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Sales process engineering is the
engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more speciali ...

engineering
of better sales processes. It is intended to design better ways of
selling Sales are activities related to selling or the number of goods sold in a given targeted time period. The delivery of a service for a cost is also considered a sale. The seller, or the provider of the goods or services, completes a sale in ...

selling
, making salespeople's efforts more productive. It has been described as "the systematic application of scientific and mathematical principles to achieve the practical goals of a particular sales process".. Paul Selden pointed out that in this context, sales referred to the output of a process involving a variety of functions across an organization, and not that of a "sales department" alone. Primary areas of application span functions including
sales Sales are activities related to selling or the number of goods sold in a given targeted time period. The delivery of a service for a cost is also considered a sale. The seller, or the provider of the goods or services, completes a sale in ...

sales
,
marketing Marketing is the process of intentionally stimulating demand for and purchases of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; selection of certain attributes or themes to emphasize in advertising; operation of adv ...

marketing
, and
customer service Customer service is the provision of Service (economics), service to customers before, during, and after a purchase. The perception of success of such interactions is dependent on employees "who can adjust themselves to the personality of the gues ...
.


History

As early as 1900–1915, advocates of
scientific management Scientific management is a theory of management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West G ...
, such as
Frederick Winslow Taylor Frederick Winslow Taylor (March 20, 1856 – March 21, 1915) was an American mechanical engineer Mechanical may refer to: Machine * Mechanical system, a system that manages the power of forces and movements to accomplish a task * Machine (mech ...
and Harlow Stafford Person, recognized that their ideas could be applied not only to
manual labour Manual labour (in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codification of grammar a ...
and
skilled trades A tradesman or tradesperson is a skilled worker that specializes in a particular Trade (occupation), trade (occupation or field of work). Tradesmen usually have work experience, on-the-job training, and often formal vocational education in contr ...

