3 Underutilized Processes that Limit a Company's Growth Potential
by Don Crow | Updated Nov 6, 2021
Is growth at your company stuck in neutral?
Let's face it, even the best of companies plateau from time to time. It's part of the growth process because what got you here may not be the thing to get you there. That's why it's critical to have processes in place to help you blast through those bottlenecks slowing your company's growth.
In working with clients, we see three common processes that organizations lack, which throttles back their growth. These three areas are:
- No process or feedback loop from the customer success or service team back to marketing
- No sales nurturing process
- No alignment on lifecycle stage definitions
Let's dive into each one and understand what the opportunity is and what some great companies have in place to avoid those bottlenecks.
No feedback loop between Customer Service and Marketing
If you've been around the marketing team in the past decade, you've no doubt heard the words "great content" on a daily basis. As in, "we need great content at every stage of the buyer's journey."
Do you know what innovative companies do to help source that great content?
They have a process in place where the customer success or service team actively solicits delighted customers for feedback. Sometimes that feedback leads to case studies, podcast appearances, speaking engagements, conferences, testimonials, and social media shoutouts.
And do you know a great first step to facilitate feedback?
Net Promoter Score or NPS.
Companies that deploy great NPS solutions can use the results in a variety of ways that make an impact throughout the organization. NPS can go beyond informing you of your traditional score, it can better inform the focus of your content for marketing. Here's a quick summary of some of those ways.
- Delighted customers (those scoring you a perfect "10" on your NPS survey) are offered opportunities for engagement through - behind the scenes access, exclusive deals and discounts, and more. In turn, these delighted customers feed the earlier marketing stages with testimonials, case studies, and user-generated content for social media, the website, and the blog.
- Customer segmentation and lead scoring (all of your responders) - You can identify your top-scoring customers and identify traits, behaviors, and other data points to improve the modeling you use in your lead scoring, list building, and look-alike audiences.
- Product improvements (all of your responders) - great content marketing cannot overcome a poor product/service, so utilize the "why's" around what your customers don't like and address what prevents them from referring you to their peers.
- Finally, simply putting a process in place for the service team's main point of contact to connect with the client and ask for a review or testimonial.
Simply putting a process in place for the service team's main point of contact to connect with existing customers can offer you not just relevant insights into your customer experience but also be a reliable source of user-generated content your marketing and sales teams can leverage to garner more business.
No sales nurturing
Tell us if this sounds familiar. Marketing nurtures a contact to the Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) stage, Sales takes a look and says, "yes" they meet our Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and have exhibited all the right behaviors, the MQL becomes a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) and then...nothing. Sales probably attempted contact (as they should according to their internal Service Level Agreement (SLA) with Marketing), or they made contact, but the prospect declined at the time for some component of BANT.
This is where that great sales nurture process should kick in and ultimately win.
What does that great sales nurture process look like?
- Know your sales cycle. If it's 6-months long, adapt your nurture campaign around their pain point AND objection(s) and adjust the length for the sales cycle.
- Use automation wisely - you can't put a prospect you've spoken with on automation that feels like an auto-pilot experience on the prospect's end.
- Use great content according to the sales cycle - don't start the prospect off with content from the awareness stage. Meet them where they are currently in your sales experience.
- Measure and track everything. Feed that back into the Marketing team. Why? Because the companies who do this well, aren't just recycling marketing content from the website - it looks and feels custom to the prospect!
Having a great sales nurture process will keep your prospects from falling off to a competitor because you're engaging with them until BANT is satisfied.
No agreement on lifecycle stage definitions or processes
The most common place you see this breakdown is between marketing and sales - i.e. when contacts are passed from marketing to sales.
Having an agreement on the definitions of how a contact matures through the lifecycle stages is critical. You also need to agree on what platform processes are taking place to support each of those definitions and movements and finally, what each team is responsible for at each stage. We use a technical lifecycle journey map here at Digitopia and it's a great exercise for sales, marketing, and service leaders. It often exposes the misalignment around common definitions and the next steps that follow each lifecycle stage change.
The best companies attack this exercise like this:
- They physically or virtually get in the same room and map out all the ways your customers became customers.
- If that's through your website, great! How did they start, what behaviors did they exhibit online and what did that trigger (process) with all of your internal teams (people), what applications and automation supported it all (platform)? How long did it take and what friction did you create for the prospect?
- Offline contacts can be mapped and agreed upon because it's important for the integrity of your reporting that every contact progresses through every stage. Otherwise, you don't have the data to identify where the bottlenecks are in your buyer's journey.
- Additionally, there are many insights you can learn from by comparing how online and offline contacts move through your customer journey.
- They have a clear definition for each stage of the journey for that contact.
- Why? Because people (internally) get promoted or move, tools and platforms update and change, and processes tend to erode over time. But, if everyone in the company knows the definition of each stage of the maturation of a contact and how they advance at each level, you can quickly get back into the swing of things as people and tools change.
That seems like such a simple exercise, doesn't it? It is actually, and it generates results that will help you keep your company growing by keeping the customer at the center of the conversation with consistent definitions of what's happening along their journey.
Of course, these types of exercises take planning and hard work internally to put together, align upon, and then put into practice. The companies who figure out these processes are still going to experience other bottlenecks to growth, however, since they have the mechanisms in place like the ones we just discussed, they can better identify and overcome new bottlenecks so they can keep growing.
Download your copy of the Technical Lifecycle Journey Map and start auditing and optimizing your existing processes linked to your customer journey.