The implications of lean operations for sales strategy: from sales-force to marketing-force

Niall Piercy, Nick Rich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (SciVal)


Lean operating principles are based on the systems of Toyota Japan. Companies around the world, in all sectors of the economy, now embrace these approaches to improve quality, cost and productivity. Different purchasing and sourcing practices in lean organisations mean that winning sales from them requires major changes to sales strategy and practice. This process has not been fully explored. Serving lean customers, who demand complete transparency across the supplying organisation and focus on capability not cost, has proven problematic for traditional sales departments. Further, as supplying organisations themselves become lean (this transformation being a result and requirement of selling to a lean company), organisational redesign extends from operations into sales. This paper illustrates the shifts needed in sales approach and strategy in selling to, and subsequently, becoming a lean business. The role of this future-sales-force is considered in relation to its shift towards a marketing-orientated rather than sales-push strategy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-255
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Strategic Marketing
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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