There are three types of “Status category”
I decided “Status categories” to be three, after a long consideration.
Upon determining the “Status category”, I supposed it should be considered on both aspects: “Purchasing process” and “Sales process”, not only one. That is because the Sale activities for a sales representative are to guide the customers in clarifying their situation, and doing whatever he or she should do.
While I was studying “Status category”, I took time for the number of categories to be as few as possible. If the number is large, there will be the following disadvantages:
- The difference between each “Status category” becomes difficult to understand. Therefore, there is the risk for increasing misinterpretation.
- Frequency of Status update increases (This would mean that burden on the sales representative increases).
I tried avoiding the second disadvantage especially, since it would raise the risk of Issue information not to being updated precisely. So, I decided to prepare three, minimum “Status categories”.
“Jo-Ha-Kyū” is the Name of the Status categories.
Once you determined the number of Status categories and the content and meaning (which I will discuss afterward) of each category, you should name them.
I thought that it would be best to adopt a traditional Japanese concept, so I named them “Jo-Ha-kyū”.
Wikipedia, defines “Jo-Ha-kyū” as follows.
Jo-ha-kyū is a concept of modulation and movement applied in a wide variety of traditional Japanese arts. Roughly translated, it means “beginning, break, rapid”, it essentially means that all actions or efforts should begin slowly, speed up, and then end swiftly. This concept is applied to elements of Japanese tea ceremony, to kendo and other martial arts, to the dramatic structure in the traditional theatre, and to the traditional collaborative linked verse forms renga and renku (haikai no renga)…
Wikipedia contributors, “Jo-ha-kyū,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jo-ha-ky%C5%AB&oldid=615894227 (accessed July 12, 2016).
At the beginning of an Issue, it is “Jo”, things go slowly like a customer in the stage of collecting information. Then “Ha”, it gradually speeds up, like the customer starts making a concrete plan. Finally, movements of the customer and Sales representative become active toward the contract sign up, that is “Kyū”.
Don’t you think it matches with the movement in a Sales-Issue somehow?
Criterion of Status Classification
I have defined each “Status category” below.
- “Official Quotation” has been submitted. (Closest to a contract)
- “Approximate Estimate” has been submitted.
- Before submitting the “Approximate Estimate”. (Farthest to a contract)
We have also clarified the definition of an “Official Quotation” and an “Approximate Estimate” in Questetra, in order to determine the status clearly.
- Official Quotation
- A Quotation in which three elements: Content (things to sell), Amount, Schedule have been finalized.
- Approximate Estimate
- An Estimate in which one or more of either Content (things to sell), Amount, Schedule is (are) yet undetermined.
For “Questetra BPM Suite”, the Cloud service which we provide, the three elements are defined as follows:
- Content: Number of Users, Options selected or not, Contents of implementation support
- Amount: Customer’s budget
- Schedule: Period of implementation support, Time to start using service
As far as these three elements are clear, it is defined as an “Official Quotation”.
Whereas, If even one out of those three is undetermined, it will be referred to as an “Approximate Estimate”.
Relation between Status category and Customer / Sales representative
Let’s take a look at how is the situation of each customer and the Sales representative, respectively in terms of the “Jo-Ha-Kyū” status,
- Requirements of what to buy are clarified.
- The final stage of deciding which option to buy, from among several products and services.
- Requirements are gradually becoming clear.
- Needing information to determine concrete plans (the budget and schedule).
- Collecting Information about the means to solve the problems.
- State when the Official Quotation has been submitted.
- Removing elements that interfere a contract (e.g. understanding the competitor’s proposition)
- State when the Approximate Estimate has been submitted.
- Working on the necessary activities for clarifying ambiguities regarding Content / Amount / Schedule.
- Working on preparation for a more accurate proposal.
- State of understanding the problems which the customer has.
- Working on the preparation of proposals for solving the customer’s problems.
By making use of the submission of Official Quotation or Approximate Estimate as the criterion for Status determination, both, the Purchasing process on the customer side and the Sales process on the sales side will become clear.
Honestly, I don’t know if this Status classification is the best until running it carefully for a while. I am going to continue using it from now on, and give it further consideration and improvement.
That’s it for today!
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