Lean Marketing & Sales – Time To Lose The Waste

Mike Girdler

Less waste, more value! In my last blog I looked at the concept of lean marketing and sales. Specifically, what is it and how is …

Less waste, more value!

3d business man money down the drainIn my last blog I looked at the concept of lean marketing and sales. Specifically, what is it and how is it implemented. This blog focuses on the aspects of the lean marketing & sales equation — waste. Specifically, identifying and eliminating waste to make your marketing & sales departments more effective, efficient, and ultimately, more profitable.

What is lean marketing & sales

Lean marketing & sales is all about value to the customer. It focuses your efforts on getting rid of waste and  concentrating on elements that are valuable to your customer-getting things when they want them, how they want them, at a price they want, and all with a great experience.


WASTES in LEAN marketing & sales

In the theory of lean, there are seven wastes:

  1. Overproduction
  2. Waiting
  3. Transport
  4. Over-processing
  5. Inventory
  6. Motion
  7. Defects 

While you may elect to add to or edit this list, it gives you a good idea of where in your marketing & sales processes to start looking for waste.

Let’s look at each of these wastes and highlight some examples.

  • Overproduction – Overproduction is just that; we have produced more product than our customer needs or values. Just think about promotional pieces: brochures, sell-sheets, whatever. How often do they end up in your office or some other storage area? That overproduction costs you time, money, and human resources. It also affects your organization’s inventory and storage costs.
  • Waiting – Lean marketing & sales reduces the interruptions and waiting and increases the flow of operations. Stop for a minute and think about how much time and energy you lose in waiting? Waiting for authorizations, waiting for approvals, not knowing what the status of your approval-  where is it in the process?
  • Transport – What about the amount of time and other resources lost through transport? A great example comes from Alicia Arnold and UPS. UPS analyzed driver’s routes and realized by making left turns they were sitting in traffic-wasting time and burning gas. They rearranged driver’s route so that 90% of the turns drivers made were right hand turns. The result: millions of gallons of gas saved, millions of miles on the road eliminated, and massive reductions in CO2 emissions.
  • Over-processing – Lean is about value to the customer. Over-processing is doing something the customer sees no value in. Take your product packaging for instance. Why bubble wrap a hand towel? Is it going to break during shipping? Exactly. Keep it simple.
  • Inventory – Let’s go back to our over-production of promotional materials example. How much additional cost are we incurring to house outdated materials? How much waste is there in moving from storage area to storage area? That price level break from the printer may have looked good originally, but now it’s costing you because it’s now part of your inventory.
  • Motion – This is needless busy work. You’re doing something but it really never produces an outcome that adds value to your customer. This can occur in your office when a printer is stationed a mile away from your work area and you’re walking back and forth. You’re moving to the printer and back but that effort isn’t adding anything, instead it’s time wasted.
  • Defects – Something has been produced and there are errors, it requires rework, or it ends up being scrap. Defects can impact many different aspects of your organization’s operations, and end up costing big-time. Think about your sales reps and the input of incomplete or erroneous information into your CRM. How will this impact on other departments within the organization? 

These are just some top of mind examples associated with the wastes in lean theory. Once you adopt and begin using a lean approach in your sales and marketing operations, you can begin to see the overall process, start to remove the waste and focus solely on efforts that will be of value to your customer.

While waste identification and elimination is just one aspect of lean marketing & sales it provides an excellent example of how applying a lean approach can make you more effective, efficient, and profitable. Can you see the waste in your marketing & sales processes? Let lean lead the way.

How lean are your marketing & sales departments? Thanks for reading, don’t forget to share/tweet/like our blog just underneath this paragraph. And don’t forget, we’re always here to help with your business efficiency needs.

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Michael Girdler is a vice-president, CornerStone Dynamics Inc. His blogs focus on all things project management. Throughout Mike's career, he has invested deeply into projects involving sales, marketing, training and development, continuing education, and communications environments.

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