A team in a medium sized business was tasked with implementing a new sales approach to stop the customer turnover. In order to have the time and resources to adopt this new plan, they wanted to simplify their workflow. There was resistance to changing anything, because “this was the way sales always did things.”
Designated cross functional task force with sales and operations to focus on customer experience. 100 day roadmap developed to roll-out the sales plan and the new customer experience review.
The sales department had been losing customers at a very high rate over the past 2 years. The company has a history of moving slowly and as a result of not following up with customer complaints, they lost several of their long term accounts losing millions of dollars.
To solve the problem, the company formed a new department called Customer Experience. It took time (8 months) to set up and included hiring a VP and Director to oversee the new functions. The impact of this decision increased the distance between the sales force and the operations team with this layer of management, new rules and additional reports. The problems with the customer turnover had yet to be analyzed and the issues between sales and operations were ignored.
100 Day Road Map
To ensure we took an agile approach to equipping the sales department, we set up a 100 day map, using ten (10) day increments. This type of schedule is based on small incremental change and keeps the team moving ahead through a continuous review and revise process.
We convened a team of 9 people from operations and sales. We conducted a value stream of the sales process which included the customer journey. We mapped out the “Current State,” and also the Future State which included the new set of activities. Using Value Stream mapping, brainstorming and timelines, the team identified low value activities that were eating up time and resources taking away from quality conversations with customers.
It was obvious that part of the problem was that some individuals felt strongly about continuing to do what they have always done. This resistance was stalling progress. To produce the data required to demonstrate the problem, the task force was set up to analyze and report on the issues, every two weeks. The rest of the team was testing out the new sales process and the results. Everyone came back together on Week #5 to present their findings and discuss plans to move ahead.
One of the main outcomes from this process was that the team learned to think differently by way of the tools they were taught that evaluated their progress. This situation is fluid and will require ongoing analysis to monitor customer feedback, turnover, and engagement.
Another outcome of this process was identifying the customer turnover as a side effect of the communication breakdown between operations and sales. Developing stronger, more fluid communication between the departments was put at the top of the list for continued improvements.