In my most recent writing dated April 10, 2018, I talked about how to get buy-in on writing and using processes. We all know why this is important…not just from an accountability standpoint but from the view of getting YOUR way of doing business” documented so it’s repeatable. In other words, Building Your Franchise.
TSI has spent a great deal of time studying the dynamics that go into documenting your franchise. We understand it is one thing to say you need to document your processes but an entirely different proposition to actually get it done. We have helped many of our clients get their processes down and what follows are what we have determined to be the easiest and most efficient ways.
So here are our ideas! Let us know what you think.
Write all the steps on post-its – yep, it’s still the most effective way!
The first step in documenting a process is to get everyone that will work on that process in a room to discuss the steps. Everyone that will be using the process needs to be involved in the creation, even if one person is only involved in a small part. Then, as a team, begin writing each individual task that needs to be completed on post-it notes and arrange them on a surface (conference table, window, office door) in the order that they need to be completed. Some tasks can or should be completed simultaneously and you can group those post-its accordingly. You can also use a program called Stormboard (www.stormboard.com) that lets you use “virtual” post-it notes.
Trim the fat
Once you have all the steps laid out, confirm that your process begins at the beginning and ends at the natural end of the process. This can be challenging, there may be ambiguities, and the team may debate where to begin and end the process. For example, sending someone who would like to become a client your contract for services can fall into a “Prospect” process or a “New Client Onboarding” process. Some firms continue their “Prospect” process until all necessary documents are signed and returned, while others will have this step at the beginning of the “New Client Onboarding” process. There is no right answer. For most processes, you should begin at the beginning and end with a follow-up or confirmation.
One easy way to know where to end a process is to ask yourself, “What does the completed product look like?” or “What is the final result we are looking for?” Is your “New Client Onboarding” process complete after the first meeting with the client? After you have delivered the financial plan? After a three month check-in call? It will be different for every firm.
Once you define the beginning and end of the process, trimming and combining tasks that are done simultaneously will lead to greater efficiency. Instead of having three steps for 1) input client information into Redtail, 2) input client information into eMoney, 3) input client information into XYXY, you can combine these steps into one task of “input client information into Redtail, eMoney, and XYXY.” You should try to save yourself and your employees from too many unnecessary completion clicks. More information can be added to the notes or explanation of a step in the process.
Assess logical relationships between steps
Most CRMs have a way to trigger two steps or tasks in a process simultaneously, and you should be thinking about the logical relationships among the tasks before you put them into your CRM process. For example, in a quarterly report process, one person could be responsible for writing the cover letter and another person could be responsible for compiling and printing the investment reports. Both of the tasks need to be completed before moving on the next step of preparing to mail the reports, but either task can be completed first. Identifying and preparing for these concurrent operational tasks can save you a big headache when running the process. Ask yourself, “What must be done before we move to the next step?”
Input into your CRM and assign a trigger person
Finally, you will need to input the written process into your CRM. We have found it is easiest to identify who the power user of your CRM is and have that person put all of the process into the CRM. When you have multiple people putting processes into your CRM in different ways, the water gets muddy very quickly. The person who inputs the process into the CRM is often NOT the person who is responsible for starting or triggering the process. One person should be assigned to start the process and this is usually the person who receives the first piece of information in the process. If you typically come back from a marketing event with a handful of business cards and give those cards to a specific person in your office, that person should be responsible for starting or triggering the “Prospect” process.
Once you have a process inputted into your CRM and you have tested that it works the way it was designed, we recommend looking at any outstanding processes in your weekly staff meeting. This way you will be able to see where the process is being stalled and if it needs to be tweaked in any way. It is very common to have small tweaks along the way to include information that was previously omitted or to re-assess how the logical relationships of tasks drive the process.
We have helped many of our clients write processes and input them into their CRMs. If you would like to talk about how we can help your firm with this challenge, feel free to book a complimentary call on our calendar through this link.