“What gets measured gets done.” You’ve heard the adage. But before you can measure it reliably, you need a repeatable process to get it done.

As it pertains to customer management – the third operational war room deserving of the CMO’s attention – we’ll explore KPI setting and measurement in the next post. For today, let’s look at business process engineering – another of the four pillars that comprise any operation.

Who’s on First?

Are you a fan of Microsoft Visio? I’ve become one over the years. For most of us – marketers or not – Visio hasn’t achieved the can’t-live-without-it status that its Microsoft Office mates Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook have. But the CMO who’s held accountable for driving a portion of revenues from existing customers must get comfortable with mapping the all-too-often disintegrated business processes that govern post-sale customer engagement.

A simple place to start is to task the customer management team mentioned in previous posts with depicting the critical tasks for which each relevant function is responsible on a typical two- or three-year customer lifecycle timeline (Figure 1).

Figure 1 – Sample Customer Lifecycle Process Map

Here are some functions and responsibilities to consider as you define the discrete deliverables and milestones in your process map:

  • Sales: Establish relationships with key decision-makers; Qualify opportunities for follow-on sales
  • Support: Train key user groups; Ensure existing products and services function as promised
  • Marketing: Diagnose opportunities to deliver additional value-added offerings; Document business value realized to date; Involve appropriate stakeholders in customer communities; Measure customer satisfaction levels at regular interval
  • Services: Remove organizational, technological, and process-related obstacles to value capture
  • Product Development / R&D: Incorporate inputs from core customer stakeholders in ongoing product planning
  • Finance: Adhere to billing and other account administration terms agreed to in the customer contract

It’s good practice to first map out each of these functional flows separately from one another, noting precisely who’s doing what and when. With a view of all customer-facing workflows, the customer management team can then identify dependencies among them. The final deliverable thus becomes an integrated customer management process map calibrated to ensure the most favorable customer experience possible and the highest probability of capturing all potential revenue from each customer.

Tools You Can Use

I sit on the Board of Advisors of Arizona State University’s Center for Services Leadership (CSL), where the faculty instructs students and corporations in a service business process mapping technique known as Services Blueprinting (Figure 2).

Services Blueprint Example

Figure 2 – Services Blueprint Example

The objective of Services Blueprinting is to map and prioritize business process flows from the all-important perspective of customer impact. This can be a useful technique to clearly delineate the responsibilities of every company function in the pursuit of orchestrating a cohesive and repeatable post-sale customer service offering.

Regardless of the process mapping tools you use, the desired top-line impact of the interlocking workstreams will not materialize unless your customer management team converts the two-dimensional depiction into three-dimensional reality. Your company’s CRM and ERP systems can help here. Most of these systems will allow you to construct and enforce workflow dependencies and audit trails. And automatic email alerts triggered by interim milestone achievements can keep everyone on task.