Lean and Agile in Sales

Lean and Agile are methodologies originating in manufacturing and software development, respectively, that have increasingly been applied to sales. These methodologies optimize sales processes by improving efficiency and eliminating waste. Although they are two distinct approaches, they complement each other and produce the best results when implemented together.

What is Lean?
The core idea of lean is “maximizing customer value while minimizing waste.” Lean optimizes the flow of products and services across departments and technologies, thinking about a process holistically rather than in segmented parts. It makes continuous adjustments to streamline the sales model by eliminating waste in the form of time, money, and labor. With a streamlined sales model, the sales process moves at a faster pace and creates more revenue.

What is Agile?
The Agile Alliance defines Agile thinking as “the ability to create and respond to change in order to succeed in an uncertain and turbulent environment.” Similar to Lean, it prioritizes continuous improvement. Agile values adaptation to changing market conditions, collaboration, frequent short projects with attainable goals, and assessing progress through data. This methodology minimizes waste, increases productivity, and improves reaction time.

How do these methodologies apply to sales?
While these methodologies weren’t originally created for sales, they yield big improvements in efficiency when applied to sales processes. Lean thinking helps companies to map value streams, encouraging sales managers to think along process lines and align their selling process with the customer’s buying process. These adjustments shorten sales cycles. In eliminating waste, Lean removes illegitimate sales prospects from the pipeline, focusing only on highly qualified opportunities, or what we here at VizQuest call verified sales opportunities (VSOs). With only legitimate prospects remaining in the pipeline revenue forecasting is more accurate. Streamlining the sales process makes it easier to identify and address problems.

Agile thinking emphasizes a build-measure-learn feedback loop that enables companies to quickly pivot sales strategies. As the B2B space continues to rapidly evolve, this ability to adapt is crucial for any B2B company’s success. Agile methodology consists of short “sprints” with a final objective broken up into incremental goals. Throughout the sprint there are daily “stand ups” in which team members share progress and challenges, promoting collaboration within the team. Attainable short-term goals keep people on track and make the final objective feel within reach. Throughout this sprint, performance metrics are tracked and monitored to create accountability. At the end of the sprint, data is analyzed to assess the efficacy of the sales model and inform adjustments.

Together, Lean and Agile methodologies create the most efficient and productive sales model. Here at VizQuest, we incorporate these methods into our proprietary Revenue Factory model to help companies shorten their sales process and increase their sales pipeline. To learn more about Lean and Agile and how we implement them at VizQuest, check out our whitepaper here!

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