Applying Lean Six Sigma in Your Job Part 2
Today’s article is about my advice on how you can apply the Lean Six Sigma principles if you are an
(IT) Business Process Consultant
# 1. First of all, discuss with your manager what are his expectations concerning your work as a Business Consultant. I expect issues like:
a. Become an expert in your field
b. Advise customers the right solutions
c. Build long-lasting relationships with customers
d. Acquire new, targeted prospects
e. Work closely with Sales Executives to turn prospects into customers
f. Identify new sales opportunities
# 2. Agree on the top 3 priorities where your company and your manager would like to see quick improvements. Let’s say, the prio’s are: a, d and e.
# 3. Logically, you could say that acquiring new, targeted prospects (d) will be the result of you becoming more and more expert and go-to-advisor in your field. Then, turning prospects into paying customers would be less of an issue.
So you start focusing on acquiring new, targeted prospects for the IT process solutions your company is offering.
#4. Measure the base line: collect some historical data on the number of new prospects you have acquired per week in the last 3 month. If you don’t have the data, you have to start measuring it from now on. Just keep it simple; use MS Excel spreadsheet and make a line-graph (runchart) with the week-numbers on the x-axis and the number of new prospects on the y-axis.
#5. Set your target in terms of minimum number of new prospects acquired per week. The number should be challenging enough that you would really go for it. Keep your manager informed about your plans and your objectives.
#6. Analyze the reason why you have less prospects than what you would like to achieve. Some hints for your analyses:
a. Learn from history: how did you get those prospects, what process did you follow, what advice/information did you give them, etc.
b. Talk with your manager and with other successful or senior consultant colleagues about how to increase the number of prospects
c. Study the numbers: what are the conversion rates between Suspects-to-Prospects and between Prospects-to-Customers
d. Talk with some of your best customers about why and how they became prospects and customers.
e. Brainstorm with your customers and colleagues about the most important questions every customer had before they became prospects and customers
f. Analyze the communication method and media your customers were looking for the answers to their questions.
#7. Based on the result of your analysis, start communicating with suspects and offer them a free report or white paper in exchange of their name and email address. Don’t try to get their mothers’ name and phone 😉 unless you are overloaded with inquires.
You can offer this free report on your website, or on special websites (called landing pages) where there are no hyperlinks so the suspect can only close the page or enter their info to get your interesting report.
You can also advertise in papers, trade magazines, just look what your customers read.
#8. Start writing to them on a regular base about their problems and the solution you are advising them. Don’t try to sell them something too quickly – nobody likes being sold. They need the time to learn: you are their advisor and you are looking after them.
#9. Offer something that gets your prospects closer to your main product and service. Some idea’s:
- (Software) demo
- 30 days trial period
- 30 days trial + 30 days at 65% discount
- Special report (against payment) solving your customer’s problems
# 10. Keep moving your prospects closer to your main offering and keep communicating with them on the regular basis.
# 11. As you monitor your progress in number of prospects / prospect categories you will identify which action is producing the biggest results.
# 12. Repeat those actions producing the best and most prospect over and over again.
# 13. Keep track of your figures, response rates and conversions.
# 14. Improve those figures continuously trying to “beat the control” (getting better results).
Keep focus on your customers’ best interest by being their trusted source of information about your IT specialism. You have to demonstrate this to them by regular communications and special offers explaining them in detail the benefits and the results they will receive when making use of your offerings. Don’t try to “sell them” but “make it available”.
Monitor your performance to be able to leverage / repeat your best actions.
You are going to be the most successful consultant. Your most important customers will seek your opinion and blindly follow your advice because they trust you. You will be the only consultant in your company who knows how to impove your work becomming more customer focused and more effective, generating high-value sales month-after-month.