Applying Cellular Concepts to Marketing Segments 1

Cellular manufacturing is one of the most powerful Lean tools. It will allow for smaller lot production, quality improvements, and shorter lead times and simplifies the implementation of pull. Typical manufacturing systems had the same machines all grouped together and as a result batch type manufacturing was developed. As manufacturers developed cellular systems, they found quality improved and smaller lot quantities could be efficiently handled. Many of the work cells were rearranged into U-shaped or L-shaped patterns. This allowed one worker to operate several machines, which improved productivity. The benefits have been very well documented and applied to many industries. PDCA Cycle

Has quality suffered in sales and marketing? Many times, the customer seems to be more of an expert than the salesperson calling on them. Other times experts have to be brought in and duplication of manpower takes place. Many companies have a sales closer; sometimes a sales manager that comes in and has the power to close a prospect when ready.

In most sales and marketing applications, you have marketing assigned by their duties they do and salespeople assigned to certain accounts. Instead of this typical arrangement, what would prevent an organization from assigning personnel and cross-training them within one of the marketing stages? This way your team would become experts within the stage and be able to respond to the needs of a prospect better and more efficiently. Since they are handling the processes of the stage, that particular area would have a better chance of improving the methods utilized within it.

Take each individual stage and think about creating a work cell by defining the operations that take place within that stage. The number of resources within that stage will have to correlate to the number of prospects within the stage. It must be recognized that numbers don’t always work out perfectly or that certain talents may still have to be utilized in several different stages. But the quality of the interaction may increase with this type of system.

We have moved into a more collaborative cycle of business and many of us are considering that traditional marketing segmentation is not working. What would be the premise for segmentation by how a customer/prospect uses a product? I started this discussion in a blog post; Do You Know the Right Job For Your Products?. If you have customers/prospects segmented by use, you may want to consider developing that stage as a community. Envision your own Ning Community site or Facebook page and build relationships versus a defined process to move prospects from one stage to the next. Many organizations do this in the after sale process utilizing clubs for example. But what if you had a community of early adaptors at the beginning of your funnel? Or a community of heavy users in the middle of the funnel? Would more innovation take place?

Related Information:
SALES PDCA Framework for Lean Sales and Marketing
Profound knowledge for Lean Marketing
If all of us need to be marketers, what’s the framework?
The 7 step Lean Process of Marketing to Toyota