Establish Repeatable Processes Before Investing in Technology

4 min read
May 15, 2024

“Do you understand what the customer buying journey looks like on paper? Have you actually diagrammed it? Have you talked through it and looked at the go-to-market processes that then adhere to that customer buying journey?”

On a recent episode of the RevOps Champions podcast, we spoke with Cliff Simon, Chief Revenue Officer at Carabiner Group, about the challenges of automating processes in a rapidly evolving technological landscape.

Cliff shared his insights about the importance of understanding the customer buying journey and establishing repeatable processes before relying on technology and automation.

“Once you have all those go-to-market requirements, you can choose which technology is going to be a better fit.”


Manual Processes vs. Automation

"Stop trying to automate processes before you've actually worked them out manually. Take the time to meet weekly, biweekly - whatever that looks like - talk through the thing, track it, figure out if this is something that actually needs to be automated."

Before investing in technology, it's important to understand your manual processes and document them thoroughly. This approach ensures that automation efforts are effective, efficient, and worthwhile.

Regardless of the company size or industry, Cliff recommends his clients start with the basics: mapping out the customer buying journey on paper and getting a firm grasp of each step before applying any technology solutions.

Doing this manual groundwork isn’t just about avoiding premature automation; it's about creating a solid foundation for it.

By analyzing and documenting processes - from customer interactions to internal workflows - teams can identify inefficiencies and areas for improvement that might not be evident without this detailed analysis.


Documentation Is King

"Write things down. Take the time to memorialize processes, concepts, ICP, persona, things like that - onto paper."

Cliff explained that many companies employ good people who want to be successful – who want to do the things they're being asked to do well – but they're not given a concrete path forward.

This happens when the people who “hold the keys to those gates” – the processes that make the company run – haven’t taken the time to document these processes and concepts.

When they document what they've done, and the sequence of things that need to be in place, they’re left with repeatable processes that can be used by others as the company grows.

Videos are a useful resource for this process, especially for remote teams. Using tools like Loom or Vidyard allows team members to gather in-depth insights asynchronously.


Invest in Technology Wisely

“You can build a really awesome car. But if it's not going to meet my needs because I've got a family of six and I need a minivan, and you built me the coolest new version of an Aston Martin, it's never going to be a fit.”

After gathering process documentation, these next steps help you gain a clear understanding of your company's specific needs, ensuring the tools you select are truly aligned with your strategic objectives.

1. Conduct a Needs Assessment

Begin with a clear understanding of your company’s specific needs by answering the following questions:

  • How big is your company (headcount)?
  • What's the size of your business (revenue)?
  • How complex are your deals?
  • Are you in a regulated space?
  • What are your goals?

Cliff recommends working through these answers before moving forward with a technology decision to avoid choosing a system that isn’t a good fit.

2. Evaluate the Current Technology Stack

Before seeking out additional tools, evaluate your current tech stack and determine its usage rates.

User engagement is the primary indicator of a CRM's value and an important factor in deciding what technology is needed. If usage is going to increase by switching to a new system then it’s something that you should seriously consider; if usage is already high then you probably don't want to change it.

3. Evaluate And Select a CRM

If the data suggests that a new CRM system may enable growth and efficiency, you are ready to evaluate your options and make your selection.

Revisit the company's needs outlined in Step 1, and determine how the current tech stack might integrate with potential CRM solutions. Also, consider the extent of change management needed to implement new software effectively.

It’s crucial to choose a CRM that not only fits the company's current operations but also can scale with future growth in employee headcount or potential changes in market conditions.

Engage stakeholders from sales, marketing, customer service, finance, and operations to ensure the selected CRM meets cross-departmental needs and enhances overall business functionality.

Cliff also emphasized the importance of experimentation to gather data to support an investment in technology.

Take a subset of what you want to change or improve and try something different. If it works, then you can open it up to a larger group of people or roll it out for the entire company.

“You'll make your life a lot easier if you're trying to justify an investment - whether it's in technology, additional headcount, or whatever that thing might be - by taking the time to get at least a subset of data.

Do some experimentation and then say, ‘Hey, based on this data, I believe that [xyz] could happen. Is that worth the $10k or $20k in spending that I'm asking for?’”


Staying Ahead in a Rapidly Evolving Tech Landscape

We asked Cliff why some businesses, despite appearing similar on the surface, scale more effectively than others. He attributed this difference to two factors, the first being enablement and motivation:

“I think something the organizations that scale more quickly do well that others could learn from is enablement, usually at the manager level.

They are figuring out how to motivate people intrinsically, whether that's in sales or marketing or operations… you have to figure out how to empower and motivate people both at the C-suite level and throughout the organization. I think the companies that are doing well are the ones that do that best.”

In addition to motivation, Cliff noted that the companies that stay ahead of their competition are continually adapting to the rapidly changing technology landscape, shifting and changing their processes and tech stack to be sure they remain at the forefront – thereby empowering their employees with the most current knowledge and technology.