Extended collaboration – to sales force, clients & partners

Brainstorming Planning Partnership Strategy Workstation Business

© Tweeter Linder 2016 – All rights reserved. Photo by iStock.

Introduction of lean sales concepts is likely to start in sales support areas. Sales support organizations can be silo oriented in a way that affect sales negatively. These limitations stem from a history of optimizations driven by resource efficiency targets.  Shifting towards flow efficiency is a great first step Beyond optimizing for flow efficiency the next big potential is about agile collaborations. A potential realized by extending the lean set-up to the sales force, clients and partners.

Improved collaboration

A lean sales support team operating without borders and is the perfect soil for great collaborations. In a more complex business landscape we need extensive collaborations to solve upcoming problems. These collaborations can start in a sales support team to bridge across many different skill sets.

Improved collaboration within a team are justifiable on their own. But the ability to work efficiently across former border lines can be applied wider. Way of working with reduced intra-company borders can be expanded to inter-company borders.

Include sales, clients and partners

Close collaboration with partners and clients is a central part of the modus operandi for fast moving markets. When designing a lean sales support framework you can think broad.  Consider including your sales force, clients and partners from start.

An outside in approach with collaboration with clients and partners is a good anchor. A center of gravity for all innovation driven from the edge of your company

Lean is perhaps not a word that triggers your sales force from start. Lean concepts might come across as production oriented. Too centered on structure and not giving enough room for the art of selling. Expect buy-in from the sales force to be one of the harder sells in the realization. Lean is hard to sell on name and associations, but easy to sell on benefits. Focus on what to deliver, and incremental improvements. All sales forces want to collaborate faster and better with clients and partners.

Client and Partner driven innovation

A larger and larger share of business innovations occur in the external interfaces. Partners with adjacent capabilities to your own, represent an opportunity for eco-system innovations. Close collaboration with clients allow for solution innovation based on concrete customer pain points.

Efficient inter-company collaboration is the foundation for these innovations. With more complex predictions of the future the safest bet for such collaborations is to act fast.

Questions for you and your team

  1. Which partner and client facing interfaces do we need to speed up – focus on the ones with biggest gaps.
  2. In which eco-system collaborations is speed too low – expect scenarios where you is the accelerator and the one who need to increase speed.
  3. Which client collaborations will be key for our customer led innovation agenda – don’t expect high innovation without speed.
  4. Do we have a stable enough internal collaboration model we can extend to partners and clients – starting at home first is a good strategy.

Additional reading 

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