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Why I Agree With Amazon’s View of Process Improvement

Why I Agree With Amazon's View of Process Improvement

Why I Agree With Amazon’s View of Process Improvement

Brian Gardner No Comment

I recently read the most recent shareholder letter from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, where Bezos listed four elements he says are vital to maintaining a business’s vibrancy and relevance. Among the listed elements was “a skeptical view of proxies,” and Bezos offered process stagnation as an example.

If you’ve read any of my recent blogs on the value of processes – see The True Power of CRM (Hint: It’s Not About the Tech!) – you know how important effective processes are to managing customer relationships. To borrow words from Bezos himself, “Good process serves you so you can serve customers.” But blind adherence to processes can cause problems, according to Bezos:

“If you’re not watchful, the process can become the thing. This can happen very easily in large organizations. The process becomes the proxy for the result you want. You stop looking at outcomes and just make sure you’re doing the process right,” Bezos writes. Instead of stubbornly adhering to processes that may be yielding less-then-ideal results, a more experienced leader will view failures as opportunities for process improvement, according to Bezos.

I couldn’t agree more. Processes must be fine-tuned to improve customer experiences, and these improvements must be based on data. Let’s take quote follow-up processes as an example. Do you know with certainty what your quote won-lost rate is? How many times, by what media and at what intervals are follow-ups sent? Is that consistent across the organization? Only when you know the answers to these questions can you ask deeper questions like “Does quote follow-up frequency or timing affect won/lost rates?” And only when you’ve answered this question should you adjust your quote follow-up process.

In a recent webcast in partnership with Modern Distribution Management – 3 Dos and Don’ts to Transform Your Sales Process – I offered examples that illustrate the power of sales process improvement. Watch that webinar, the first part of a quarterly series, on-demand here.

You can also sign up for the upcoming 3 Paths to Growth Beyond Outside Sales webinar scheduled for 1 p.m. EDT on Thursday, May 11.

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