Why does sales and marketing operate to a different quality standard?


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After reviewing the new edition of Juran’s Quality Handbook: The Complete Guide to Performance Excellence 6/e, I wondered why companies hold the entire company to such a high quality standard but leave Sales and Marketing off the hook. Technological measures of quality has existed on shop floors for many years, but measures of quality have not existed in sales and marketing. It has been difficult for organizations to recognize this need as they may have lacked the necessary alarm signals. As an increasing number of companies have become commoditized and market share dwindles, these alarms are now going off all over country. It is simply a lack of demand.

The good news is that the methods, tools and know-how now exist to use quality in your process to drive market share and increase revenue. Sales and Marketing needs to become part of the quality process within your company. Not only to improve their own methods but to lead their companies out of this dilemma of surviving in an economy of an overabundance of supply. What’s not in place is the culture of continuous improvement and the ability to understand the changing perception of customer value.

In the new Juran Quality Handbook, they listed the lessons learned by organizations that were successful in their quality initiatives. Their analysis showed that despite differences among the organizations, there was much commonality. These common strategies follow:

  1. Customers and quality have top priority. Thus customer satisfaction was the chief operating goal embedded in the vision and strategic plans. This was written into
    corporate policies and scorecards.
  2. Create a performance excellence system. All organizations that attained superior results did so with a change program or a systematic model for change. This model enables
    organizational breakthroughs to occur.
  3. Do strategic planning for quality. The business plan was opened up to include quality goals and balanced scorecards, year after year.
  4. Benchmark best practices. This approach was adopted to set goals based on superior results already achieved by others.
  5. Engage in continuous innovation and process improvement. The business plan was opened up to include goals for improvement. It was recognized that quality is a moving target; therefore there is no end to improving processes.
  6. Offer training in managing for quality, the methods and tools. Training was extended beyond the quality department to all functions and levels, including upper managers.
  7. Create an organization-wide assurance focus. This focus is on improving and ,ensuring that all goods, services, processes, and functions in an organization are of high quality.
  8. Project by project, create multifunctional teams. Multifunctional teams, adopted to give priority to organization results rather than to functional goals, and later extended to include suppliers and customers, are key to creating breakthroughs in current performance. They focus on the “vital few” opportunities for improvement.
  9. Empower employees. This includes training and empowering the workforce to participate in planning and improvement of the “useful many” opportunities. Motivation was supplied through extending the use of recognition and rewards for responding to the changes demanded by the quality revolution. Measurements were developed to enable upper managers to follow progress toward providing customer satisfaction, meeting competition, improving quality, and so on. Upper managers took charge of managing for quality by recognizing that certain responsibilities were not something you could delegate—they were to be carried out by the upper managers, personally.
  10. Build an adaptable and sustainable organization. Quality is defined by the customers. Customers are driven by societal problems. Quality now includes safety, no harm to the environment, low cost, ease of use, etc. To succeed, all organizations must focus on attaining sustainable organizations.

Your organization may be doing many of these things very well. I challenge even the most successful companies to rate their sales and marketing by the same standards. What would you find? Just citing one area, do you measure improvements of processes, or do you compensate people? These ten strategies are possible in sales and marketing. However, quality improvements are seldom obtained without a methodology. The installation of a methodology, a process is required for improvement. Ultimately a different culture has to be developed for quality to be truly achieved.

This is why I believe the Future of Marketing is Lean!

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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