For many years it has become clear that in order to take marketing and sales to the next level the challenges of achieving maximum speed with maximum responsiveness must be overcome. Much has been said and written about this subject. In reality, however, things tend to come to a standstill somewhere between the continuation of outdated processes and the hasty implementation of hyped topics, thus leading to solutions that are less effective and even less efficient.
This must change. Because even digital newcomer brands without any process-related burdens are now showing us how it’s done on a regular basis. And this in turn is increasing the pressure on established players to continually fulfil customer expectations and at best exceed them. We’re convinced that only those who pay adequate attention to the topic of process design will in future be able to improve their marketing and sales performance.
But what points of orientation should be used with regards to this complex and reflection-intensive topic? Our recommendation is to think through the following six thematic steps.
- Analysing the individual task areas
Particularly in the last three years various hyped topics have keep arising and are misinterpreted as universal solutions that can be applied in any context without sufficient examination as to the usefulness of the respective methodology. A prime example of this is agile methodology. Having been invented and optimised for the development of software and digital services it is ideally suited for this context. It has, however, little to do with the task area of, for instance, social media. Much more suited to this is a process logic that migrates from the editorial offices to the marketing departments and is currently subsumed under the buzzword of Corporate Newsrooms. The first task here is to thoroughly analyse what specific tasks and what type of output you are dealing with.
- Evaluating and adapting suitable methodology models
In principle, it makes perfect sense to orientate around existing methodology models and apply suitable elements for a new task area – but this must happen in a targeted and careful manner. The model landscape should therefore be seen more as an open toolbox from which you can freely help yourself as is best for your individual need. Examples such as the renowned Spotify model show which philosophy is needed. Textbooks are welcome but there must be no compulsion to use them and the focus must exclusively be on your own company. The second task is to then adapt suitable elements from existing methodology models.
- Formalising and automating the control processes
Once the individual control processes have been defined one important step is frequently ignored. Formalising may be tedious but is essential for the lasting, successful use of the defined processes. Only when the formalised process formats become a noticeable part of the day-to-day activities do reliable routines come into being that over time improve efficiency. The increasing circulation of project management software and the developments to CRM and marketing cloud software are pointing the way ahead. It’s all about developing an operating system for marketing and sales that not only undertakes the formalisation function but also automates it as far as possible so that the workload of the related employees is massively eased, allowing them to fully concentrate on their own content.
- Defining the people involved
Ultimately, the success of any process depends upon the people performing it. Therefore it is necessary for every organisation to individually identify who should be involved in which process and in what form. Here, individual also means considering people with regard to their individual profiles and skills. In other words: it is perfectly reasonable to involve people in a specific process who, if going by the textbook, have nothing to do with the process but can make a major contribution due to their individual profile. Defining the people involved is also, of course, to be considered and documented in the previously discussed formulisation step so that this also becomes a routine.
- Implementing meta processes
As mentioned at the beginning, the topic of process design requires a certain amount of self-reflection. The idea of implementing a process to control and optimise the process is, in itself, nothing new but has also become part of the agile hype in the recent past. A retrospective – as it is known in agile terminology – is a real lever for the continuous improvement of any process. Whether the format is applied at short or long intervals and possibly not with one hundred percent regularity is, at first, of secondary importance. What is important is that it actually takes place and creates a platform for reflection and discussion that would otherwise be quickly forgotten about during the daily routine.
- Using KPI systems
Key indicators in the area of process optimisation sounds in general, and in particular to marketing and sales people, like an authoritarian obsession and an excessive improvement craze. But this subjective perception could not be further from reality. It makes particular sense to use KPIs in the process context as well as in marketing and sales. That’s because with the growing pressure to get ever faster, a KPI system acts as a real aid for seeing where the continually occurring snags are and where speed as well as quality is being lost, thus generating additional expenditure. In this respect, the KPI system is not a management control tool but a mirror for the individual employees to make their workflows easier and to allow them to be talked about. Because if the KPIs are also properly formalised (see step 3) and a discussion platform is created around them (see step 5), then everyone – employees and businesses – will contribute to increasing performance.
Are you looking for competent support for your process optimisation? KPI Consult Staudinger can offer you a related package.
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