A Lean Approach to Marketing
When I apply Lean to Sales and Marketing, I view Lean as a knowledge building exercise. It is the deeper understanding of the customer business that we achieve through the methods of PDCA and EDCA. We are exploring opportunities and helping the customer become more efficient or create better opportunities. It is not the role or expert that you must take. Experts are only average sales people. You must allow your customer to become your teacher and learn their business from their perspective. Your sales and marketing become more responsible in getting the message in versus the message out.
The greatest growth opportunities are on the edges of the use of our product/services. Or, on the edges of the 5Rs of Growth. We must make a concentrated effort to identify and participate in relevant knowledge flows on the edges of these 5Rs. When we envision tomorrow’s best product or service being used in our customer’s future, it creates far-reaching possibilities. It is this type of thinking of our customer’s business, the edges of their business, and the edges of the 5Rs that are needed for growth.
This is not just about innovation and development though it will certainly accelerate the process. This is about creating opportunities in the 5Rs of Growth. and with new customers and partners. This is characterized by SaaS companies and their ability to integrate with others. But the question is how do you discover these edges and know it when you see it.
The most obvious edges are product edges which are the most traditional and focuses on innovation and development. The second edge is journey edges which are where we focus on in the sales and marketing space. The third edge is enterprise edges which are our underdeveloped assets within in a company. All three edges offer opportunity and depending on the company, one may be an easy alternative than the other. For further discussion on this, I would recommend the book, Edge Strategy: A New Mindset for Profitable Growth.
When you start looking at edges you start asking different questions. The sales and marketing people, The Challengers, are looking at organizations that participate with their customers and seeing how their own product or subsets of their product integrates with them.
We look at how to extend both our customers business and our own creating opportunities along the customer journey. But we first start with asking different questions: The authors in the Edge Strategy suggest by starting with these questions:
- What do our different types of customers want or need?
- What could or should our solutions include?
- Which of our assets would others value and why?
The concepts first delivered to me by Jon Hagel in The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion, and later emphasized through the use of Explore-Do-Check-Act (EDCA) has served me well with most customers. Looking at the edges of markets and customers is simply where I find opportunity. The difficulty in implementation is the allotment of budgets and time for each component, SDCA – PDCA- EDCA, in conjunction with the needs of the organization. There is also a team component part to it which I discussed in the eBook, The Lean Engagement Team .
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