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.
In a previous blog post we outlined a number of areas in which a nonprofit can benefit by leveraging for-profit business strategies and tactics. One of those areas is looking at the concept of investment versus costs. Many nonprofits focus on driving down administrative costs, thinking of it as “overhead” instead of an investment that will drive future growth and greater impact in your community. Investing in efficient processes and systems can help you generate more donations, provide more services, and ultimately help more people. The “how” might be different than a for-profit business, but the concept of measuring the value generated from your efforts and investments in these areas is still a worthwhile activity.
While driving down nonprofit administrative costs is often internal, that perception is also heavily driven by demanding donors and foundations. Websites such as www.GuideStar.org and www.give.org give readily-accessible information about the percentage of nonprofit income dedicated to fundraising and administrative costs, in comparison with the funds allocated to programs and service delivery. Because donors are demanding to know the numbers, you need to be able to defend the value in investing in marketing, process efficiency, and operational improvement projects to ultimately help more people. Just like in the for-profit world, it’s all about getting a return on that investment.
A great example from the for-profit world is looking at marketing return on investment (ROI). They understand that a dollar invested in marketing services, should drive three times that amount back in sales. Similarly, for-profit businesses regularly invest in information systems to support operational efficiency. As a nonprofit, thinking more about the efficiency of your operational and client delivery processes can free up time and potential dollars to provide additional services. If you can be ten percent more efficient, then you have ten percent more to invest in helping more people.
Develop a business case. Nonprofits typically think in terms of lowering their ratio of admin costs to service delivery dollars, instead of investing funds strategically to drive even more donations. Instead of making decisions off the cuff, developing a business case is a valuable for-profit technique that nonprofits should leverage. Develop a solid business case, involve a comparison of both benefits and costs, and align decision making around investment instead of just cost.
Whether its spending time and money on fundraising, marketing, or improving the operational side of your nonprofit, basing your decisions on return on investment will help you fulfill your mission and provide more services, ultimately, helping more people.
If you have questions about developing a business case, we’re here to help. Please get in touch to learn more.