What’s your workstyle? Organized or free-form? Big-picture or detail-oriented? No matter which you identify with, chances are your colleagues would choose differently. Diversity can benefit your business, but your business development team’s different styles may not always mesh well. If each person has a different timeline and process for getting the same set of tasks done, it can lead to a lot of confusion and miscommunication.
Your sales team might waste time chasing a long-shot lead when there’s a hotter one on the table, because priorities haven’t been clearly indicated. Marketing may be targeting the wrong audiences because they can’t distinguish which leads are qualified. Project managers may find themselves running around and putting out fires because no one is following the same process.
Can you imagine throwing technology into the mix? No matter how good the software is, it can’t solve these types of problems on its own. So what can?
A standardized business process and change management approach.
Imagine what it would look like in your company. Communication would be clear between departments. There would be clearly defined stages in the sales pipeline so everyone could see exactly what had been done and what still needed attention.
How do you make that a reality for your business?
Opening up communication between departments is the first step. Determining what your process needs to achieve and how success--and failure--can be defined will give your business a framework to start improving. It’s also important to step back and assess how your team drives business end-to-end and weave that into your process design.
How does your business generate demand for its services? How does Sales and Marketing nurture and manage leads? How do they manage the sales pipeline? All of these questions are essential to developing a process that incorporates all relevant departments and serves your business’ goals.
For example, your business may be struggling with bringing in qualified leads for your Sales team. It’s obvious that the end goal is converting leads into sales, but that’s never going to work smoothly if your Sales and Marketing teams don’t define success the same way.
Marketing may think they’re successful because they’re bringing in several leads a week. In contrast, Sales may look at those leads and say marketing didn’t bring them anything worth pursuing. Ensuring Marketing and Sales can agree upon a definition for success is the key.
If Marketing can better direct their efforts, then they’ll generate an increased number of qualified leads. More qualified leads drive sales and increases conversion rates. It also increases efficiency because your team is only concerned with vetted leads.
Accommodating your team’s different work styles while creating a standardized process for your business is an absolutely necessity if you want to grow your top line revenue. If you want to see how streamlining your process can increase the number of quality leads, contact us today.
You can also follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter so the next installment of this blog series, What Does That Do Again? Implementing Technology to Support Business Processes, will come straight to your feed.
Whether you’re doing a complete overhaul or minor tweaks, improving your business performance is rarely a simple task. You have to consider how people, process, budget, strategy, and technology fit together. In this day and age there are a lot of software options that can perform the tasks you need completed, but the approach you take to find the solution that truly fits with your business and unique process is critical. It’s easy to let technology define your business strategy and performance, but don’t let it take over!
At DPT, we believe that people and process should always come first in improving performance. Technology selection and implementation should follow. That sounds simple, but how do you get started?
Our five part series, Grow Your Business While Avoiding Technology Takeover, will walk you through the common pitfalls businesses experience while implementing technology and driving business performance. We’ll also provide strategies to avoid them. It’s obvious that technology will always be a part of your business, and we’ll help you find an ideal way to integrate it.
If you’re ready to grow your business and improve performance while avoiding tech takeover, contact us. We’re always happy to have a conversation.
It’s that time of year again! Dust off the strategic plan, sharpen the tools, oil the machine!
Haven’t we all seen so many plans and spring cleaning initiatives for businesses and organizations fall into the same pattern? It’s like going to the garage to plan and prepare for the growing season. “This should only take a couple hours.” But it doesn’t. It always takes longer and doesn’t always produce the best results.
But not this year! Not in 2017!
Let’s make it happen every day, every week, and every month this spring and all year long. By implementing consistent and constant Project Leadership, we can.
What would the outcome be if our spring cleaning had a charter to help us manage factors like integration, risk, and quality? It could include the cost of cleaning supplies, the time demanded for each task, and the scope of what needs to be cleared out, cleaned, or repaired. What would we end up with?
A project -- complete with the framework, processes, and project management expertise necessary for success. Maybe by turning our spring cleaning into projects we could clear the way and provide our people with all the tools--and Project Leadership--needed to drive our efforts to realities. Project Leadership is not the equivalent of Project Management. Project Management focuses on four areas when managing complex projects:
Project Leadership focuses on creating the environment to keep all these in balance, enabling Project Managers to be successful in delivering a successful project.
