Can Telemarketers Really Be Lean?

Last night I received several telemarketing calls from a well known Lean Six Sigma company. I didn’t get upset. I got curious…

Interestingly a lot of Lean efforts are focused on inside sales, inside marketing both inbound and outbound. The key argument for selecting these processes over large account management or channel sales is that they are more structured and flow-like.

This is partially based on the age-old debate of sales being art vs. science. At least direct sales, large account sales are typically more solution focused and involve the customer even in non-Lean shops.
What troubles me about published lean transformations in outbound telemarketing or telesales is how the voice of the customer gets lost.

Do we honestly believe, as Lean professionals that there is massive customer pull for unsolicited outbound customer calls?
Sales organizations should find more ways to discover customer needs, offer promotions in ways the customer prefers (rarely tele) and lean out the inbound sales teams instead so they give the customer a rock star experience.

By definition, sales will never become Lean until sales leadership stops PUSH and allow the customer to PULL and then serve them like crazy….


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