Shop Floor Management -- What Are the Future Trends?

Earlier this year, Philip Gisi published a book entitled Fundamentals of Daily Shop Floor Management: A Guide for Manufacturing Optimization and Excellence, which explores the fundamental elements, management practices, improvement methods, and future direction of shop floor management. 

During a conversation with Philip this past month, I asked him: "What has changed regarding shop floor management? What is the current direction?” Here is his complete response:

The discipline of shop floor management has undergone significant changes in recent years due to advancements in technology and changes in industry practices. With the advent of automation and robotics, the shop floor has become more efficient and productive. Robots can perform repetitive tasks with a high degree of accuracy, speed, and reliability, which can help reduce production costs and improve product quality. Automation has also led to the integration of real-time data collection and analysis, enabling better decision-making. As I stated in my book, companies working toward excellence “can’t lose sight of the fundamental activities necessary to preserve what they have already achieved. This is the role of Daily Shop Floor Management (DSFM); to maintain operational performance while realizing and sustaining productivity improvements on the never-ending journey of operational excellence." 

The current direction of daily shop floor management is towards greater efficiency and productivity through the use of technology and data-driven decision-making. One of the key trends in this area is the use of real-time data analytics to monitor and optimize shop floor performance. By collecting data from various sensors and systems on the shop floor, manufacturers can gain insights into how their processes are performing in real time. This allows them to quickly identify and address any issues that may arise, as well as optimize their processes to improve efficiency and quality.

Another trend in daily shop floor management is the use of mobile devices and cloud-based applications to enable better communication and collaboration between shop floor personnel and management. This allows for more effective and timely decision-making, as well as improved coordination between different departments and teams. In essence, the goal of daily shop floor management is to continuously improve operations and drive greater value for customers, shareholders, and other stakeholders. This requires a commitment to ongoing learning, experimentation, and adaptation, as well as sustaining what has already been achieved while embracing new technologies and approaches.

What do you think of Philip Gisi's perspective on the current state of shop floor management? Does it reflect the changes on the shop floor in your company? What trends in shop floor management have you seen?


Discovering Failure Modes Early in the Design Process

Earlier this month, I spoke with Ed Henshall, who just recently published a book entitled Right By Design: A Novel Approach to Failure Mode Avoidance. His book presents an approach to product design based on Failure Mode Avoidance that utilizes a series of strongly interrelated engineering tools and interpersonal skills that can be used to discover failure modes early in the design process. The tools can be used across engineering disciplines.

During our conversation, I asked him: "Is it possible to discover failure modes early in the design process?” Here is his complete answer:

The short answer -- Yes, with difficulty. 

In looking at a longer answer, I would rephrase the question slightly --  “Is it possible to discover potential failure modes early in the design process before you have a design?”  

Firstly, the word “potential” is important as it indicates that the design can fail but has not yet failed. Secondly, by not having a design I intend that the design is fluid and not finalized meaning that it can readily be changed without impacting the cost and timing of the design process. This latter point is the good news -- if failure modes are found that require fixing early in the design process, this can be done inexpensively. However, the associated bad news is that it is difficult to discover failure modes early in the design process when a design is fluid. 

The key to this conundrum is to have a clear understanding of what it is that the design is intended to do, and its function, along with an equally clear understanding of the way in which the design will achieve this function. What is important here is that the design is initially considered from a functional perspective rather than a hardware perspective. To quote the well know architect Louis Sullivan, “Form ever follows function.”

The System State Flow Diagram provides a way of modeling a design from the functional perspective allowing potential failures of function to be identified in a rigorous and systematic manner. This enables design countermeasures subsequently to be developed in moving into hardware design. 

Discovering failure modes early in the design process requires effective and efficient teamwork, which does not happen as a matter of course when groups of people work together but requires significant attention to, and coaching of, the team process.  

What do you think of Ed Henshall's perspective? Does your organization have effective "team process" and leadership?


Can You Plan and Execute Strategic Productivity Improvements Without Incurring Large Expenditures?

In February, Alin Posteucă published a book entitled Beyond Strategic Kaizen: Performing Synchronous Profitable Operations, which presents a methodology that achieves simultaneous and consistent systematic operational and financial improvements in a strategic and operational manner. It achieves both synchronous operations at market demand by fulfilling takt time and profitable operations in accordance with profit demand by fulfilling takt profit. In short, the Strategic Kaizen mission is striving for the fulfillment of the ideal state of operations called synchronous profitable operations.

