This is a guest post by one of our co-workers, Bayard Bookman. He was reviewing the post Mitch made on Processgenie.com and had some comments of his own.
Perhaps the largest resistance to applying BPM to the demand side, i.e., Marketing / Sales, is a human nature factor.
Marketing/Sales has always been considered to have way too many variables and to be too dynamic (i.e., constantly changing) to lend itself to any type of process management. This being the previously assumed case, many managers believed that these activities could only be managed through personal skill, experience, acumen, astuteness, and a certain capability to foresee the coming multitudinous impacts of the aforementioned conditions.
That is, personal savvy and good seat-of-the-pants adroitness would win the day. And here, therefore, two very closely related human elements came into play that we will call “personal survival.” To wit, outstanding performance was nearly a magical thing (“my magic is stronger than yours”), and, even if one could completely and accurately describe what one did, then her/his position could be jeopardized through the revealing of said person’s “magic.” As in, “Well, of course I have a process but it has taken me years to build and refine it and there’s no way I could possibly teach it to others”! (nor would I want to).
What was overlooked was the potential of translating this personal “magic” into a set of process and activity flows based on this experiental magic. And further, that other people could then learn how to execute this magic in a consistent, repeatable, and measurable way, thereby taking the guesswork out of play by individuals who personally lacked these accumulated years of experience. And even further, that once created and implemented, the former magician could then spend less time executing the Marketing/Sales functions and more time both managing the performance of others – on some very quantifiable basis – and, more importantly, thinking and planning ahead, to reach out with personal skills to see where the market might be going and in fact to actually create it. Now, there’s some real “magic.”!
In short, the advent of the application of BPM to Marketing/Sales can – and has – enabled the human “fear factor” to be put aside to a large degree (well, nothing is really ever perfect) and instead of spending so much time working in the business, the higher positioned Marketing/Sales managers can now more fully concentrate on working on the business. And when the in-place process needs some tweeking (ah, those dynamics again), Mrs. or Mr. Big can step in and lend a guiding hand to subordinates who may appreciate learning a little more of that personal acumen that will elevate them to the top chair in the future.
And lest we forget here, think what the customer achieves from all of this; a supplier they can trust and rely on to consistently provide them with the products and services they will need to remain dominant in their marketplace.
Thus, the application of BPM to Marketing and Sales is a true performance improvement tool heretofore the property of only the manufacturing folks. They learned how to use “process” after good ol’ Henry Ford showed them the way, and they’ve been improving on this ever since. What better time is there than right now to move Marketing/Sales into the twenty-first century!