Somebody asked me this question yesterday. Here is my answer.
In the fall of 2015, I told the CEO of my company, Eric Januszko, that it was time for me to move from San Diego to Dallas.
“Not so fast,” he said.
I started the business and designed its sales, customer service and operations processes. I couldn’t just walk out the door without leaving behind a manual.
For the next two months, I took screenshots… I marked them up with red arrows in Photoshop… I typed everything I knew about the company’s processes into Microsoft Word and re-wrote it multiple times.
As a founder, I served on the front lines of sales, customer service, marketing and software development. I learned how to design business systems by trial and error. (At times, it was trial by fire.) Januszko taught me how to document those processes so others could repeat them without me. It was a key learning moment in my career.
Fast forward to February 2017. I was talking to my father. He works in the finance department at AT&T. I ask him what revenue per employee is. He says, “About $660K.”
My startup company has an output of $100K per employee per year. Why does AT&T have 6.6X more productivity per employee? They certainly don’t work harder! One reason is that AT&T has better business systemization.
Studying the KPIs of a best-in-breed company like AT&T is a great way to discover out what improvements are possible. My friend, Nicholas Mac Connell, calls this “standing on giants’ shoulders.” Here is how it works:
Imagine it’s early 1954, and the world’s top museum invites you for a visit. A museum VIP escorts you through giant steel doors into the museum archives. You are there to translate ancient scrolls. As your eyes pour over the hieroglyphs, you find no record of a person running a mile in under four minutes. Along your journey, you ask people if they have ever heard of a person running a mile in less than four minutes. Nobody says they have. Then, a couple months later, a college student named Roger Banister runs a mile in 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds. For the first time in history, other runners see that it can be done. Six weeks later, others begin running four minute miles, and Banister’s record is broken.
Like the runners who challenged Banister’s record, discovering the productivity measures of top companies will help you blaze new trails for business systemization. It can take sustained effort over years to catch up with a Fortune 10 company. But you can take the first steps today. Calculate your revenue per hour, and hire me to document your business’s systems.
When you’re flipping through the pages of your new documentation, targets will appear in your mind – processes you can improve by 1 to 3%. These improvements will compound and make your graph of revenue per hour tick upward across time.
This is how I solve the problem of lead decay. I raise productivity in the sales funnel. Processes in the sales funnel are connected – and small improvements add up downstream. For instance, if you install a chatbot on your website, you narrow the time it takes for prospects to understand your value proposition. When prospects understand your value proposition, they become easier to close. This makes salespeople more productive. Productive salespeople bring in more revenue.