skilled trades
but also to management, professions, and sales. Person promoted an early form of sales process engineering. At the time, postwar senses of the terms ''sales process engineering'' and ''sales engineering'' did not yet exist; Person called his efforts "sales engineering".. The evolution of modern corporate life in the 1920s through 1960s, sought to apply analysis and synthesis to improve the methods of all functions within a business. After the famous NBC Whitepaper in 1980 titled " If Japan Can... Why Can't We?" the 1980s and 1990s saw the emergence of a variety of approaches, such as
business process reengineering Business process re-engineering (BPR) is a business management strategy, originally pioneered in the early 1990s, focusing on the analysis and design of workflow A workflow consists of an orchestrated and repeatable pattern of activity, enabl ...
,
Total Quality Management #REDIRECT Total quality management Total quality management (TQM) consists of organization-wide efforts to "install and make permanent climate where employees continuously improve their ability to provide on demand products and services that cus ...
,
Six Sigma Six Sigma (6σ) is a set of techniques and tools for process improvement. It was introduced by American engineer Bill Smith (Motorola engineer), Bill Smith while working at Motorola in 1986. A six sigma process is one in which 99.99966% of all op ...
, and
Lean Manufacturing Lean manufacturing (also known as lean production, just-in-time manufacturing and just-in-time production, or JIT) is a production method aimed primarily at reducing times within the production system as well as response times from suppliers a ...
. Inevitably some of the people involved in these initiatives tried to begin applying what they learned to sales and marketing. For instance, Cas Welch was instrumental in designing and installing Westinghouse Electric's Total Quality program. As one of the first such programs in American industry, it was emulated by other firms and government agencies. His audits of Westinghouse sales offices caused him to realize companies were mistaken in their assumption that quality applied primarily to products. "Their focus has been to remove the flies from the soup after the customer complains; not to cook the soup without flies in the first place ... when it would be less expensive and time-consuming for the sales person to do it right the first time." James Cortada was one of IBM's management consultants on market-driven quality. His book ''TQM for Sales and Marketing Management'' was the first attempt to explain the theory of TQM in a sales and marketing context. George Antoin Smith, Jr. in Naperville, IL, an Electrical Engineering graduate of Purdue University, had been a successful Field Sales Engineer and District Sales Manager of Hewlett Packard electronic components to OEMs. In 1989 George Smith received the HP President's Club Award for career excellence in HP''s sales organization. In 1992, he started a consulting company to demonstrate to sales managers how they could tactically measure and improve sales productivity. He also wrote the ''Sales Quality Audit''. Todd Youngblood, another ex-IBMer, in his book ''The Dolphin and the Cow'' (2004). emphasized "three core principles":
continuous improvement A continual improvement process, also often called a continuous improvement process (abbreviated as CIP or CI), is an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes. These efforts can seek "incrementalism, incremental" improvement over t ...
of the sales process, performance metric, metrics to quantitatively judge the rate and degree of improvement, and a well-defined sales process. Meanwhile, another executive from IBM, Daniel Stowell, had participated in IBM's expansion from selling hardware in the 1960s and '70s "the only way it knew how, through face-to-face sales" to the company's first use of a market channel in a project known as the "Alternate Channels Marketing Test." The idea was to incorporate direct response marketing techniques to accomplish the job of direct salespeople, and the initiative was quite successful. Notably, his story illustrated the need for "consensus management" of the sales team. Traditional ways of managing sales people did not work when team members who had to develop a new way of selling were embedded in 14 different sales offices around the US. The culture of sales was based on intuition and gut feel, not on data and mathematical logic like the culture of operational excellence. However, many people inside the quality movement could see that the scientific mindset ought to apply to sales and marketing. Paul Selden's "''Sales Process Engineering, A Personal Workshop''" was a further attempt to demonstrate the applicability of the theory and tools of quality management to the sales function. Brent Wahba, an engineer with a background in Lean at GM and Delphi Automotive, also saw that root cause thinking had not yet penetrated the culture of sales and marketing management. His book "The Fluff Cycle," criticized business writers in sales and marketing. He observed that traditional "best practices" approach as well as the insights of sales consultants usually do not work for very long. His point was that this is ''precisely because'' they are transplanted from outside the company, rather than being the result of people inside the company improving their thinking about the problems they face. Wahba's point was not a new one, however. In his book ''High-Impact Consulting'', Robert Shaffer made a resounding statement about all kinds of consulting - not just sales and marketing: "No matter how wise and creative the consultant's analysis and recommendations, they pay off only to the extent that the client does what is necessary to benefit from them. The result is that many consulting projects fail to contribute nearly as much as they might because of the implementation gap, and a great many produce virtually no lasting benefit." Most executives are not taught to pay attention to how their employees think and solve problems. Instead, as described by Brian Joiner in his book ''Fourth Generation Management'', they tend to either dictate the activities they want their people to follow (called "2nd generation" management), or (when that fails) hand down objectives without regard for how they will be achieved (called "3rd generation" management). In this environment, some companies are looking for alternatives. Robert Pryor points out in his book, ''Lean Selling,'' that "Lean is a methodology that revolutionizes the processes for producing products and for delivering services, and the Lean Thinking that captures its principles are the most disruptive and transformational management ideas since the Industrial Revolution that began over 100 years ago."


Rationale

Reasons for having a well-thought-out sales process include seller and buyer risk management, standardized customer interaction during sales, and scalable revenue generation. Approaching the subject from a "process" point of view offers an opportunity to use design and improvement tools from other disciplines and process-oriented industries.


See also

* Sales management * Theory of constraints


References


Bibliography

* * * * {{Citation , last=Kreindler , first=Phil , year=2016 , title=Customerized Selling®: Learn How Customers Want You To Sell , publisher=Infoteam Sales Process Consulting AG , isbn=978-3-033-05471-4 , postscript=. * Customer experience Process engineering Sales Personal selling Promotion and marketing communications