We adopted Lean, Agile and Kanban principles to best fit the creative, complex nature of enterprise team sales. All Lean models are evolving and improving, of course.
Here is our Sales Kanban model as it stands today.
1. Sales Kanban Principles
Sales Kanban follows our definition of 5 Lean Principles that best apply to selling:
2. We use Kanban boards to manage to the above principles
Our physical Kanban board is in my office but is difficult to share in a geographically dispersed team. So we also use the Trello tool to set up virtual Kanban board for all teams.
The boards must contain all tasks we are working on and must be visible to all team members.
Colors represent various stages of value added:
– Red – active deal (Customer Value Added)
– Orange – business development (Customer Value Added)
– Yellow – channel activities (Customer Value Added)
– Green – field enablement (Business Value Added)
– Purple – Operations (Business Value Added)
While Lean in manufacturing focuses on cost reduction through waste reduction, in Lean Sales the focus should be the original lean mandate: customer pull.
All measurements are customer related and not cost related. We built a Lean team from the ground up so our cost structure was a fraction of traditional sales teams on a per revenue basis.
Key effectiveness metrics:
– Revenue per person
– Sales cycle time
– % of activities customer value added
– % of deals net new
4. Blitz Kaizen Once a Quarter
Sales is a quarterly driven business.
1) We stop at the beginning of every quarter review the last quarter’s business results (retrospectives) in all categories: deals, business development, channel, field enablement and operations. The focus is on effectiveness metrics and waste.
2) We decide as a team what improvements are necessary, what could be eliminated and what we could do better. We implement those changes immediately (blitz).
3) We decide what KPIs need special focus and any special initiatives that should be added to normal busieness.