When you measure progress within your organization, you don't do it by checking off each individual activity done by your team. You do it by looking at how well you're accomplishing your overall company goals. So why do we 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. But without goals and a strategy, you can't measure anything accurately. If you don't have a solid plan of alignment, you won't prioritize what actions and details need the most attention.
The flaw in quick solutions
As we've all 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. With varying levels of success, businesses responded to shifts caused by the pandemic by implementing new technology, changing processes, and rearranging priorities.
Even outside the pandemic, it's incredibly easy for organizations to implement "solutions" to their problems, 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 chaotic 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.
Before you decide to implement a solution for a problem, start by following these steps.
1. Identify your core goal
Your goal should be in the context of the result you're 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." Starting with the goal statement stops you from identifying possible solutions before you're ready and keeps the door open to make connections between this goal and other related goals.
2. Review department alignment
If you want to save time and resources, spend time reviewing how this goal might affect other departments; specifically, determine if it aligns with issues cropping up in those departments. In the case of data duplication, if an organization approaches marketing, sales, and client management as separate tasks, they miss what it's all about: the entire customer experience.
Suppose they approached this issue with a broader lens. In that case, they could implement a tool to combine each of these activities under one system, resulting in no data duplication and a smoother transition between the customer journey stages.
3. Identify 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 you can use to track a tool's success. Keep them measurable, attainable, and specific.
To continue with the example used above, KPIs for this type of solution might involve:
- Increased customer retention rates
- Increased closed deals
- Decreased time for client onboarding
Refer back to your goal statement to help you identify the results you hope to achieve.
Don't skip ahead
If you find a new tool that seems excellent, great!
But stop before implementing it.
It's 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 completing these steps, you'll end up wasting time, money, and resources.
These steps should be followed for nearly every activity, process, and solution your organization implements. 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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