The Role and Skills of the Project Leader
We’re living in the Knowledge Age where ideas are the new capital and massive amounts of information are hitting us at light-speed. Distraction is almost inevitable. Project Leaders work around this by guiding conversation to keep the focus on broad situations, not individual tasks. They help specify the “What” while empowering the team to identify and manage the “How.”
Getting Started with Project Leadership
One of the founding fathers of Total Quality Management, W. Edwards Deming, brought us the System of Profound Knowledge® with the belief that profound knowledge generally comes from outside the system--that the system cannot see itself in whole. Project Leadership is often enhanced, improved, and sometimes accelerated with capable talent and resources from outside the department or organization. Outside experts can help ensure:
Start making your plan for spring cleaning today while you’re in the mood. This will be sure to set the stage for transforming your Cleaning into Projects and establishing the vision and the framework. Start building your awesome and highly capable project teams now to start the process of writing the charter to kick off the season and transform your Projects into Realities.
Schedule a Reality Celebration for one year from today and repeat!
The late Peter Drucker is famously attributed with the phrase, “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” and we couldn’t agree with him more. In fact, at DPT, we have our own take… strategy eats technology for breakfast.
Just as culture formulates a solid foundation to build and ultimately implement strategic initiatives, strategic focus provides the same foundation for technology applications. In many businesses, this also equates to the difference between technology and solutions. To put it simply, technology is the “impulse purchase” made to fill a current and immediate need. In contrast, a solution is planned. It’s rooted in a strategic vision that incorporates both current and future-state business requirements.
Human nature lends to pushing the conversation to an immediate and impulsive decision. Too often, this “solution” is a band aid that resolves only a single and immediate need without much consideration for the long-term consequences. While resolving that need may be important, this approach lacks strategy and will inevitably lead to an ecosystem of unsustainable technologies and endless integrations.
In other words, a long list of headaches that could have been avoided with a well-planned strategy.
If you were constructing a home, you wouldn’t want your builder to start pouring a foundation without blueprints. There’d have to be planning involved. You’d talk about the basement, square footage, the number of stories, and layout before beginning. In this situation it may seem like common sense, but your business should be taking a similar approach to building sustainable applications and technology solutions.
When implementing applications ranging from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions to business process management solutions, stick to a tried-and-true approach to collect business requirements. This helps to ensure you tie people, process, and technology into the business solutions you ultimately implement.
Below are just some of the key elements to a foundational approach in building sustainable technology applications to help drive your strategic business initiatives.
The process of vetting and implementing a solution may seem long and tedious compared to quickly patching up a problem, but it’s worth it. Remember: strategy eats technology for breakfast. So become proactive and avoid problems down the road by carefully considering and planning solutions that are driven by your strategic business goals and objectives. We’d be happy to help.
In our previous Data Stewardship post we discussed the core component of assigning and communicating data ownership and accountability. We also created a “Data Stewardship Checklist” that can provide structure to assist in creating and maintaining the missing link. Click here to get the checklist.
Now that the data ownership has been assigned (see previous blog post), you need to prioritize what will be worked on first – and why. It’s critical to define and communicate the relative business value of data and establish processes accordingly. Let’s dive in…
The first step is to define your high level data map in your critical business processes. Specifically, this should be done in logical sets of data (for example, demographic data, versus relationship data, versus transaction data), not at a data field level. Part of this data map should include setting business impact criteria with each process owner and establishing data tiers with simple “ABC” ranking. A good rule of thumb is to categorize the “ABC” ratings, where “A” is Business Critical, “B” is Business Impactful, and “C” is Nice to Have. After you’ve set individual process owner priorities, consolidate the individual process owner priorities into a single consolidated view to make sure there’s no gaps in ownership and priority. Review the overall list for gaps and overlaps, and get the list validated with the individual owners.
