What is Lean Sales method

Lean Sales approach was born during 2008 to 2013 and published as a thought leadership book called “Lean Sales” in 2013.

The background to the Lean Sales method was authors experience as management consultant focusing on sales effectiveness and sales performance improvements in major B2B companies. During my years as a consultant I always looked for methods and approaches that would deliver predictable results in different environments. Naturally, I went through all sales methodologies first. Then I continued over to Lean, Six Sigma and Theory of Constraints in my quest for better answers.

Sales methods aim at improving sales performance, but most of sales methods approach this from wrong angle. They focus on the sales person and do not appreciate the whole system and environment. Sales methods also lack the focus on identification of root causes when improving the sales effectiveness. Therefore companies should look beyond sales methods when improving the sales performance and sales effectiveness.

B2B selling is very complex environment and therefore any improvements require systemic approach. The environment includes lots different potential customers with different needs, incentives, management system, sales support, marketing outreach, new offerings and so on. One cannot make sustainable performance improvements through picking just one element in the system and improving it’s performance.

Lean thinking helps to understand the whole system. Lean helps managers to identify the root causes of any performance problems and it helps to improve the performance of the whole sales and marketing system. Usually this requires more discipline in thinking than monetary investments. Proper analysis will save both time and money for companies.

Lean thinking is performance improvement methodology that can be applied in any environment. On high level the principles of Lean can be applied in every process and industry. On tool and techniques level the implementation is different. Manufacturing Lean cannot be applied in Sales and service processes. Lean Sales is application of Lean in service processes such as marketing and sales.


All the best,


Tapio Nissilä

Author of Lean Sales