Sales and Marketing the Six Sigma Way Hardcover – Aug 1 2006
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About the Author
Michael J. Webb founded Sales Performance Consultants, Inc., to help business executives make their sales funnels flow faster, and is the foremost expert on sales process improvement. He gave the keynote presentations at the first two conferences ever held on applying Six Sigma to sales and marketing. He has worked with clients such as American Express, 3M, Marriott, and many smaller companies to improve their sales processes and results. He also works with certain sales training firms and CRM firms to help integrate the best selling practices into their client’s sales operations. His website, www.salesperformance.com, contains a wealth of hard-to-find articles and resources on process improvement for marketing and sales organizations.
Tom Gorman has written or collaborated on more than a dozen business books, and he is the author of Writing the Breakthrough Business Book. Tom is based in Newton, Massachusetts and at www.contentbizbooks.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
1. Marketing/Sales is both an art and a black box, or even a black hole as it seems to be a continuous cash guzzler.
2. Sometimes CEOs feel they are captives to the Sales VP because even though they are not happy with their sales performance, firing and replacing them with new ones is not a sure win.
3. Marketing campaigns are like shooting in the dark. If you don't shoot, you will not catch anything. But if you keep shooting in the dark, pretty soon the bullets will run out. Most CEOs feel their Marketing VPs are "addicted" to all those fancy marketing programs without assured ROI.
4. VP/Marketing and VP/Sales are like a divorced couple. The best way to pacify them is to keep them separate forever. But how can CEOs afford to do that?
Systems Thinking Guru Russell Ackoff once said that the System cannot detect its own problem and it must be from a high order system level. Marketing and Sales VPs cannot solve their own dilemmas and problems, it requires the CEO/COO/CFO in conjunction
with other functional VPs to work together in a systemic way.
However, among all the functional disciplines, Marketing and Sales are the two most mysterious and hard to understand arenas for the whole executive team. "Sales and Marketing the Six Sigma Way" is the first book ever that not only presents the real CORE of the respective Marketing and Sales function in an easy to understand system way, it also reconnects Marketing/Sales function with the rest of the business in a systemic manner. The introduction of "Customer Value Mapping" in the whole Marketing/Sales process is truly a remarkable contribution by the author, Michael Webb. I personally first saw that idea on Webb's business website 18 months ago and applied it to the company I worked for and realized an unbelievably rewarding result.
A side benefit of reading the book is that with Webb's superior
writing style people can easily absorb the whole idea of Six Sigma and Lean Management without going through all the terminology and jargon commonly found in other books on Six Sigma. This is a very important feature of the book as its main appeal should be for all corporate executives and Marketing/Sales managers, not just QA coaches.
Among over 100 books on Marketing or Sales that I have read since 1990 after founding my own company, this book is definitely on the top. It will also be a great companion book for MBA students to get bridged to the real challenge of the business world and get well trained with a systemic framework that has rich real world success track records, including my own company's fantastic experience.
C.T. WU, Ph.D. in E.E.
Santa Clara, California
The author, a black belt practitioner, argues that both sales and marketing functions must be examined as processes desperately in need of improvement. He pleads for the two functions to end their traditional "silo" mentality and "us/them" behavior; showing that six sigma tools can bring marketing and salespeople together and enable them to collaborate as one team.
Mr. Webb urges the use of the five Six Sigma steps (DMAIC), along with tools such as process maps, process measurement charts, fishbone diagrams, SIPOC diagrams, and so on--all of which help in finding (marketing), winning (sales), and keeping (customer service) existing and new customers. According to the author's website, process improvement techniques can also greatly alleviate some of the following typical problems facing marketing and sales:
- Developing and launching products that are not successful in the market because they fail to address real customer needs.
- Advertising and "brand awareness" campaigns that create no measurable customer response.
- Marketing campaigns and trade shows that generate large numbers of "leads" that do not get followed up by salespeople, and are not qualified prospects in any case.
- Salespeople chasing "anything that moves" in their territory, thus spending time selling to the wrong prospects.
- Proposal-generating activities that do not get customers to buy.
- Servicing repetitive customer complaints that could be eliminated if the product were improved, yet that information never makes its way into the requirements for new products. (Source: [...]).
There are two minor criticisms of the book: First, it tends to be too lengthy and repetitive, in fact it probably will not lose any of its main themes or messages if it is condensed to around 200 pages.
Second, most of the case studies cited in the book come from smaller companies. Although the cover of the book mentions that the author worked with large international companies such as American Express, 3M, and Marriott, the only six sigma case study from an international organization came from HSBC USA, whose managing director (a former GE executive) led the six sigma efforts at this bank.
This is the challenge Mike Webb has taken on in writing Sales and Marketing the Six Sigma Way. Webb is one of the few people who seem to truly understand not only the importance of both art and science in selling, but, more importantly, how they must be integrated for success. His book is the first I have seen that moves beyond the "it works everywhere else, why not in sales and marketing?" attitude toward a true integration of the art and science of selling.
My own company has worked with many firms on measuring the quality of their sales funnels. Our analysis shows that the average rep's pipeline scores less than zero on a six sigma scale. One of our clients, an industrial distributor, calculates that "getting our funnel to zero sigma would result in at least a three-fold increase in sales."
Applying Mike Webb's approach is a "must do." As he correctly points out, a sales team need only learn the basics of six sigma. While injecting accountability and additional discipline is necessary, developing a corps of black belts is not. As a sales leader, you owe it to yourself and your team to read this book and get started on implementing its message.
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