A key success factor is aligning the appropriate processes based on the priorities of each level of data. As is taught in best practice inventory management, you hand count “A” level items often. “B” level items may do spot counts, and “C” level items you just replenish when you’re out of them. You typically manage the quality of tier “A” data with exception reporting and dashboards, which presents useable information to you instead of having to dig through multiple data sources. An example might be having a dashboard showing all sales pipeline activities where the expected close date is now past-due more than a week.
Tiers “B” and “C” will require less rigorous and frequent audit components. For instance, tier “B” data might just include routine review of the business impactful data into specific job roles and responsibilities. An example would be someone specifically assigned to look for duplicate information between systems on a monthly basis. Tier “C” might be similar but on a less-frequent basis, or could simply be a reactionary process once incorrect data is identified. Setting appropriate processes, timeframes, and owners based on the relative business impact of the information is critical. Line up appropriate cleansing and audit processes with the business impact of the information so you don’t just have a one size fits all process.
Once the data tiers are set and prioritized, and the appropriate data management processes are established, now you want to tie them to the ownership and accountability in your organization. As described in the first post in this blog series, you’ve already established data ownership, now you need to include data process ownership to specific roles and people. To the extent you can, you should establish these new responsibilities in the Human Resource processes such as job descriptions and performance evaluations.
In the next blog post, we will discuss the specifics of how to build quality into the data management processes as part of overall data stewardship.
Want to see more detail on how to get started? Download the Data Stewardship Checklist, and sign up to get email updates from the Data Stewardship blog series where you’ll receive more information about organizing and maintaining your data assets. We’ll send you subsequent emails for each of the data stewardship areas outlined above.
It's about more than just communication preferences and data you're already collecting. Watch a 90 second video to learn how to leverage CRM and CRM processes to provide additional value to your customers through better marketing strategies, service strategies, and all other customer touchpoints:
Seeding young minds with dreams is a difficult task in itself. It can be equally hard to plan and make those dream happen. Both efforts require perseverance, wisdom, and the courage to try something few have pioneered. Over the recent few years, Grand Rapids Community Foundation has established a program to make college a realistic goal for youth in the west side of Grand Rapids. The Challenge Scholars program establishes a college-bound culture where college was formerly a rare option. By forging contracts to maintain achievement standards, and then providing post-secondary financial assistance to those students, the Challenge Scholars program has assumed a grand responsibility. DPT has partnered with GRCF to devise and implement a strategy to grow the program’s capabilities to meet that awesome responsibility.
It is a daunting effort to build a strong foundation to such a program. Talent, leadership, and vision are skills that foster those dreams; but, as importantly, those skills have to be aligned to a solid strategy. The plan that GRCF created following DPT’s approach will produce new methods to track relationships, reinforce academic achievement, deepen parental involvement, and support academic coaches and college placement advisors. There is little doubt that funding those efforts—and toiling relentlessly towards benefits that will be fully realized nearly a decade later—is a unique and equally formidable challenge.
When facing a new challenge, the DPT team can provide varied and deep experiences across many industries to get you started in the right direction. Your organization and opportunities are unique – and so is our approach to helping you improve your business. Starting with our Design and Readiness approach, we identify which efforts are most urgent, which require bolstering of support, and how efforts would be best sequenced so goals are met in the short, medium, and long term.
With over 27 years as a successful business strategist and leader, Jack Kelly has learned more than his share of business lessons by jumping in and attacking problems. Jack comes to DPT with an exceptional knowledge of how we operate and a unique appreciation of our local partnership approach – This perspective comes from his previous professional life where he was engaged with DPT as one of our longest lasting customers.
Problem solving and the art of aligning business strategy and process are just a couple areas where Jack enjoys spending his professional time. With a broad background spanning finance, technology, sales, and operations, there are few challenges that Jack doesn’t have the experience to understand and tackle. His approach is simple: No problem is as complicated as we make it out to be. Break it down and find a positive solution.
Outside of work, Jack loves spending time with his wife, Julie, and two sons, Vince and Ross. They enjoy playing board games, being outdoors, playing music, being on the water, and last but not least – cheering for the Spartans! Lastly, here are two messages about Jack’s outlook on life - It is a good thing we don’t have to live this life alone! - and - Fun is critically important… have some today!