How to use Lean and Six-Sigma in Sales Training

Utilizing both Lean and Six-Sigma methodologies can help improve your sales training, especially for new hires. By incorporating both sales methodologies into your training, you’ll develop healthy work habits early on, thus succeeding from the start. As we’ve discussed before, both Lean and Six-Sigma improve sales metrics through eliminating waste, defining and solving problems within your dialogue framework. With the added guidance from a sales or marketing manager, problems with your sales process can be eliminated on a weekly basis. Today, we’ll demonstrate how to apply Lean and Six-Sigma to your sales training, how it helps improve your performance and keeps you on track to success.


Six-Sigma is a methodology that focuses on reducing variation and defects to drive improved process yields.  One cornerstone of the process is Six Sigma’s DMAIC model.  DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. For training purposes, we apply this model to our sales SCRUM in order to structure success on a smaller scale; by breaking it down, the process becomes less overwhelming and sales reps focus more energy on selling. In order to fully grasp the concept, we will outline each step of the DMAIC model, then explain how it applies to our sales SCRUM using italics:

Define: First the problem is defined, making sure that everyone knows their role and the purpose of the process. (SCRUM Example: By focusing on a set of 15-20 companies, I should be able to advance my campaign by streamlining the Close, Advance, Fill process.)

Measure: This is a data-collection stage used to establish baselines as the basis for improvement. (SCRUM Example: Out of the 15-20 companies, I will call the decision maker until contact is established. I’ll record how many dials it takes to connect with the decision maker, but also record the number of connects it takes to close.)

Analyze: This step is used to identify, validate, and select the root cause(s) of the problem for elimination.  A plan is created to measure data related to the root causes and find out how much each one contributes to the problem.  (SCRUM Example: I notice that I connect with more decision makers, in less dials, in the late-morning to early afternoon, but I have difficulty with “X” objection. During the weekly meeting, I will review my metrics and dialogue framework with the sales/marketing manager to see where the strengths and weaknesses are.)

Improve: In this step, the solutions are implemented to solve each root-cause that contributes to the problem. (SCRUM Example: After the weekly meeting, we came up with “Y” solution to “X” objection. On the following day, I will attempt to make a majority of my calls within the late morning to early afternoon and apply solution “Y.”)

Control: After a solution is implemented, a control plan is put in place to sustain the process and ensure consistent gains. (SCRUM Example: I’ll record the same data as the previous day, but also record the success rate of solution “Y.”)


When it comes to Lean, the success comes from reducing waste in order to improve workflow. According to Lean methodology, waste comes in 3 forms:

Mura – waste due to uneven workloads

Muri – waste created through overburdening people, equipment, or the system

Muda – an overarching label that covers 7 categories of waste, including waiting, overproduction, and overprocessing.

An easy way to reduce waste and stay on track is with a balanced schedule. Here at VizQuest, each sales rep has a certain number campaigns that they focus on; any more than that would produce Mura waste. To avoid Muri waste, we have scheduled breaks to recharge and refocus their energy throughout the day. With our weekly SCRUM meetings, we constantly correct and reduce any Muda waste found in our workflow. By utilizing both Lean and Six-Sigma sales methodologies, you can feel confident that your sales training will yield sales reps who produce maximum results with a minimal waste.


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