When I spoke with Alin this past week, I asked him: "How do you plan and execute strategic productivity improvements to meet financial and operational expectations simultaneously without further expenditure?"

Here is his full response:

This is a difficult time for manufacturers. To survive, manufacturing organizations must activate their entire potential for planning and executing strategic systematic productivity improvements, they need Strategic Kaizen -- they must go beyond traditional Kaizen activities and beyond the daily activities of continuous improvement based on the reduction or elimination of waste empirically at the shop floor level.

Naturally, a question arises: How is the new concept of Strategic Kaizen for performing synchronous profitable operations defined? "…it is a participatory, systematic, and scientific planning and control process used to align financial and operational business strategy with strategic systematic improvement activities to meet the goals of Takt Profit and takt time at the same time regardless of sales trend (increasing or decreasing)."

Therefore, in this book, I did not limit the Strategic Kaizen to a mere strategic improvement approach. It goes beyond since its main purpose is to direct a complete and continuous strategic transformation to the ideal state of operations, to the state of synchronous profitable operations by meeting successive targets of Takt Profit, or ”the target profit per minute in the bottleneck operation”, and implicitly by meeting the successive targets of takt time. 

As is known, the concept of "synchronization", or JIT and its practice are very important, but it is very difficult for all manufacturing companies to achieve a complete and especially profitable "synchronization". For final manufacturers, "synchronization" seems to be still an extremely effective method, but for their suppliers, "synchronization" is not always adequate, and it is not always profitable enough.

But let's return to your question more specifically. By applying the unique methodology in seven basic processes of Strategic Kaizen presented in detail and with real case studies only in this book, executives have a new way of thinking and acting to move the business to the next level.

In the first five processes, strategic productivity improvements are planned, as follows:

1) measuring and studying the full potential for strategic productivity improvement;

2) calculating ideal Takt Profit and setting strategic expectations for stratified KAIZENshiro;

3) annual financial reconciliation by establishing annual KAIZENshiro budgets and the annual Takt Profit target (financial catchball);

4) annual operational reconciliation by establishing the production target time and by developing the Balanced Scorecard and KPIs (operational catchball);

5) organizing, planning, and learning for Strategic Kaizen.

Then the last two processes focus on the implementation and management, as follows:

6) implementing annual feasible Strategic Kaizen projects in six steps;

7) results, standardization, horizontal extensions, and future plans. 

In conclusion, I recommend both final manufacturers and their suppliers use Strategic Kaizen to simultaneously satisfy the urgent need for "synchronization", or operational need and "profitability" to achieve complete and continuous strategic transformation and to achieve continuous strategic improvement in manufacturing costs of at least 6% per year and with a total of 30-45% for five consecutive years, based on the reduction/elimination of costs of excess inputs and the associated cost of failing to utilize those optimally, costs that exist in their organization anyway, without significant investments, with financial visibility of improvements at the level of KAIZENshiro budgets.

So, the main job of managers is to improve productivity systemically, without investment, and especially strategically, through the now available new Strategic Kaizen thinking and methodology.

What do you think of Alin Posteucă's idea of Strategic Kaizen? Do you think this methodology can achieve synchronous profitable operations?


What Mistakes Do Salespeople Make Regarding Qualification in Customer Relationship Management (CRM)?

In 2022, Antonio Specchia published a book entitled Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for Medium and Small Enterprises: How to Find the Right Solution for Effectively Connecting with Your Customers. This book discusses how to implement a CRM from the perspective of the businessperson -- not the more typical IT consultant or the technical staff. It benefits business development, sales management, and sales process control.

When I spoke with Antonio earlier this month, I asked him: “What mistakes do salespeople make regarding qualification in CRM?” Here is his complete answer:

There are several mistakes that organizations make when it comes to sales -- one of them is failing to understand the needs of their customers. 

But there is one that typically goes unnoticed that it is so often ignored if not totally unknown. Even when organizations include it in their sales process it is often diminished and not appropriately performed by salespeople. As it is an essential part of the process of understanding the client’s needs and requirements, the lack of perfect execution affects the quality of the whole process.

This is due to misleading incentives that favor salespeople's shortcuts, and also because of their positive intention to take prospects ahead in the sales process. 

The capability to escort contacts toward the last stage of the sales process shows the completeness of the job. No matter how, when prospects convert, that’s great! If they don’t, there will always be many valid reasons to claim just apply the politicians’ golden rule, it’s always someone else's fault!

