Simply put there are two types of people out there, those who are advocates of a process and those who are not, just like marmite. Admittedly in the early days of my career having been brought up in the start-up world, I was in the latter category however I quickly learned that to reach any level of coherence or maturity a process is required. Since then I have pretty much flipped to the opposite end of the spectrum and want everything documented into an agreed, step by step path to success. Not only that I recognize the importance of dependencies and permutations too – unfortunately not everything we run as a business fits into one linear flow.
So you probably have the general idea that I want to outline both the importance but also the key steps to break down your processes. Firstly it is something that takes time and requires that time from a lot of different people in a lot of different facets of your business.
What goes into your process? Well if you are not a process person then it is easiest to think about your functions. Since we’re focusing this on marketing let’s look at how marketing would fit into this. What are the high level functions the teams within marketing are responsible for?
- Content production – probably
- Campaign creation & management – definitely
- Telesales/ LDR management – maybe
- Lead generation – definitely
- Lead management – partially
- Lead conversion – maybe/ partially
- Customer advocacy – maybe
Now once you have done that you can then break those down into their component parts and from there you can answer the how – that is essentially then to create the process. Don’t overcomplicate it, I rarely find breaking down to more than a Level 3 is needed but there are instances where L4s are – point being don’t break it down to a task level. Business processes are formed of tasks they are not the tasks themselves. Furthermore if there is something that you partially own then it probably needs to be broken down and each of the processes need to be owned by someone – it is important that a department or a team with a department feels like they own this, otherwise they will naturally defer.
The process for a process.
Now don’t forget the components are not the process itself of course, now you actually need to map it out. The easiest way to do this is work backwards. That ultimately means processes never actually start with us as marketers as we’re at the very front of the process which inevitably means we often cause a little downstream re-work when we do come to finalising, its less than doing it from marketing first though because you will miss steps along the way. A second recommendation is to have each participant define it in isolation before coming together, each person will come at it from a slightly different angle and this way it prevents those extroverts from taking over. Another tactic, which may seem a little odd is when you move on to defining it with the group, firstly do it in silence, it’s tough but by removing the verbal element you find you have to explain (in the form of the nodes of the process).
Another key item from a marketing point of view is to consider how these business proceses interact with the customer – the customer/ lead/ consumer absolutely has to be included as a persona otherwise you are not considering the impact of the internal business process on your audiences and you don’t account for the different behaviours they could take (which will impact the way you need to respond).
I have mentioned this on many blogs and ebooks that I have written but your people are such a core part of your success, we all know this but yet I still see people failing to include them correctly. This is a strategic engagement and therefore needs the right people and the right amount of application from those people. Nevertheless, by breaking it down, working backwards, individually before coming as a group in silence you can make your path to success. What next you may ask? Well, it is definitely not the end, now you need to figure out what tools can help you execute on that process most effectively and at the lowest level of effort.