By Timo Sivula
It is easy to focus on the personality of the sales person and forget the most important part of sales: hard work. You may have the best skilled sales executive on the planet but if he does not make a single call, does not send a single offer and does not meet any customers, you will not sell anything. Despite all the magic in good sales, the act of selling is a process. And as any other process, the sales process can be measured and improved. I would dare to say that a hard working mediocre sales person beats the gifted lazy one. Hence, with a systematic approach to sales results can and will be improved with Statistical Process Control SPC.
Applying the Ishikawa diagram and XY analysis to find key inputs to sales process
Measuring sales using control charts
For sake of simplicity in the following example, lets assume the product to be sold is a household product that is sold door to door. It is fairly obvious one key input to the sales process is the number of customer visits per sales person per day. A commonly accepted standard sample size for control charts is 30 samples. Assuming a 5 day working week we need 6 weeks to gather necessary data for the sales persons. As every process, the door to door sales process will exhibit variation and a mean. Plotting the results on a control chart we will quickly identify mean, Upper Control Limit UCL and Lower Control limit LCL and whether the process is in control or not.
Analysing measurements, common and special cause variation
Using Statistical Process Control analysis results to improve sales process outputs, the Y's
In this simplified example the key improvements to the sales process are a) the setting up of a job satisfaction and health program for sales persons and b) improving the planning of the sales route for the door to door sales person. Separate Kaizen projects are set up for each of these improvement areas. A good project brief defines the start and end for the Kaizen projects, which also defines when the next measurement is to be done.