Sales & Marketing Process Implementation
One of the most important elements of a successfully run organization is consistency. The more consistent employees are throughout your company, the more you can depend on them to be productive and to achieve their goals (and therefore, your goals). It also means that your customers will know what they can expect when they interact with your company and do business with you. Lack of consistency means to customers that they cannot rely on a certain level of quality when using your products or services.
However, establishing this consistency can be a challenge. Different teams and even different employees may have different ways of doing things. While some of their methods may work, some may not — and when they are all different from one another, you lose that consistency. Implementing best practices and processes throughout every department of your organization will solve this. Developing, implementing, and continually improving processes throughout your marketing and sales departments will help to establish the consistency you need to succeed.
The Importance Of Defining Sales & Marketing Processes
A process is a set of directions or instructions that should be followed to achieve a commonly performed task. A process should be repeatable. When you successfully implement a process, everyone who is responsible for certain tasks will be performing that task in the same way. The benefits of developing and implementing such processes are countless.
A process provides detailed instructions on how to do something, so all employees will know exactly what they’re supposed to do and how they’re supposed to do it. This helps improve productivity as well as minimize mistakes. And when you standardize your processes, it becomes much easier to predict results since there will be greater consistency in how your tasks are being performed. Finally, it becomes much easier to analyze, report, and extract data from the results you obtain since you will be able to successfully compare them (since there will be fewer variables that might affect the outcomes if a process was adhered to).
How To Successfully Implement New Processes
Developing a process is one thing, actually implementing it is another. If you put a lot of resources into developing a process for your sales team and nobody on your sales team follows the process, it won’t do your company any good. Successful implementation is critical to the effectiveness of your processes. Additionally, older processes may become outdated as new technology emerges or as the needs of your business or your customers change. You will need to continually evaluate old processes and to improve upon them, or you may even have to replace old processes with brand new processes. These are the steps to take to develop and implement new processes.
First, evaluate the existing processes that you have in place to identify whether the processes that you put into place are working to meet your objectives. To properly evaluate existing processes, speak with team leaders as well as those who actually follow the processes to find out where the strengths and weaknesses of those processes lie.
There needs to be an objective for any new process that you develop. There’s no point in developing a new process if it doesn’t help you achieve anything meaningful. Look for inefficiencies throughout your organization to pinpoint areas in which new processes may need to be developed. Be sure to speak with all departments that would be affected by the implementation of a new process for input.
Once you’ve identified areas of need via the evaluation of existing processes as well as the collaboration across departments, brainstorm ideas for new workflows. When brainstorming new workflows, keep objectives in mind. Identify the best practices as defined by stakeholders and apply them to new processes.
The process should be clearly defined, with no confusion about the process once it’s implemented. The last thing you want is to implement a process that confuses your teams since this will only lead to frustration and cause poor productivity and poor results. It helps to keep processes simple whenever possible. Avoid adding unnecessary or complicated steps or requirements.
Document any new processes that you define. Documentation makes it easier for your users to refer to the new process as needed and allows you to compare new processes to old processes (or past iterations of the same process). When improving existing processes, adding version names (such as V1, V2, V3) will make it easier to compare. Comparing updated processes with older versions helps to determine whether improvements have actually been made.
Implementing a new process requires you to communicate its existence to the appropriate personnel. Make sure that whoever is supposed to follow the new process is not only informed about the new process but that they are also educated on how to follow the process.
To make sure everyone is on the same page, first communicate why the new process is being put into place. Otherwise, some employees may not adopt the changes that have been made because they are familiar and comfortable with the old process. If you’re just making changes to an existing process, highlight the steps that were added or changed. This will go a long way towards avoiding confusion, especially if existing processes were only slightly adjusted (employees who don’t understand the difference between an existing process and a new one may simply continue following the old process).
Once implemented, monitor the new process. It may take a little time for personnel to get used to the new process, especially if it’s brand new. You will need to monitor the new process for a longer period as well before you can expect to gain consistent results from it. There may be some hiccups throughout the adoption of the process that will need to be ironed out.
