Waste


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Systematically identifying and eliminating waste (or “muda”) is fundamental to lean thinking. Waste can be defined as anything that adds no value to the customer – and eliminating one source of waste inevitably exposes others in the unending quest for perfection. Lean thinking traditionally identifies 7 key sources of waste.

Here are my nominations for the 7 sources of sales and marketing waste. I’d welcome your opinions!

LACK OF ALIGNMENT: Focusing on issues that are irrelevant to the customer or are insufficiently important/valuable to them to cause them to take action

POOR QUALIFICATION: Failure or delay in recognising a mismatch between the customer’s critical requirements and the vendors’ key capabilities

OVER PRODUCTION: Creation of more enquiries or “leads” than the sales force is configured to cope with, often at the cost of quality

RESOURCE IMBALANCE: Developing sales and marketing assets, resources and skills in areas that add no meaningful value to the prospect’s buying process

IRRELEVANT ACTIVITY: Any sales or marketing initiative, programme, campaign, activity or deliverable that the customer would not be prepared “pay” for with their time or money

IRRELEVANT FUNCTIONALITY: Time and money spent developing product/service capabilities that are of no relevance to solving the prospect’s critical issues

WAITING: Anything that the vendor does or fails to do that results in an otherwise avoidable delay to the prospect’s buying process

I can’t think of a single employer or client that did not have clear room for improvement in at least one of these areas. Can you recognise any of the above sources of waste in your own organisation? Can you suggest any alternative candidates for the key sources of sales and marketing waste?

Please add a comment or drop me a line to [email protected]. I’d welcome the chance to learn from your experience.

Bob Apollo
Bob Apollo is the CEO of UK-based Inflexion-Point Strategy Partners, the B2B sales performance improvement specialists. Following a varied corporate career, Bob now works with a rapidly expanding client base of B2B-focused growth-phase technology companies, helping them to implement systematic sales processes that drive predictable revenue growth.


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