Kaizen is a concept that was originally introduced to the West in 1986 by Masaaki Imai’s book ‘Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success’.

Its core premise was that big results come from many small changes accumulated over time.

This post will discuss how kaizen can apply to sales, and how xapiapps can help you execute a kaizen strategy to quickly improve the performance of your sales force.

How Kaizen Applies to Sales

Kaizen

The power of small but continual improvement

Below is a list of 10 critical sales skills (not an exhaustive list by any means):

1. Prospecting 6. Objection prevention
2. Rapport building 7. Objection handling
3. Active listening 8. Demonstration skills
4. Product knowledge 9. Gaining commitment
5. Qualification 10. Closing
Take any one of those skills, for example qualification.

With a kaizen approach to improving qualification skills, you would continuously work on getting better, bit-by-bit. Imagine you put a small amount of time in each week to work on qualification. What sort of an improvement could you expect? Let’s be conservative here and say you can only improve qualification skills by 1% each week. This might sound like nothing, but what happens when you do it each week for a year? After a year you’re 52% better. After two years you’re twice as good! (not taking into account compounding). While this may seem exciting, the real power of Kaizen lays in combining many small improvements together.

Exponential improvement through many small changes

Imagine you are a sales manager designing 3 months of training for one of your sales reps. You identify 5 skills you want them to work on every week:

1. Prospecting 4. Objection handling
2. Active listening 5. Closing
3. Product knowledge
Being a numbers-driven manager, you already have their sales stage numbers before their training program kicks off:

sales_stage_flow

In this illustration, we are mapping out the key sales skills against measurable points on the sales funnel. For example, active listening skills correlate with the first discussion stage, product knowledge correlates with the ability to develop the right solution for the customer. And sales made correlates with closing skills.

So what sort of results can just a 1% increase in each of these 5 skills every week create over a 12-week training period?

customer_sales_stage

This represents a 75% increase in sales in just 3 months! Just by improving 5 skills by only 1% each week.

This is the power of continuous improvement.

How ‘xapiapps’ can help your sales team achieve continuous improvement

improve_training_results‘xapiapps’ gives you the mobile tools to measure and track your training, coaching and on-the-job performance.

  1. Classroom Attendance app tracks formal trainingClassroom Attendance allows you to track and manage which of your sales team members have attended specific trainings.For example, you can find out which of your sales reps have had your latest ‘sales closing’ training with the push of a button. You can also map training attendance against skills performance to gauge now effective the training was.
  2. Observation Checklist app lets you measure sales skills on-the-jobWith Observation Checklist sales managers can measure the performance of specific sales skills while sales team members are dealing with clients.For example, in a retail store a sales manager can use the app to rate the performance of his sales rep’s objection handling skills while they are selling to customers. With regular usage of the app, sales managers can track improvement, trends, high performers and benchmarks – all at an individual sales skill level.
  3. Coach app organises and tracks one-on-one coachingThe Coach app allows sales managers to tailor their one-on-one coaching to the skills that need the most improvement.Using Coach in tandem with Observation Checklist means sales managers can find out the skills their staff need improvement in. Then they can target those specific skills in coaching sessions.

Keen to find out more? Schedule a call with one of our friendly training experts.

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