Thursday, September 10, 2015

Thought for the Day - Principle and the Process

To get anything under control, to do any job well, it is necessary to understand 
1) the principle behind the work (the basic thought) 
2) the process to achieve it.(the actual sequence of work)

For example, the aspect of sales. The sales team is overly concerned with closing sales. It comes down to number of calls, number of closures. It can get a bit haphazard, lot of good work and good intent but way off key in terms of results. We need more traction, more customers, bigger orders but it is just not happening. Soon there is lots of frustration.

In this context we speak of the Twins - Principle and Process. For example, in cricket, keeping an eye on the ball until it hits the face of the bat is the principle behind good timing, making fine adjustments and not missing the ball etc. It is a principle that can cover for any lacuna in other areas. When backed by sound processes, it is a sure winner. 

So for sales.

The Principle for sales - Customer Need Satisfaction or User Focus
To sell anything we need customers who want our product or service. If the product or service is good these customers would ideally stay with us and come back for repeat purchases. If they are not coming back, we are not satisfying their requirement. 

Good value to the customer or signs of meeting their requirement has its markers. Look for those markers. If we satisfy well, customers come back with bigger orders, promote our business with others and certainly be happy enough to thank us for the service we have done for them. The key to do this well is to understand the user and his requirement – which is in other words ‘user focus’ or ‘need satisfaction’. 

If there is not enough traction put yourself into the customers shoes and keep looking for ways to make the experience better. What does he want? How does he want it? When and why? Think ahead. Show your intent and your preparation to satisfy his requirement. 
Then things happen

Look for the responses, for repeat orders, for increasing orders, for thank yous and appreciative notes. This is when the tipping point of incoming versus outgoing happens.

The Process for Sales - Out of the world User Experience
The principle is a promise. The process fulfills the promise.

Sales processes that are so seamless do one thing - the customer has no chance for complaints and in fact has an out of the world user experience. It is something that comes out of refining backend processes so well that they do not seem to be there. It has to be intuitive, easy and iterative.

Not all processes are that to start with but you can back it with extra mile service. Keep the customer user experience in mind and make it all so seamless that there is absolutely zero room for any lag. Good enough is not good enough. It has to move towards Wow.

This would include listing every part of the process and deconstructing it, seeing it from the user perspective, looking for markers that indicate user experience and working towards that. Each part of the process must then be iterated and simplified constantly so you are ahead of user expectations.

The key in both is to offer great value.

The Signs - Key 
One catch though. We may know the principle. We may have a process. But we need to know if the principle and the process are in alignment. If not, they are two completely different things working separately which is no good. They need to be aligned.

The key is in identifying markers or signs that show that the process outcomes are in alignment with the principle. A sales call that is part of the process can go wrong. It can happen but not if the principle is followed. If the caller had really prepared on the user requirement, understood the user so to speak, he would have been better prepared with the call, the time, the need. So one way is to throw away the learning from the bad call and say its a one-off thing or to look at it and say - hey why did this happen.

It could make all the difference. The extra 10% is the clincher.

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