Forecast

[View full size image]

The LMAD process focuses on taking preventive action rather than waiting for a lagging performance indicator to goad the team into chartering a special DMAIC problem-solving project because you failed to make your numbers in the past two quarters. The combination of the four phases establishes a proactive system of critical marketing and sales parameters to limit the number of problems by design. Enabled by preplanned Six Sigma marketing and sales tasks and tools to prevent problems, the LMAD phases replace the need for reactive "emergency" DMAIC steps to react to problems. Think of LMAD as a health club versus an emergency room. We prefer to avoid heart attacks.

The phase Gate Review approach applied to the strategic and tactical marketing processes in the preceding two chapters must change now that we are focusing on the post-launch environment. Operational marketing processes behave differently than portfolio renewal or commercialization processes. Like steady-state manufacturing, operational environments lack formal phase gates . Hence, operations require timely, periodic reviews of progress against the marketing and sales plans. These should be thought of as key milestones in the continuum of executing the marketing and sales plan, not as Gate Reviews. Data and results can be gathered and summarized on an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis. It is essential that you balance between proactive and reactive performance measures. Mostly, you want to focus on leading performance indicators if you want to stay on plan and under control. You have to be realistic and recognize that it is almost impossible not to measure some lagging indicatorsyou just want to keep them to a minimum. This is part of what it means to be "lean."

Post-launch line management is where the work of "outbound" marketing is conducted. A distinct set of measurable results comes from this work. The marketing tools, tasks, and deliverables are all defined by the requirements for launching, managing, adapting, and discontinuing a product or service (see Figure 6.3 ).

Figure 6.3. The phase-key milestone review system.

Phase Gate

Figure 6.3. The phase-key milestone review system.

Most of the tools, methods, and best practices of "outbound" marketing are the same as "inbound" marketing. We will focus on the ones that add value to staying on plan. The difference is that the marketing and sales professionals in the operational environment use these tools to refine forecasts, adjust estimates, and analyze data streams for adaptive purposes when goals are in jeopardy of not being met.

The "lean" way to gather data and make decisions in the post-launch environment is to use leading indicators of performance against a plan. You must measure lagging indicators in many cases, but let's be honest: They only let you know when you have to react to a problem that they have detected. Fire detectors work. The house burns while the fire department gets to the scene to contain the damage. Smoke detectors are better. They may warn you early enough to allow the smoldering source of the fire to be extinguished before significant damage occurs. What works best is a planned day-to-day way of behaving to prevent the fuel, air, and ignition sources from getting into the right "dynamic" combinations and starting a fire in the first place. Lean marketing and sales teams focus on their value-adding forms of fuel, air, and ignition sources so that the fundamentals, the dynamic elements, are measured and under adaptive control, preventing smoke and fire as much as possible.

Lean and Six Sigma rigor and discipline can help define these fundamentals. The Six Sigma for Growth approach is focused on identifying and documenting the integrated system of critical parameters that allow marketing and sales teams to measure and control the fundamentals.

Early warning data types and structures must be invented and used to enable a proactive approach to preventing sales and marketing problems. This requires innovation of measurement systems and data structures by marketing and sales teams. The best teams measure things their competitors do not even know exist as measurable forms of data. Some competitors may be aware of these metrics but find them difficult to measure. You must face this struggle and prevail. If you don't, you won't be able to sustain growthjust like everyone else.

Attaining balance between leading and lagging indicators of sales and marketing performance is a major goal in applying Six Sigma for Growth methods in post-launch line management. The key to successfully getting out ahead of marketing and sales problems is by measuring impending marketing and sales process failures. How can you see the impending failures? By developing innovative ways to measure things others are unwilling or unable to do. By gathering dynamic data sets and analyzing them as time-based samples to illuminate key trends in market and segment fundamentals that allow us to develop proprietary insights that our competitors lack.

As an example, let's explore applying Six Sigma for Growth to the classic product marketing market share development model of awareness-consideration-conversion (or hit rate) to measure the impact of post-launch sales promotion efforts. The classic awareness-consideration-conversion model seeks to develop a systematic way to promote awareness, consideration, and conversion of sales opportunities into revenue. Conversion is measured in terms of sales results after the fact. Applying Six Sigma for Growth adds key in-process measures to determine where to apply the elbow grease, such as establishing a goal of 30% awareness within four weeks of launch. Ultimately, you want to know what percentage of the target audience is aware of your new offering and tabulate the top ways in which potential customers became aware.

You can measure awareness quickly, inexpensively, and simply by sampling 20 to 50 people who represent your target audience, depending on the circumstances and population size. In this way, you can measure the overall impact of your market communications plan, understand the most important drivers of awareness, and tailor current and future communications plans for greater effectiveness and efficiency. Otherwise, overspending on marketing and sales tactics becomes a risk.

You might consider tracking the number of sales proposals currently in front of customers. This can help you understand if your sales funnel is adequately primed to deliver sales results at the current rate of conversion. It also can help you gauge how many proposals convert to sale, how many do not, and the underlying reasons why. This can provide solid feedback to the marketing process of what the customers value and what they don't. If you sell via channels, you might consider offering them online proposal-writing capabilities. Your channel partners may value this opportunity to differentiate their sales approach from competitors enough to share their sales funnel data with your company.

Among the biggest consumers of time and resources are trade shows because many companies "show up" to fulfill obligations rather than taking full advantage of the opportunities they present. If you have so many commitments that you just show up at these events, you may be doing more harm than good. Trade-show participation benefits from preparation that includes formal goal setting, marketing and sales tactics development, and metric development of both in-process (lead generation) and post-process (number of leads contacted and conversion rate) measurements to evaluate the trade show's return on investment. If you want to measure the impact of using a trade show to promote awareness, you might want to survey qualified targets as they leave the show floor. You may have sponsored a platform speaker at the conference, or distributed product samples or memorabilia, or bought advertising space on the back cover of the trade-show program. Which tactic best met your goal of creating awareness that ultimately elicited purchasing behavior? In this case, a multi-vari analysis could help answer that question. If the trade show novelty items included a tollfree phone number, the resulting call volume and conversions to sales could be used to determine the effectiveness of the item's ability to trigger a call to action.

The application of Six Sigma tools to the awareness-consideration-conversion model helps drive growth. The cause-and-effect analysis captures initial assumptions about what drives awareness. A customer behavior analysis maps how the target audience learns about offerings. Next, a model (such as Y = f(x)) is developed to define the cause-and-effect relationships of awareness activities on sales, for example. The KJ Analysis helps organize and communicate a large volume of potential customer "verbatim" feedback on the offering's benefits and positioning. Using the tools-tasks-deliverables structure, this chapter suggests how best to integrate Six Sigma for Growth tools into your current operational outbound marketing model.

4 PREV

NEXT t

0 0

Post a comment