This morning I helped another retailer install and implement an automated CRM system. They did so begrudgingly; with the thought right up until we turned it on that what they had been doing was working “just fine”.
Whether you realize it or not, your business is made up of a series of processes — things you do repeatedly with every prospect, sale, order, and delivery. How you process an order, what happens when a prospect completes a credit application, and how you deal with warranty claims are all likely you already have written or unwritten. If you really look at all the steps that take place with each of these activities and how many people or tasks are involved, you’ll see that even these simple steps can be time-consuming.
Creating an automated system ensures that the same steps are followed every time will save you time, energy, and money.
Why You Need Systems
Reason 1: Without a system, things get overlooked
An old Chinese proverb states, “The faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory.” Just like a pilot’s checklist, systems ensure that everything that is supposed to happen actually happens, no matter how distracted you might be. So, all the boxes get checked, everyone that needs to be is notified, etc.
Think: what is the real cost to you when something falls through the cracks – a permit doesn’t get pulled on time or an inspection is missed? It costs you time and could delay a project’s completion, or even getting paid. Having systems in place prevents this and ensures that things happen consistently and predictably every time.
Reason 2: Systems make your entire enterprise more efficient
If you have a set system for every function in your business, then teaching new staff, employees or subcontractors that system becomes easy. When your system is written down as a series of steps and checklists, you have a document that you can use to hold others accountable. Having a system makes onboarding new employees faster, and helps them become productive much more quickly. Systems are not open to interpretation, and they can’t be bypassed.
Example: You can ask your sales team to ask their prospects how they learned of your company so that you can measure the effectiveness of your marketing strategies. Sometimes they will; most times they won’t. However, if entering a new lead into a system requires that a Lead Source be entered, you’ll get that information every time. The result is that you’ll have specific marketing data that will help you discover where your marketing dollars are having the most effect, information that you wouldn’t otherwise obtain.
Reason 3: Systems can be refined and automated
When we define the steps of a particular function (estimating, scheduling, purchasing, sales processing, delivery, punch lists – each of these should have clearly defined steps that become a system), those processes become more measurable and manageable. As a result, a culture of continuous improvement takes root, as those processes are constantly being reviewed and improved.
The other big “AHA” comes when we see ways to apply automation to processes that not only make them more efficient but also free up staff time for more revenue-producing tasks. For example, the act of moving a customer from the “Application” stage to the “Approved” stage can trigger a set routine that automatically sends notifications to specific staff, creates a new digital file, and sends an email to the customer. This is all done instantly, consistently, and reliably. This is a key function of MHCRM.
Reason 4: Managerial freedom
The final problem with not having systems in place is that you are ultimately responsible for managing the processes and functions. Without your time, involvement, and attention (or that of a staff member), you can’t be sure that things get done as they should. That might mean job security for you, but it’s also a great burden. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that things can still run smoothly at the office without your constant involvement? Creating and implementing systems can increase efficiency, cut costs, decrease mistakes — and give you back some time to work on your businesses, not just in it.