You probably guessed it, we are talking about the qualification stage -- a small process itself within the whole sales process. It is a delicate task that requires a deep focus to be performed correctly: mastering the art of persuasion. How many sales reps know it? How many of them truly master this technique? Organizations should consider its real implications, benefits, and risks.

Inadequate or inappropriate qualifications can lead to several problems that are not always directly related to it: time wasting, over usage of resources, and excessive effort, all problems that can ultimately damage the organizations.

Failing to establish clear and objective criteria to clarify what makes a good fit for their solutions. Defining a buyer persona means disqualifying everyone else. The ultimate sense of a strategy is about taking long-term decisions to focus on one single track, eliminating all other options. Failing to follow the long-term strategy always results in a messy execution. Salespeople spend time on prospects who are unlikely to convert as they are not a good fit.

Taking the time to ask the right questions to gather the right information from the prospect by mastering the art of persuasion during the qualification process is the way to do it. Lack of a perfect execution can result in missing the opportunity to identify key pain points to offer tailored solutions, which can ultimately result in a lower conversion rate.

Several approaches help in designing the qualification process, two of them are the MEDDIC and the BANT. Both are intended to provide a pathway to assess the same important matter: if prospective clients match the ideal client. 

But wrong qualification is often seen just as a go/no-go filter -- in order to proceed any further all the parameters should be in place: the potential client should have a proper budget; a clear, definite need; the power to negotiate and sign the contract; and the necessary time for delivery.

No wonder why salespeople shortcut it: are those parameters fixed and riveted or can they change along the way? 

Experienced salespeople know how a budget and the timing may be adapted to fit a more valuable option, or they haven’t clarified the real need. The sales process is well beyond just the process to grow the business by engaging new clients, it is the moment when each relationship, created and nurtured over a long time may finally develop and mature.

Honesty and transparency are getting more relevant in business. Organizations are now expected to operate with honesty and transparency in dealing with potential customers (https://hbr.org/2009/06/a-culture-of-candor). It means the persuasion of the counterpart should rely on transparency and honesty even without neglecting the power of asymmetric information.

And this is what the qualification process aims for, sharing openly and honestly requirements and expectations on one side and possibilities and value of use from the other side, it enables both parties in developing a more trustworthy collaboration, not to avoid possible sources of revenue to deal with the salesperson. The ones that do not fit into the trustworthy framework will walk away without regret.

Do you agree with Antonio Specchia's perspective? How do Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems function within your organization? 


How Can Senior Leaders Be Effective in Times of Constant and Dramatic Change?

At the beginning of January, I spoke with author Joanne Irving about her latest book entitled The C² Factor for Leadership: How the Alchemy of Curiosity and Courage Helps Leaders Become Champions and Lead Meaningful Lives. This book answers the questions: How do we effectively lead in times of constant, often dramatic change? And, equally important, how do we simultaneously create a satisfying, meaningful life? In addition, it reveals that when leaders manifest both traits, they embrace the professional and personal opportunities the future brings. When the landscape is shifting beneath our feet the C² Factor enables us to lead more effectively and helps us cultivate more fulfilling personal lives.

During our conversation, I asked Joanne: "How can senior leaders be effective in times of constant, often dramatic change?" Here is her complete answer:

How can we prepare for the future when COVID and all the changes it provoked remind us of just how surprised we are when it arrives?

Cognitive skills such as business competence, creating a vision, and strategic thinking; and emotional intelligence such as communicating, inspiring, and developing others are necessary but insufficient for leadership today. Beyond specific skills, beyond IQ and EQ, leaders today need personality characteristics that enable them to respond to changes regardless of what conditions emerge. To embrace and exploit the future, leaders need to develop and exercise the C² Factor -- the application of profound curiosity and relentless courage

While both curiosity and courage are often mentioned on lists of desired leadership qualities, the alchemy of the two -- the C² Factor -- is where the magic is. 

Curiosity and courage are symbiotic and when applied synergistically, produce exceptional leadership. To be curious often requires courage – the courage to examine one’s assumptions, beliefs, and attitudes, the courage to be curious about what options have not been considered, whose opinion has been left out, why the organization is structured the way it is…

And it helps us be courageous when we adopt a curious mindset. When faced with a challenge, instead of reacting with defensiveness we can explore the validity of that challenge, be interested in what opportunities it could bring, and what innovation it might inspire. Courage is what enables us to take action in the face of ambiguity.

