Part 1 of 4: There are four distinctly Outside-In ways that you can rethink process and in doing so achieve Triple Crown benefits.

I explore these more thoroughly in the new book however for now let’s take them in bite sized chunks.
•     Understand and applying Process diagnostics
•    Identify and aligning to Successful Customer Outcomes
•    Reframe where the process starts and ends
•    Rethink the business you are in

Let’s start with…
1. Understand and applying Process diagnostics:
(These will be familiar to CPP people however a refresher is always nice)
Earlier we have mentioned Moments of Truth, those all important interactions with customers. Let’s take that discussion further and include other closely related techniques for uncovering the real nature of process – breakpoints and business rules.

Firstly Moments of Truth (MOT) were first identified by Swedish management guru Richard Normann (1946-2003) in his doctoral thesis “Management and Statesmanship” (1975).
In 1989 Jan Carlson, the CEO of Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) immortalized the phrase with his book ‘Moments of Truth’. He clearly linked all customer interaction as the Causes of Work for the airline and set about eradicating non value added MOT’s and then improving those he couldn’t remove. 
a)    Moments of Truth are a Process Diagnostic
b)    They occur ANYWHERE a customer “touches” a process
c)    They can be people-to-people, people-to-system, systems-to-people, system-to-system, and people-to-product
d)    ANY interaction with a customer is a Moment of Truth
e)    Moments of Truth are both process Points of Failure and Causes of Work

Carlson transformed the fortunes of SAS with this straightforward insight – all work in our organisations is ultimately caused by the Moment of Truth. Fix them and you fix everything else.
All Moments of Truth should be eradicated and those remaining improved. In doing so the customer experience is improved, costs are reduced and productivity maximised.

Next let’s review Breakpoints. Breakpoints (BP’s) are the direct consequence of MOT’s and are all the internal interactions that take place as we manage the processes caused by the customer interactions. 
a) Any place that a hand-off occurs in the process is a Break Point
b) Break Points can be person to person, person to system, system to person or system to system
c) Break Points are both process Points of Failure and Causes of Work

By identifying BP’s we can set about uncovering actions that would in turn remove them, or if not improve them. BP’s are especially evident were internal customer supplier relationships have been established say between Information Systems departments and Operations. Empirical research suggests that for every Moment of Truth there are an average of 3 to 4 Breakpoints. In other words a process with ten MOT’s will typically yield 30-40 Breakpoints.
All Breakpoints should be eradicated and if not at the very least improved. In doing so we get more done with less, red tape is reduced, control improves and the cost of work comes down.

The third in our triad of useful Outside-In techniques is Business Rules.
Business Rules are points within a process where decisions are made.
a)    Some Business Rules are obvious while others must be “found”
b)    Business Rules can be operational, strategic or regulatory and they can be system-based or manual
c)    Business Rules control the “behavior” of the process and shape the “experience” of those who touch it
d)    Business Rules are highly prone to obsolescence
e)    We must find and make explicit the Business Rules in the process

Business Rules (BR’s) are especially pernicious in that they are created for specific reasons however over time their origin is forgotten but their effect remains. For instance one Life insurance company had a delay of eight days before issuing a policy once all the initial underwriting work was complete. This has a serious impact on competitiveness as newcomers were able to issue policies in days rather than weeks. After some investigation it was discovered that the ‘8 day storage’ rule was related to the length of time it takes ink to dry on parchment paper. This rule hadn’t surfaced until the customer expectations changed. There are many examples of previously useful rules evading 21st century logic and blocking the achievement of successful customer outcomes. All Business Rules should be made explicit and challenged in todays context.

Next time we’ll take a look at the second way to radically redefine process:

  • Identify and aligning to Successful Customer Outcomes

Outside-In Sales – by James Dodkins

Moving Outside-In effects every aspect of how an organisation manages itself. This is especially true at the ‘point of sale’ where we as customers interact with companies selling us product or service.
This article explores the shift in perspective and how organisations and sales teams can rethink their role.
The Game is changing, are you?
There has been a perspective shift in sales over the last five years, the 21st Century selling environment has changed drastically. Many businesses are finding it hard to adapt, while others are thriving and achieve record profits. How is this possible?
Let’s go back five years and examine the sales profession. The customer’s desire for knowledge was such that sales tactics such as emails or cold calls were reaping benefits hand over fist and were considered key in the sales process. Many a time the customer would not know what they wanted until it was suggested and if they did know and wanted to find out information for themselves, they had to get in front of a sales agent; this allowed for the ‘hard sell’ to begin.

