Don't overthink the project management system before considering the problems you are trying to solve.
Remember: Don't try to design your entire company workflow all at once.The important thing is that you pick ONE thing to start with.
In this post, we will review an example of a problem that most companies need to solve. Pay special attention to the research and thought behind the problem itself before ever trying to design a system or pick a software platform.
Choosing Your "Apps"
The iPhone was more successful because of the apps available, than because of the device itself. The device only enabled developers to create "single-purpose" applications that let the user get things done quickly and get on with their day. Things have evolved over time and some apps have begun to create mini-app ecosystems of their own. We shouldn't forget that some of the best apps on the iPhone are still single-purpose: calculator, flashlight, messages, camera, email.
So how does this apply to your business? Let's pick out a few "apps" (things that we can make work better) without trying to reinvent the whole "device" (in this case, your organization and its culture.)
Identify a Single Function That Can Work Smoother
I speak to marketing and sales organizations every day. One of the most common questions I am asked is "How can I make sure that our sales team is not letting leads slip through the cracks?
One of the most common issues is response time. In the Internet Age, there is a culture of right now.
We are no longer living in a time when written messages can take up to two weeks to reach their destination. Now communication is instant.
This focus on agility must be adopted in order for a business to succeed. Whether it is management to floor, or representatives to current or potential clients, you have to stress speedy and efficient communication.
However, many companies do not seem to get the importance of having a quick lead response time and it is costing them more than they might understand.
Understand the Problem
A recent article on HubSpot talks about this blight on the business world called “non-instantaneous communication.” Specifically, it refers to recent insider studies about lead-generation and a company’s communication with their clients.The reports display several rather disturbing trends in how a business manages its relations with potential clients.
Here is the data.
The most disturbing of these trends is revealed when looking at data from 2007 which cites that inbound sales leads are more likely to enter the sales process “when contacted within five minutes” by a representative. However, many companies do not meet this essential deadline in responding to potential leads. In fact, the median response time according to the InsideSales report is approximately three hours and eight minutes.
And that’s not nearly as disturbing as the average response time for many companies: sixty-one hours! And the most disturbing stat out of the report… 47% of businesses don’t even respond at all.
Outline "the Why" and Importance of Change
These statistics show that many companies are clearly not doing their best to ensure that prospects are communicated with quickly. This concept is, really, quite shocking considering that speed has always been essential to closing leads and increasing sales. The majority of prospects who are shopping for a product or service end up doing business with the company that responds to them first.
There are a few reasons for this:
Respect. A business which responds quickly shows the lead that they care about their clients and have a strong desire to do business with them. Respect must be present on both sides of the table in order for a working relationship to be forged and quick communication gives a positive first impression on this end.
Urgency. When a lead feels like their patronage is being taken seriously, it lays the foundation for long-time customer loyalty. When you present a sense of urgency with a fast response time, you’ll stand a higher chance of closing more leads and retaining more customers.
Responsiveness. Of course, responsiveness is communicated as well with a fast response time, as it shows you care just as much about customer service as you do the bottom line.
To combat the problem of a poor lead response time, businesses need to adopt new, updated methods of returning queries to potential clients quickly and efficiently. But it isn’t simply a matter of updating your business to Internet capability.
Intrinsic changes should happen on a foundational level if you want to bring yourself above the levels of your competitors. After all, the majority of clients do business with the company that responds to them first.
Create a Process Implementation Outline for your Team Members
In order for your business to respond to leads quickly, you will eventually need to ensure every member of your team understands the importance of a quick lead response time and you must have a process in place for dealing with incoming leads.
Set Your Deadlines. The very first thing you need to do to ensure a fast response time is to set a deadline. Team members must be aware of how quickly you want them to respond rather than leave it in their own hands.
Incentivize. Communicating your wishes is never quite enough, however. You have to give a reason why team members should respond so quickly. Make lead response times a part of quarterly or monthly performance reports.
Rely on Data. Tracking how fast team members respond to incoming leads is easier than ever before with the powerful CRMs now on the market.As your lead response time improves you should see a documented increase in sales.
Where we Stand Now
- We have identified overall organizational goals.
- We have identified a single problem that needs to be solved.
- We have taken the time to understand the problem and the most common root causes.
- We have articulated specific reasons for the company to shift from the status quo.
Notice that we haven't started talking specific project management systems yet. In order to choose the right system and tactics, it is important to realize all of the above first. Once you have a true handle on all the "why" behind the shift, we can move on to the next step.