Leaders who want their organizations to nimbly navigate the lightning-speed change of today and be prepared for an assuredly uncertain future must model the C² Factor and embed it in their organization’s culture. This means:

Hiring from groups with diverse backgrounds

Enabling innovation by encouraging challenges to the status quo

Providing time and resources for exploration outside of one’s immediate area of expertise

Rewarding judicious risk-taking, even when those experiments fail

Today’s world is different from what tomorrow will bring so business as usual does not work. Leaders must ask questions and make decisions that challenge or even defy conventional wisdom.  They must take action to respond to conditions they have never anticipated. They must exercise their C² Factor.

What do you think about Joanne's ideas? Do you believe that this synergistic application of curiosity and courage results in more effective leadership? 


Your Workplace Culture -- Is It "Sick"?

This month, I had a very enlightening conversation with Robert B. Camp about his most recent book, Workplace Culture Matters: Developing Leaders Who Respect People and Deliver Robust Results. Written in a novel format, this book addresses the challenge of changing  "sick" cultures that exist in many organizations -- That is, it is directed at those organizations that wake up one day and realize they have become something they never intended. Their employees run scared. There is no innovation, only blind obedience. There are warlords within the ranks of management, and they fight over turf without considering the best interests of customers, their employees, or their organization as a whole.

During my conversation with Robert, I asked him specifically: "What are the most common causes of ‘sick’ workplace culture? Here is his full response:

Cultures become sick when leaders no longer care about their people, when they put products, clients, or profit ahead of the vehicle through which they achieve those things: employees (people).

Factories don’t make anything.  They’re just buildings. Machines, including computers, don’t make anything.  Without proper guidance, they are just inanimate objects. 

It is no coincidence that Toyota lists Respect for People among the two factors critical to its success (Toyota-global.com; Toyota Way 2001).   

In Workplace Culture Matters, there is a dialog that takes place that elucidates this concept.  Jim, the VP of Operations for Friedman Electronics, explains the following to Jack, the Branch VP of a troubled organization.

“At Friedman, we believe our future starts with hiring the right people,” Jim explained.  “While there are exceptions, we tend to hire for attitude and train skills."

“Wait,” Jack interrupted, “how do you know you’re getting people who can actually do the job   you’re hiring them for?”

“Good point, Jack,” Jim conceded.  “First, we try to grow talent within, so most of our openings are entry-level.”  

“Also, we have created step-by-step instructions — what is called Standard Work — for all our   jobs, so even if someone had come in already having done that job somewhere else, we’d have to retrain them to do it our way.  We’ve learned that, if we hire self-disciplined people with the right attitude, we can challenge and grow them for the rest of their careers.”

As Workplace Culture Matters makes clear, a healthy culture starts with healthy leaders, leaders who agree to common objectives and hold themselves accountable to them, before they hold anyone else accountable.  They then tailor and cascade those objectives down through the organization as a way of aligning everyone and giving them a way of independently knowing how they are doing.  

Finally, leaders of healthy cultures get out of their offices and go to where work takes place, both as a way of knowing what problems their people face and of engaging in dialogs that build bonds of trust and bi-directional loyalty.

What do think of Robert's view on how workplace culture becomes "sick"? How does the leadership in your organization function? Does it encourage or hinder a healthy culture?


Performance-Measurement Systems -- What are the Common Design Mistakes?

In October, Dennis Sherwood published a book entitled Strategic Thinking Illustrated: Strategy Made Visual Using Systems Thinking -- His book is about the behavior of systems. Systems are important, for we interact with them all the time, and many of the actions we take are influenced by a system – for example, the system of performance measures in an organization influences, often very strongly, how individuals within that organization behave. Systems thinking, the main subject matter of this book, is the disciplined study of systems, and causal loop diagrams are a very insightful way to represent the connectedness of the entities from which any system is composed, so taming that system’s complexity.

When I spoke with Dennis this month, I asked him: “What are the most common mistakes made when designing performance-measurement systems?” Here is his complete answer:

Let me choose just one. The BIG ONE. Unintended consequences.

A (real) example. A number of years ago, the UK government was becoming increasingly concerned about how long people had to wait in the reception area of hospital Accident and Emergency Departments until they were seen by a nurse or a doctor. To address this, they introduced a performance measure that at least 98% of those arriving must be satisfactorily treated and discharged, or transferred elsewhere within the hospital, within 4 hours.