Keep track of the results of the new process so that you can compare them to older versions of the process and to see if you’re on track to meeting the goals and objectives you established. For brand new processes, you may need to establish new KPIs and metrics so that stakeholders are able to judge the performance of the process using dashboards and reporting.
As you monitor new processes and track the appropriate KPIs and metrics, you may need to make adjustments to the process to improve results. Once you’ve made adjustments (if any are needed) you can confirm the process.
Examples Of Marketing And Sales Processes
There are many processes that you can develop and implement throughout your organization. These processes can include marketing processes, sales processes, customer support processes, communication processes, and more. At their most basic, they are step-by-step instructions that should be followed to complete a task that must be repeated. Here are a few examples of marketing and sales processes that organizations will often implement:
Lead management processes concern how a lead should be handled once they’ve been captured. For example, a lead management process should provide your marketing team with instructions on how to qualify a lead, how to nurture the lead, and how to engage the lead based on various actions or information, and how to identify when the lead is ready to be passed off to sales. Sales should also have a process for qualifying, nurturing, and closing the converted opportunity.
There are many different processes that you may want to implement for content marketing. For example, you’ll want to implement a content creation process that identifies steps such as how to come up with ideas for content, who writes or creates the content, who will edit it, who will optimize that content for SEO, due dates for the content completion, and when it should be published, just to name a few. A good content marketing process helps to ensure that content is produced at a consistently high quality and consistently published according to a pre-set schedule.
Customers expect consistency, which means that providing consistent customer support is critical to your company’s reputation. Implementing customer support processes that consist of the best practices (which should be determined by evaluating the effectiveness of your customer support reps and the practices that they employ) is an absolute must.
One of the challenges that many organizations have is the inability of personnel to identify if anything’s wrong — and if they do happen to spot a problem, they don’t know what to do about it. A good problem resolution process should instruct your employees on what to look for in terms of problems within their department and what actions that they should take (such as who the problem should be reported to). Be sure your problem resolution process clearly indicates who should report to who and what problems are significant enough to report.
Trade shows can provide incredible value to your organization if you are able to take advantage of them successfully. They can also be a large marketing expense if the trade shows are attended regularly and are a good source of new leads and customers. Implementing a process on how to plan for a trade show, which can include establishing timelines, goals, objectives, identifying specific needs (staffing, space, accessories, equipment, lighting, and more), promotional strategies, travel requirements and more will improve the odds of success. Once defined, you can repeat the process for future trade shows and make adjustments to the process based on not just the results for the tradeshow, but any challenges that come up during the trade show as well.
Common Process Implementation Challenges
The ability to understand the need for new processes or to improve older processes is half the battle; however, implementation can still be difficult, especially if there are certain obstacles that can limit how effective your processes could be. The following are some of the common challenges that can hurt the successful implementation of new processes.
Most processes affect more than one department, so organizational alignment is needed for a process to be effective. For example, a lead management process won’t be very effective if your marketing and sales teams aren’t properly aligned. This could result in leads being passed from marketing to sales that aren’t properly qualified, netting low conversions by the sales team.
Without goals, you cannot define the need for a process. However, in order to identify whether a process is meeting the goals you’ve established, those goals need to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) goals. And if the goals aren’t measurable, there’s no way to identify if the process is successful or if it needs to be improved or replaced.
If a new process isn’t being adopted, it will cause problems with consistency. For a new process to work, everyone has to be on board. A lack of accountability can result in employees choosing not to follow a new process because they don’t want to because they don’t know how, or because they weren’t aware that there was a new process to follow. When implementing a new process, hold everyone accountable from top to bottom. This means that you need to hold managers accountable and they need to hold their teams accountable for making sure a new process is implemented.
One of the important elements of successful implementation is ensuring that a new process will work smoothly with the existing processes that are in place. If you don’t take this into consideration during implementation, then your new process could disrupt existing processes.
Your Marketing And Sales Success Relies On Effective, Repeatable Processes
The success of your marketing and sales efforts is very reliant on your ability to develop and implement processes that provide your teams with clear direction, help minimize mistakes, improve productivity, and increase the chances of better and more consistent results. Because of this, it’s well worth the time, effort, and resources to not only develop new processes but to continually evaluate and improve your existing processes.