October 27

Using Six Sigma to improve Lead Generation peformance

Lead Generation


I just got back from speaking at today’s Minnesota Technology Forum where one of the other speakers was from 3M. They are one of the world’s major adopters and proponents of Six Sigma.

The question that changed everything

The speaker shared how Six Sigma helped 3M improve their sales team’s effectiveness by increasing the quality of communication between their salespeople and their customers.

They began with this simple question, “how can we give our salespeople more selling time?”

A team made up of 3M’s marketing, e-business and IT people shadowed their sales force (in the field) to understand the bottlenecks affecting their sales people’s selling time.

By using the Six Sigma methodology, they realized that their sales team required more resources (sales aids) to help them sell rather more “self-service” tools provided by IT.

Bottom line: Six Sigma enabled 3M to reap measurable sales growth, productivity gains, better ROE and improved shareholder value.

Today’s BtoB Magazine article by Carol Krol, “Six Sigma performs for Xerox,” grabbed my attention.

Xerox improved demand generation with this question

The article describes how Xerox improved their lead generation performance with this simple question.

How can we, “increase product leads from the company’s Web site without increasing media spend?”

Xerox used Six Sigma as the platform to measure and improve their results. Krol notes that Xerox’s Jonathan Opdyke said, “Six Sigma created the ability to have a consistent discipline and a process for continuous improvement, as well as better tracking, accountability and easier replication.”

I hope to find other documented cases where Six Sigma improved sales performance, marketing measurement or lead generation results.

You may also like:

Salespeople want selling time more than sales leads

How to improve your account based marketing results

Bring more innovation to your demand generation now

Getting Sales Enablement Right to Increase Results

Process Mapping is an essential step to measuring Lead generation ROI

Podcast: Sales and Marketing the Six Sigma Way

About the author 

Brian Carroll

Brian Carroll is the CEO and founder of markempa, helping companies to convert more customers with empathy-based marketing. He is the author of the bestseller, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale and founded B2B Lead Roundtable LinkedIn Group with 20,301+ members.

  1. We have employed a continuous improvement method for a number of clients – one of the best success stories is seeing a 100% increase in division sales that had been stagnate for 3 years. Using the approach, that shares a lot of techniques mentioned in this Six Sigma section , helped to take the sales team reps from averaging less than two appointments/week with qualified prospects to between 11-15 qualified appointments.

  2. A great book for people interested in the continuous improvement or the re-engineering of their sales or marketing process, procedures, methods etc. would be The Goal! by Eliyahu M. Goldratt


    He covers a lot of concepts, and ideas that books lie the Six Sigma Way Team Fieldbook leave out of process, and systems thinking.

    One of the things that I spend a lot to time doing is re-engineering B2B sales processes, and it is highly complex. These methods are good ways to help contain some of the comlexity for yourself, or for clients.

    It is daunting, but all the results we see are impresseive. If you are going to undertake it, look at these books, and be prepared for big change!

  3. Brian,

    You are right on about Six Sigma applying to sales and marketing. It represents a sea change on the order of what the quality movement did for the manufacturing world starting 30 years ago.

    The key to making it work is understanding things from a production perspective (most businesses don’t). The product of sales and marketing is a series of actions on the part of our customers, not just an order. Setting up the right actions, motivating prospects to take them, and measuring both your actions and the results unlocks dramatic increases in productivity. It enables you to spot huge amounts of waste you currently take for granted. And, it enables you to harness the analytical machinery of the quality movement, including applied statistics. There will never again be an excuse for not knowing which 50% of your marketing budget has a return.

    Vermont Royster of The Wall Street Journal once said “Logic may be slow yeast but it works incessantly.” The leaders of this evolution will make boatloads of money because they will have competitive advantage. They will force the rest of their industries to also move in this direction.

    Michael Webb

    My book, “Sales and Marketing the Six Sigma Way” is being released by Kaplan Publishing in August.

  4. Brain,

    Its amazing, yes, we have to use six sigma in a effective way to improve the quality of business process. six sigma already having a success path, so we have to use this as effectively and will improve our quality in all our areas.

    Green Belt Six Sigma Training

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