That all sounds eminently sensible, and the intention was to act as a spur to hospitals to speed things up. 

Not long after this performance measure was introduced, a story appeared in a national newspaper with this opening paragraph:

"Hospitals were last night accused of keeping thousands of seriously ill patients in ambulance 'holding patterns' outside accident and emergency units to meet a government pledge that all patients are treated within four hours of admission."

It turns out that the "4-hour clock’" only starts running when the patient arrives at the front desk of the hospital. So if the patient is still in the ambulance, that doesn’t count… 

The "holding pattern" enables the hospital to meet its performance measure, but with two "unintended consequences." From the patient’s point of view, nothing has changed, nor has the government’s objective been met. And as a by-product, whilst the ambulance is acting as an "external waiting room," it remains stranded, and can no longer fulfill its primary purpose.

Not only did the performance measure not drive the intended outcome, it made matters worse by reducing ambulance capacity. Oh, dear.

This is by no means uncommon. Performance measures are introduced to influence behaviors so as to achieve some intended result. The problem, however, is that those behaviors take place within a complex context, and unless that complexity is well-understood, it is very easy to fall into the trap that a well-intentioned intervention has an unintentional, and perverse, effect.

How can this trap be avoided?

"Systems thinking" can really help, for systems thinking is a very powerful, and pragmatic, way to tame the complexity of real systems, so ensuring that, for example, performance measures can be introduced that really work. That designs out "unintended consequences." Indeed, in my view, that term is just a mask to disguise the fact that whoever designed the performance measures that failed just didn’t understand the corresponding system. Don’t let that happen to you!

What do you think of Dennis Sherwood's answer? Has your organization ever instituted a measure or process designed for improvement that drove incorrect or "gaming" behavior? His book is available here.


Can Green Six Sigma Help and Enhance Sustainability and Climate-Change Initiatives?

This past September, Ron Basu published a book entitled The Green Six Sigma Handbook:  A Complete Guide for Lean Six Sigma Practitioners and Managers, which details how the benefits of a combined Lean and Six Sigma initiative can indeed encompass sustainability and climate-change concerns. 

I spoke with Ron this past week and asked him specifically: "How does Green Six Sigma help and enhance sustainability and climate-change initiatives?" Here is his complete response:

If nothing tangible is done climate change will worsen and its impact on our planet will be catastrophic. We have many climate change initiatives, such as clean energy and retrofitting houses. There are also many global initiatives sponsored by the United Nations, such as several COP (Conference of Parties) conferences going on for several years. We need breakthrough technology and breakthrough change methodology. We have the power of invention to assist these initiatives but that takes time. We have to use all our available tools now. Six Sigma is such a tool for breakthrough change methodology. The tools and approaches of Six Sigma when focused and adapted primarily to climate change demands get Green Six Sigma. The approach is underpinned by three tenets: fitness for the purpose of climate change, fitness for holistic Lean processes, and fitness for environmental sustainability.

The importance of climate change or global warming, if you prefer it, cannot be doubted. All land areas of our planet are experiencing heat waves, frequent storms, flooding, landslides, and wildfires. As a result, there are many international and national climate change initiatives in hand, but the outcomes are not always sustainable. We also need a catalyst and a disciplined process to make it happen. This is where Green Six Sigma comes in.

Green Six Sigma combines and extends the tools, techniques, and processes of both Lean and Six Sigma to customize them for climate change initiatives. As a specific example, the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) cycle has been extended in Green Six Sigma to DMAICS with the inclusion of Sustain. The tools and techniques of Sustain ensure and enhance both the sustainability of the outcomes of climate change initiatives and the sustainability of environmental standards. It is vital we harness all our tools and resources to regenerate the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic and Ukraine conflict and implement climate change initiatives for the survival of the planet.

A number of real-life case examples have been included in The Green Six Sigma Handbook to support how sustainability can be enhanced. This book is a hands-on single-source reference of tools, techniques, and processes integrating both Lean and Six Sigma. I show how to apply the principles of Lean Six Sigma and FIT SIGMA to the practical realities of businesses of all sectors and walk readers through the application of tools and techniques in the environmental context. The uniqueness of the Green Six Sigma approach is that its outcomes lead to the sustainability of both processes and environmental standards of climate change.

What do you think of Ron Basu's perspective? Do you think Lean Six Sigma initiatives can encompass sustainability? Has your Lean Sigma process evolved to include climate-change concerns? 


What are the Biggest Mistakes Professionals Currently Make When Networking and Negotiating?

