Process – Part I

This week’s Pearl of Leadership Wisdom is on…

Process

You don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of achieving anything in any organisation unless you have systematised everything you can.

When I was a young boy…

…I travelled across the Pennines to work in north Manchester at ICI, Purchasing and Supply. My first commercial job. This department was ISO registered. There was a procedure for everything. I didn’t know the first thing about purchasing and I wasn’t going to ask anyone. Oh no! Not me.

I worked every day and then, in the evening, when everyone had gone home, I read the procedures – 2 hrs a night. After 2 months, I knew how purchasing and supply worked. It did nothing for my negotiating skills, or commercial brain. But that’s not what procedures are for.

It takes two…

The skills part lies parallel to the procedure. One is not a substitute for the other.

Without skills, flexibility, experience and creativity: the procedure is a hollow shell.

Without procedure: skills and experience remain largely untapped.

My background has…

…largely been in manufacturing. It’s highly regulated. We had procedures for most things – manufacturing, health and safety, HR, how to walk to your office with a hot drink…

…except sales and marketing.

Except sales and marketing. Oh yes. Sales people are creative, dynamic. They have the gift of the gab, they are flight of foot. They are supreme; saviours of the business. You cannot tether this sort of mercuric talent with procedures. Procedures are for the little people. The office-bound dullards, with their chit-chat about last night’s telly.

This is, of course, crap!

I have a dirty secret…

It’s staggering that so many sales and marketing people have managed to largely get away with not being proceduralised; not using a systematic process. I was one of them. Here’s a dirty secret – sales and marketing is a process. Sales people and marketing people are not born. You don’t need special talents. You don’t need the gift of the gab unless you’re selling from a market stall. You’re not doing that, are you?

Today’s winners…

…don’t allow the critical functions of sales and marketing to be anarchic. They understand it is one of the business’ core processes; the key word being process.

In marketing…

…they understand their Target Market Segments, their Ideal Customer Profile, and how to get to them. They understand their Value Proposition and their Unique Selling Proposition. And they act accordingly. They don’t spend a penny piece on any form of marketing communications unless the return-on-investment can be rapidly calculated. They do marketing experiments – cheap and quick. If it works; do more. If it doesn’t; stop. It’s a process.

If you run your own business and you do not have systematised marketing (i.e. getting those who are interested in what you do to come to you without you hunting them down, one-by-one; your life will be a misery.)

In sales…

…they know how to prospect (and why); how to sell; how to close; how to deliver; how to resell; how to ask for referrals. And when and why all these things should be done. It is not left to chance. They do them all, all the time. It’s not left to what the sales rep feels like doing today. It’s a process.

Of course skill and flair and all that other stuff are important; and with all else being equal they will win the day. But I’d rather have six solid guys following a process, than six prima-donnas who don’t know what day of the week it is, but they’re great guys you know…customers love ‘em.

Too many people…

…spend most of their time unfocussed, unguided, goalless, on autopilot, distracted, anxious, fearful and doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons at the wrong times. OK I exaggerate a wee bit, but not so much.

They certainly spend most of their time doing the one thing they think is important that they are comfortable doing. This is not enough. It really isn’t enough. It isn’t good enough. Not for their organisation. Not for them.

I have seen the light…

People can achieve great things. They have the potential. Challenge your colleagues, bosses and subordinates to develop processes for what they do. Because it’s the foundation that allows their brilliance to shine every day, not just on the occasional day when the chaos allows it.
Mark

, , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply