Why Business Processes are Critical to Revenue Growth
by DJ Shirley | Updated Mar 15, 2022
If you are a business leader who has recently missed a revenue growth goal or is not hitting your growth goals fast enough, what are your first steps to identify the cause? Does the question, "Who isn't doing their job?" come to mind? Rest assured, if yes, you are not alone. This is a logical approach to something not working. However, the common occurrence is that the individual who is "not doing their job" is actually following the outlined process and fulfilling their responsibilities.
Process is commonly the primary factor contributing to missed revenue goals but is typically one of the last items evaluated. First reactions start by assessing the people or technology involved.
But first, let's quickly define what we mean by business process.
The focus of the term Process in this article is on the macro level, not the granular step-by-step actions outlined in a playbook. However, many of the same principles apply to both the macro and micro levels.
This article features examples of issues that stem from poor processes but are misdiagnosed as a people or technology problem. Also outlined are the components to make up a successful business process and tools you can use to audit and organize the various processes used in your organization.
Examples of Common Issues That Stem From Process
Here are several issues that cause business leaders to look at their people or technology before their business processes. Do any of these sound familiar?
We're losing too many deals. -- or -- We're not closing at a high enough rate.
We need better salespeople. We need better contacts.
We're not generating enough awareness in the marketplace.
We've got to get people who know how to do better marketing.
Our churn rate is too high.
We need to get better customer service team members or technology to help us connect better with our clients.
The examples above are issues that clients frequently express. However, the root cause of the issues above are typically an outcome of a business process that is either unclear, overlooked, or does not exist altogether.
Without the right processes in place, your people and technology will not be able to achieve their objectives.
If you are responsible for a portion of your company's revenue engine, process is the make or break element for you and your team.
Why Business Processes Fail:
Every successful process has two core elements to function properly.
Firstly, a process needs to have a defined overview of its function. What is the process meant to solve? Often this step is rushed, and the root issue is not correctly identified. As a result, the impact of the process diminishes, and the outcome will not meet expectations. As the process continues to produce subpar results, the individual or team following the process will become discouraged, furthering productivity decline.
The second element every process needs is a specific set of standards (or protocols) to follow when completing the business process.
Every process needs a check and balance system to provide guardrails to keep efforts focused and efficient. Additionally, the process standards should include accountability to the individual following the process and the individuals impacted by the process.
Ensuring every business process in your organization has a defined function and set of standards to follow is an easy checkbox to confirm when initially outlining the developing process. A common oversight made by organizations both small and large is not testing, validating, and improving the new process.
How to Improve Business Processes:
Understandable, businesses need to move quickly, and in some instances, that means focusing on momentum versus optimizing an existing process. Process needs to remain the expectation to this rule. Every business process should be tested, validated, and then optimized based on insights and feedback of the individual who tested the process.
Steps in Improve a Business process:
When testing a business process, it's best for the individual who was not involved in creating the process. This is a recommended step to prove your business process is clear and has the protocols to produce the desired outcome without "insider" knowledge.
It's difficult for the creator of the process to objectively test and validate a process they created due to their knowledge and familiarity with the expected outcome. Due to the creator's understanding, the individual can make leaps when following the process that a newcomer may not connect. Identifying gaps can be much more effective when a 3rd party tests and validates the process.
Keep in mind the testing phase is never over. Everyone who uses the process should also have a feedback loop to submit insights and recommendations on areas of friction in the process. If your process is not yielding a greater impact by the 10th time it's used compared to the first or second time, there's a lot of opportunity left on the table.
Why Start With Process?
Rock-solid business processes are the cornerstone of organizations that regularly meet and beat their revenue growth objectives. Process is the key to providing you, your team, and your company - direction, clarity, and accountability.
Every successful business process needs to have:
- A clearly defined function for the process that outlines the purpose and intent of the process.
- A specific set of standards to follow when completing the process to keep the process focused and accountable so it generates the desired outcome.
Creating, testing, validating, and optimizing your business processes is critical, and so is keeping your processes organized.
An excellent place for an organization to start auditing and organizing its processes is the customer journey.
Digitopia created the Technical Lifecycle Journey Map - a tool to help you outline all of the phases, triggers, and processes that impact your customer experience. The lifecycle map enables you to identify gaps between each lifecycle stage and uncovers any processes that need to be created or updated. Download your copy of the Technical Lifecycle Journey Map and start auditing and optimizing your existing processes linked to your customer journey.