In July, Doug Gentilcore published a book entitled Getting from the Bar to the Boardroom: 25 Proven Sales Techniques for Relationship Building, Networking, Negotiating, and Dealmaking in which he shares his firsthand experiences and knowledge for developing a promising business career. He clearly explains why any business professional, whether in sales or not, will, at some point, have to persuade an individual or group to change their current course of action in favor of a new one. 

I had the chance to speak with Doug this past month, and I asked him: "What are the biggest mistakes professionals make currently make when networking and negotiating?” Here is his full answer:

There are many things that can inhibit your success when it comes to negotiating and networking.  In my experience, allowing emotion to enter into your process is the most detrimental to achieving your goals.  

Too many people use passion and emotion interchangeably, but as I say in my book, "With passion also comes respect for others and their opinions.  Emotion is usually accompanied by closed-mindedness and disrespect." Every poor decision or overreaction I have ever made in my life has been emotional.  Even if I am faced with a challenging situation, my passion allows me to remain driven, logical, and positive. It is important to understand the effects that emotion can have on your mental state, decision-making process, and ultimately, your success. 

Whether it is a client you are hoping to sign or a contact that you need to make to win a deal, there will be barriers and challenges you face to accomplish your goal.  In order to properly assess, plan and execute to conquer these impediments, you must check your emotion “at the door” so to speak.  A customer challenging you during a negotiation is not a personal attack, it is a chance to demonstrate your ability to deliver when it means the most, and your client will remember how you react. To again quote my book, “Behind passion there is reason and logic, behind emotion is ignorance."

In short, don’t be emotional and as a result, ignorant.  This is a negotiation, not a prize fight and logic will always keep you on the proper path.  To prevent an emotional outburst, you must have a solid accounting of your performance and mental state, so be sure to check in on both and even ask your colleagues and friends for their assessment.  Being too close to the situation will cloud your judgment and everyone can use another set of eyes and ears from time to time.

What do you think of Doug's perspective? Have there been times when emotions have ruined an important negotiation or affected a networking opportunity for you?


What Are the Biggest Mistakes Sales Professionals Make While Trying to Reach New Customers?

At the beginning of this month, I had the chance to speak with Shawn Casemore about his recently published book entitled The Unstoppable Sales Machine: How to Connect, Convert, and Close New Customers. His book addresses the shifts sales professionals and their organizations must make for introducing modern sales strategies. It provides insights and proven strategies for business owners, sales executives, leaders, and professionals -- anyone who desires to create a rapid and sustained increase in their sales without investing significant time or money. 

During our conversation, I asked Shawn: “What are the biggest mistakes sales professionals currently make while trying to reach new customers?” Here is his complete answer:

There is only one mistake sales professionals make while trying to reach new customers or clients – they give up.

A recent Gartner Study has outlined what sales professionals have noticed for years. Buyers spend less time connecting with sales and more time researching their ideal solution.

This continuing shift results in many buyers not engaging with sales until they believe they have a need. This results in one of three possible scenarios for sales -- They must contend with buyers who:

  • Engage before they begin researching, with no intention of buying.
  • Engage while researching and never circle back to confirm their decision.
  • Do not engage as their need isn’t yet clear or urgent.

Unfortunately, experiencing any of these three scenarios can result in sales giving up on the pursuit and conversion of their prospect.

Instead, sales professionals must be more strategic about pursuing new buyers to build trust and curiosity. The first three steps to take in accomplishing this are:

  1. Too many sales professionals find a new lead and pursue them aggressively, only to taper off their efforts within the first two weeks after no response. Instead, sales should slowly build outreach, increasing your buyer’s attention and creating the perception that you have something interesting to share.
  2. Studies have repeatedly found it takes between 8 to 20 touchpoints to get buyers’ attention. As a result, outreach strategies must consist of at least 20 touchpoints if there is ever an opportunity to connect with the buyer.
  3. Many of the sales teams I work with use one primary form of communication - email. Buyers are overwhelmed with emails today, and increasingly complex spam filters are removing more unwanted emails from their inboxes. Instead, sales professionals should use various methods to reach buyers, including direct mail, telephone, video, and social media. 

The only thing to give up when pursuing buyers is old methods of prospecting that are no longer relevant.

What do you think of Shawn’s perspective? Have you or your company experienced these scenarios with potential customers? If so, have you incorporated any of Shawn’s solutions? What other solutions have you tried?