The main goal of many sales agents was to get the sale at any cost. Sales agents were able to say what they wanted in order to close the sale and the customer, none the wiser, would invariably believe what they were being fed and hand over their money. 

Companies could be accused of putting many other aspects above a customer’s needs, however five years ago, while not the most effective way, it didn’t drastically effect a businesses success. Customers had money to spend and time to spend it; and sales agents rubbed their hands together, happy to take it from them. Result? Company wins, Customer loses.

Today there is a new breed of customer, a customer who knows what they want, an enlightened customer if you will. The immense growth of the internet has allowed customers to get the information they need at the drop of a hat. The customer’s desire for knowledge is still there, however they now know where to discover this. On average, according to ‘The Bupa Health Pulse’ survey, 58% of patients now go to the doctor after ‘self-diagnosing’. This is largely down to how readily available the information is online. This is the same with customers, they search and gain extensive knowledge around the product and ‘self-diagnose’ what they need and no longer can be told what they want.
In a complete shift from five years ago; customers now have more information yet less disposable income and as a result are now thought on as harder to sell to. What’s the solution? Don’t sell to them; let them sell to themselves! 
Let’s look at Apple for example; their sales agents are there to facilitate and support the sales process, taking a more consultative approach. The customer walks into an Apple shop knowing exactly what they want; the sales agent’s responsibility is to make sure the customer gets exactly want they want and that they leave after having a positive experience with Apple. The customer wants to buy, not to be sold to.
If you are a sales agent reading this you may well ask; what can I do to change?

Taking all into account there are many ways to become more effective. To name a few, firstly you need to make sure your product knowledge is faultless; if a customer knows more about the product than the staff, how much confidence will they have in you or the company for that matter?  Use their knowledge of the product to support them as they buy. Never be annoyed that they know as much about your product as you, show that you are impressed and complement them on this, be happy that they have practically done your job for you and given you something in common straight away. Use this to build rapport, get them involved with the product, don’t sell to them; ask them the questions that will make them sell to them self. Focus on making the customer experience a great one and you will outperform any agent stuck in the ‘hard sell’ mentality.

If you are otherwise involved in a company you may well ask; how can we rise above the rest? The best advice I can give is to move quickly, capitalise on other company’s shortfalls during this harsh economic climate, overtake them while they stagnate and become truly customer focused. Remember it’s no longer what you tell the customer about your product that matters to them; it’s what Google tells them, it’s what Facebook tells them, it’s what their friends and co-workers tell them. So leave all customers with a brilliant image of your company and you will grow exponentially more than with a website bragging about your greatness. People’s attention spans are decreasing in the digital age and according to the BBC, most internet users will spend less than one minute on an average website, so make your information quick, informative and user friendly. 
You can monitor how far along the customer has taken themselves in the sales process by how specific their search is. Common sense would dictate that the more specific the search, the further along the sales process they are. Make sure everything you do is customer-centric. Result? Company wins, Customer wins.
The planned introduction of internet sales tax, more likely than not, will bring some sales back out into the field, this allows a company’s representatives to interact face to face and deliver a truly fantastic customer experience that will perpetuate growth on all levels, however the amount of information available on the internet is still constantly increasing and is unlikely to stop, so this 21st century sales perspective shift, in my opinion, is here to stay.
To thrive in this environment companies need to take an Outside-in sales approach. Compared to five years ago many people may regard this as an ‘uneven playing field’ however the playing field is just as even as before, the game is changing, are you?
James Dodkins, Head Coach, The Alexander John Group
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About James:
Sales and Business Performance Transformation Coach specialising in the development of individuals and organizations.

James has a proven track record of success working with over 700 business professionals across the UK within award winning FTSE 100 companies.

He has been largely involved with high priority contracts with approximate contributions of £10.4 million a year, while continually demonstrating a high level of performance motivation.
James is currently looking to work with individuals interested in goal realisation and implementation to bring about immediate changes and long-term results towards business and life success.
As a field innovator, James has contributed regular development of coaching methodology aids to enhance
effectiveness for positive client results.

James is in the process of creating ‘Begin to Win: The Flip-it Guide to Sales and Success©’


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