When you measure progress within your organization, you don’t do so by checking off each activity done by your team. You do it by looking at how well you’re accomplishing your overall company goals. So why do we so often approach projects from the opposite direction?
A common mistake that leads to loss of ROI and efficiency stems from our human need to get swept up in the details. Now, there’s nothing wrong with getting all the details right, but details shouldn’t be first in the pecking order of priorities.
For progress to happen, you need to measure your activities. Without goals and strategy, you can’t measure anything accurately. If you don’t have a solid plan of alignment, you won’t be able to prioritize what actions and details need the most attention.
Beware of quick, reactive solutions
As we all have learned in the last year, crises happen, and they can happen overnight. Organizational pivots can be spurred by internal and external events within your market, industry, or location. Businesses have, with varying levels of success, tried their best to respond to the shifts caused by the pandemic by implementing new technology, changing their processes, and rearranging their priorities.
Even outside the pandemic, it’s incredibly easy for organizations to implement “solutions” to their problems that end up creating more friction. For instance, many organizations struggle with data duplication because they use different systems to track their prospecting and sales, marketing, and client management. The result is a jumbled mass of unusable data that provides extremely limited information to those who need it.
Here’s how to ensure your organization avoids this type of costly mistake by changing your approach to problem solving.
Get a bird’s eye view
1. Clarify your goal
Before you decide to implement a solution for a problem, start by following these steps.
Your goal should be in the context of the result you are looking for, not the solution. For instance, “We need a system to help us manage our prospecting” is an example of a solution statement. A goal statement looks more like, “We want to make more informed decisions around how we manage our prospecting and have a smoother handoff between prospecting/sales and client management.” This stops you from identifying possible solutions before you’re ready and keeps the door open for you to make connections between this and other related goals.2. Align your teams
If you really want to save time and resources, spend time reviewing how your goals might affect other departments; specifically, determine if it aligns with issues cropping up in those departments. In the case of data duplication, an organization approached marketing, sales, and client management tasks separately, without looking at it as a whole: the entire customer experience. If they had approached this issue with a broader lens, then they may have been able to implement a tool that combined each of these activities under one system, resulting in no data duplication and a smoother transition between the stages of the customer journey.
3. Clarify your KPIs
If you’re interested in measuring how well a solution is working (which you should be for several reasons, ROI aside), then identify core KPIs that you can use to track the success of a tool. Keep them measurable, attainable, and specific. To continue with the example used above, KPIs for this type of solution might involve: A) Increased customer retention rates, B) Increased closed deals, C) Decreased time for client onboarding. Refer back to your goal statement to help you identify the results you are looking for.
One step at a time
While you might have found a new tool that seems great, stop before you implement it. It’s so easy to get excited about a solution without first clarifying your goal. Who doesn’t like to nerd out about new solutions? But if you don’t have processes in place to stop new solutions from being implemented before these steps have been completed, you’ll end up wasting time, money, and resources.
These steps should be followed for nearly every activity, process, and solution your organization implements. There is almost never a time when it’s not necessary. So even though you’re excited, stop, take a step back, and make sure you cover these bases before running ahead with your new solution. The results will be far more impactful, efficient, and sustainable.
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Photo by lovelyday12