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My employer implemented processes designed by a CRM project team. The consultant’s processes demanded a lot of time and resources. My task was to make them affordable.

Let’s take the customer strategy process. It needed a week of preparation and a three-day workshop with five facilitators. Removing the fat transformed the process.

Effective preparation

The new process gave the customer team a customer profile template to complete. I worked with marketing to compare the new profile with existing materials. Marketing had most of the data, just the formats differed. In other words, the bulk of the preparation work was wasteful reformatting.

Of the rest, we had one or two items to add and some to refocus. Instead of spending a week, our marketing colleague refreshed his data in two days.

Marketing and Customer Business loved the new packs, which became the standard.

Efficient workshops

The workshop saw most of the cost savings. As the only facilitator, I set the task, gave moral support and encouraged creativity. Slashing the number of facilitators increased engagement.

Focused activity

Next, I made every minute of the workshop pay for its self; every activity a focus. During the day we progressed from understanding the customer and their strategy to agreeing our vision, key milestones and a plan.

I also introduced different workshop activities. The old method resembled a seminar. This bored the team, led the witness and stifled creativity. I

  • used some post-it sessions
  • used a lot of flip charts
  • split the team into groups
  • held knowledge cafes
  • shuffled the groups
  • asked them to think about stuff during coffee breaks and lunch
  • got the team to review and wrap up.

The new workshop stimulated discussion and drove new thinking.

Follow up

The consultant designed process ended with the workshop.

I typed up the workshop output and drafted the strategy. Using email, plenty of chats and the odd meeting, we reviewed for a week. The reviews corrected errors, challenged decisions and filled holes. We gained senior buy-in by presenting to a business governance meeting. We published the strategies on our Intranet.

At the end of each workshop and afterwards, I asked for feedback.

I conducted five workshops, four for key customers and one by request. I wrote a procedure and facilitation guide, then handed over to a process owner.

Key skills

Focus on business outcomes – cost reduction, alignment with existing processes, integration with governance, business ownership of the process and result.

Workshop facilitation – encouraged engagement, encouraged quieter team members to contribute, captured all contributions and decisions.

Process transformation – process documentation, process development, process quality management.

Stakeholder engagement – influencing senior management and customer business teams by showing the value of customer strategies and building in the teams’ suggestions.

Do the issues in this case study sound familiar?

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