Podcast Episode 11: Can “Lean Selling” Improve Startup and Nonprofit Performance? A Podcast Interview with Robert Pryor

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Is there a better process for sales? Robert Pryor thinks so. In this podcast, we have a chance to interview Robert, author of Lean Selling: Slash Your Sales Cycle and Drive Profitable, Predictable Revenue Growth by Giving Buyers What They Really Want. In this entertaining and wide-ranging interview, we discuss what “Lean” means to Robert and how he has fundamentally shifted sales thinking by applying lean principles to sales. We also talk about how lean selling applies to startups and nonprofits.

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What Lean Means to You. [1:09]

We will talk about your book in a moment, but let’s set the table by discussing Lean Management methodology. How would you describe in an elevator pitch what lean management is all about?

Can you describe in a few sentences how you became interested in lean management principles?

What you consider the core elements of lean?

Why does lean produce results?

What you say to those who try to confine the applicability of lean to manufacturing applications?

Origins of Lean Selling. [6:13]

Robert, I asked you to record podcast with me after reading Lean Selling. When did you start applying lean principles to the sales process?

In your book, you say that Lean processes must have the following capabilities in order to be considered Lean: repeatable, scalable, and optimized. Let’s take each of those in order:

Why does Lean require that something be repeatable?

What does it mean for a process to be scalable?

What does it mean for a process to optimized?

What you consider the key aspects of the lean selling process?

Your book is a superb resource. One thing I noted, however, is that it focuses more on larger organizations that already have a selling process and want to transform that sales process into a lean process over time. What about a startup – how should it go about creating a lean selling process from the outset?

Are the steps you are suggesting expensive?

Are the skills needed for a lean selling salesperson different from those needed in a traditional sales function?

I think you’d agree that the lean selling system is strongly data-driven. Can you explain why data is important?

Have you any recommendations about any robust, low cost platforms for gathering these data for a startup?

One principle of lean is that simple, non-technology solutions may be preferable to technological solutions. Is this data collection something that you would necessarily recommend be done using a technology platform?

Lean Selling for Nonprofits? [19:12]

I wanted to explore whether you thought the lean selling system had any applicability to nonprofits, particularly in the development function. What’s the applicability of lean selling to nonprofits?

And how about your perspective on this topic from the lens of lean selling?

What are the first steps a nonprofit should take if it wanted to begin adopting a lean selling process?

If a nonprofit wanted to move toward a lean selling process, model, what data should they begin to gather?

Getting More Information. [24:35]

If someone listening to this podcast wanted more information, how would they find you?

What something about lean selling that you wish people asked you, but it doesn’t come up very often?

 Finding Robert Pryor

As Robert notes, his website is LeanSellingBook.com. He can also be found on Twitter at @LeanSelling.

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