Why are processes in the company important for new customer acquisition?
Presenting processes correctly in communication is an art in itself. Knowing how to handle processes well is as much a part of the entrepreneur’s or organization’s competence as expertise, experience, passion, and capacity. All are important for new customers to understand if someone is competent to provide the service they are requesting.
I remember well the beginning of my business career. Alongside my studies, I first founded an Internet startup and then a digital agency. Things got off to a pretty quick start in both companies. We had no idea about processes. The theoretical knowledge from my business studies immediately turned out to be completely useless. I knew the difference between line organization and staff organization but had no clue what it had to do with my new, rapidly dynamically growing companies. With the first few employees, this is not a problem at all. The organization runs on-demand, the tasks are simply assigned according to the urgency to the person who seems best suited for the task or who calls out “Here” first. With ten employees at the latest, that’s the end of the line. Not to mention twenty. That’s where the necessary intermediate structures come in so that the boss still has time for strategic tasks and the most important customers.
Since we grew very quickly, this time also came quickly. Fortunately, the first experienced employees who could bring relevant know-how from other companies also arrived at this stage. This is how we then defined and described our processes. Checklists are a good part of this and indispensable in the daily processing of To-Dos. How else do you teach new employees, who join almost every month, how things should be done at our company? So we soon had checklists for all important processes. In an agency, for example, this means contacting new customers, preparing offers, preparing pitches, setting up new systems technically, creating graphics, filling in content, final testing of websites, and a few more.
Thus, we in the digital agency were able to bring all the work in a structured way to a result that met our high-quality standards. In our Internet startup, there were a few similar processes, such as hiring new employees. However, many things were less clearly describable because new circumstances arose very frequently. At the time, I would have very much liked to see some of the models developed over the last 25 years already in place. At the latest after a listed company took a stake in us and we had to report quarterly as a subsidiary, muddling through was no longer the order of the day. I remember the two consultants from Arthur Andersen with horror. They were not much older than I was at 27. But they had a lot of smart questions. I had no clever answers. But they were an important food for thought and worth looking at regularly. This brought us back to the processes. Even financial accounting (a necessary but not so welcome topic in a startup) needs clear processes in order to output the right results at the right time. And only then is it the basis for important decisions. If I don’t know whether the big bill from the ad campaign belongs in the last quarter or the next or split into both, I can’t draw a good conclusion from the overall result. We were therefore forced to install processes extremely quickly, and they slipped. And what does all this have to do with new customer acquisition?
Immensely. Without clear processes, it is almost impossible to generate growth in a highly competitive environment. The entrepreneur is otherwise dependent on his charisma, with which he can land a hit from time to time, but without a plan. Thus, the process is needed first as a prerequisite for new customer acquisition. But it also needs the processes that work to keep customers satisfied in the long term. And telling them exactly what to expect is important in the acquisition phase. That’s why we’ve included the point about company processes in our new customer presentations, explaining how things work for us. This part is certainly not as important as the actual services, in our case concept, design, and programming. Nevertheless, it is a very important building block for generating trust. Customers thus know that the references presented are not a flash in the pan, but the result of a clear process with which they can expect an equally good result.
With ISO:9001 and the digitalization of business processes, the topic has received a lot of attention in many industries. Rightly so, in my opinion. For those responsible for sales, I recommend that they do not view the topic as a necessary evil. Knowing all the important core processes in the company and being able to transport them adequately to new customers can make the difference in favor of a provider in case of doubt.
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