How to sell process improvement to a skeptic

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Email Marketing or Marketing Automation
December 19, 2016
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January 20, 2017
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably discovered a process in your company that needs serious improvement and have discovered that people at your company simply don’t like change. What do you do?

Don’t worry, it’s not just your company. People everywhere don’t like change. To illustrate, let’s talk about everyone’s least favorite subject: traffic.

We’ve all been there – stuck going 5 miles an hour with another 20 miles to home. You can either wait in the familiar bumper-to-bumper or branch off into the unknown. What do you do? Most people stay exactly where they are, too afraid of the unknown.

What if you knew there was a smaller, less-traveled road running along the highway is basically empty? Would you want someone to tell you? Would you take the chance and exit?

Some of the drivers change their route, but most most don’t. They take the exact same route to work every single day, even if it’s not the fastest route. Perhaps they took that route their very first day, and haven’t taken any other routes in fear they’re going to be late. Whatever the reason, same is familiar and comfortable. Different is scary.

Axxis Answers: What is Process Improvement?

In layman’s terms, Process Improvement is the process of 1) identifying 2) analyzing and 3) improving on current business processes. A key to selling process improvement to your team is first understanding how to explain it in simple way.


Corporate change is very much like the traffic analogy. Companies stay on the exact same path, even though there’s a better path available to them. Anyone in your company can be a change leader, from an admin all the way to the CEO. It simply takes someone bold enough to share with the company that there’s a better road and suggest the route.

How does someone convince others there’s a better way aka process improvement? It requires not only pointing out the problem but providing appropriate solutions for improvements. Some try to force process improvement because the way the company is doing something is “wrong” or “incorrect”. Is it wrong to sit in traffic an extra hour when there’s a better road available? Of course not. Telling someone they’re doing something wrong when it’s the only way they know how to do something isn’t constructive. You need to provide directions to the alternative route!

So how do you constructively convince a skeptic to buy into process improvement? Let’s break it down into the three steps of process improvement.

Identify the problem.

This is typically the easy part, identifying the process that could be improved or the ‘problem’. In our example, this is the traffic delay. To convince management that it’s a real issue and not just something inconvenient to you, you need to come up with all the specific reasons it’s hurting the company. Every ineffective process is costing a company is some way. Sitting in traffic is a poor utilization of resources. It’s also very tedious for someone to simply sit in their car with nothing to do. There are many factors why a process is not as effective as possible, but being able to clearly state those reasons is critical to getting management’s attention.


Analyze possible solutions.

Once you’ve identified the process that needs to be improved (aka time wasted in traffic), you need to analyze the various root causes and how they can be addressed. In our traffic example, you can’t simply remove the root cause (aka congestion) so perhaps you could work different hours to cut down on your commute. Or, you could also try an alternative route. There’s also a much too complex solutions like purchasing a helicopter. Although it would technically do the job, it would be highly complex and expensive. Often, those that identify process issues aren’t able to convince a skeptic because they suggest the helicopter option. The solution must be appropriate for the issue at hand and you must have real data to back up your analysis.

Suggest Improvements.

Changing processes are rarely free, but most, if done correctly, pay for themselves quickly. Conducting a SWOT Analysis on improvements is a critical way to demonstrate to a skeptic any pros and cons of your improvements.

Complexity of Set Up

Marketing Automation: Setting up Marketing Automation may help your organization save time while improving lead quality, however, customizing it to your specific sales and marketing environment is a challenge that many companies face. A trusted partner (like Axxis Solutions) are often critical to a successful transition to Marketing Automation. With the cost of marketing automations platforms on the rise, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the best ROI possible.


Email Marketing: Email marketing may be much less complex to implement, however, understanding the data is often even more difficult without the help of a smart marketing automation platform. Since traditional email marketing often requires more ‘legwork’ than marketing automation, making sure your team knows how to manually read ‘buy signals’ is essential to prevent your team from missing out on valuable sales opportunities


Whether you decide to go with a complete marketing automation platform or the more basic email marketing service will also depend on the size and needs of your organization. We’re happy to help discuss the pros and cons of each for your specific organization with a free consultation as well as some options we’d recommend.

Axxis Answers: What is a SWOT Analysis?

A SWOT analysis is a method that evaluates strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. A SWOT Analysis is critical in any proposed improvements as it addresses the proposed improvement plan in an objective way. There’s no room for feeling or how you “think” things should be in a SWOT analysis. Going through this process will provide a clear guide for your management team and is a great exercise to ensure you’re not going down a path based solely on intuition.


With the SWOT analysis in place, the final key step in selling process improvement to a skeptic is identifying the resources needed to implement the change. This might include stakeholders, staff members, departments involved, technology needed or even consultants brought in for the process. By creating a list of key members and outside parties that may be required to assist with the process improvement, you’re making sure the project has the greatest chances of a successful completion and adoption by everyone that’s affected.


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