Online tools for business processes
As we described in our earlier article Project vs. Process, a process is a set of related activities with certain repetitive or recursive sequences that have the ability to change inputs into desired results. For example, a company may have a process of hiring employees for a new department.
Many managers often have their own techniques or tools for organizing projects and activities, and these applications usually fall under a specific term: CRM (customer relationship management)
There are various CRM systems that know how to plan, analyze, and manage communication with clients. The entire communication process with the client in these cases is described externally and the sales representative subsequently navigates next steps by adding the tasks or reminders to the CRM or to a calendar that will record it in the system.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
In a way, this is another global CRM. The advantage is that the sales representative finds the decision-makers (which he needs for the business with a certain company).
Marketing tool for working with leads on the website
Thanks to this tool, the app (e.g. Active Campaign) is evaluating certain activities of the lead and qualifies them.
How it looks like in practice
Naturally, the automatic funnel isn't the news. The marketing department publishes a new article and posts it on social media (for example LinkedIn). Afterwards, the user finds the article on the website, which will then prompt the apps to send additional automatic e-mails. The user/Lead from now on is being evaluated by the app. After they acquire a certain threshold of points, the app will add the user/Lead into the CRM.
Lead scoring can look like this:
- Signing up into the app – 5 points
- Creating a new project – 10 points
- Creating a new task – 10 points
- Time spent more than 2 hours – 10 points
After the lead reaches 100 points, they will automatically move to CRM, where they are displayed in an individual pipeline (line of steps).
At this moment, the sales representatives receive a notification such as “Hot lead – Jane Smith – make a call! [e-mail, phone number]” which indicates the contact is “prepared” and will be much more inclined to make a transaction.
An individual process of the sales representative is the icing on the cake. There are a lot of top global CRMs which offer automation for working with potential clients/hot leads, from creating the tasks to sending the e-mails. Link with Google calendar is a matter of course. If the sales team has 100 running trade cases, for example, they are portrayed as the tasks for a particular day. These CRMs, however, don't reflect that the whole team has a specific limited daily scale of productivity and it can't manage everything.
Step 1 - Start – new lead/client
Step 2 - Call – make an appointment (15 mins.)
Step 3 - E-mail – send a confirmation about the appointment 2 days after the call (10 mins.)
Step 4 - The appointment (set the date, 1 hr. + 2 hrs. drive)
Step 5 - E-mail – send the notes from the appointment and the next steps in 1 day (15 mins.)
Step 6 - Call – diagnose the client's situation in a week after the appointment (15 mins.)
Scheduling this process with automatic tools into the calendar can streamline operations, and while it can’t solve every problem (having too many tasks for employees to accomplish, etc.), it can easily help managers and employees conceptualize an overview of the business processes - including which facets of a company are slowing things down or not working as effectively. The advantage of this tool is the automatic time update of particular tasks in the whole process. For example, if a sales representative is delayed with one task, the app will automatically reschedule the plan for them, as opposed to relying on the sales representative to monitor his own planner which might result in late deadlines or increased pressure.
The example of planning in the calendar – Process continual communication
9:00–9:15 Call – Make an appointment (AutomaticTool, Ltd.)
9:15–9:30 Call – Make an appointment (WillDoIt, Ltd.)
9:30–9:40 E-mail – Send the confirmation of the appointment (Better, Ltd.)
9:40–9:55 Call – Diagnose the client's situation in a week after the appointment (ThanMan, Ltd.)
In days where multitasking is the norm, automation functions to facilitate a multitude of business processes. Implementing automation means giving space for employees to focus on problems as they occur, and has the potential to increase productivity - especially when, according to Cal Newport, the most valuable thing for any company are employees who know exactly what needs to be done, and can finish before their deadlines.