4 ways to identify high-value activities that increase productivity
June 29, 2023
When trying to make a change, adopting a new outlook is the easiest part. Believing you need to work out to feel better requires almost no effort compared to what it takes to actually get yourself to the gym every day.
The same challenges arise when trying to make changes in an enterprise. Executives know that something needs to change in order to increase productivity and drive revenue. They want to try a new strategy as soon as possible. The challenge is how to make it successful.
For our own customers, convincing them that workflow intelligence improves productivity and profitability happens quickly. It just makes sense. But the first real obstacle for everyone is when it comes time to define and measure the right behaviors. Many don’t know how to distinguish from a high-value activity and those that don’t move the needle for customers.
In an effort to help everyone increase efficiency and improve their operations, we’ve put together 4 steps to defining high-value activities for your organization.
1. Separate activities by account types
Different accounts require varying levels of investment and engagements from your team. Making broad decisions for accounts could improve productivity for some individuals or teams, but won’t be the long-lasting improvements organizations need right now to grow.
Before a company can optimize for high-value activities, leadership must first separate which activities make the biggest impact on account types. Here is the process that we’ve seen work for customers before:
- Start with universal high-value activities. These are activities that help share knowledge between departments in your organization, onboard new customers, execute renewal or expansion deals, and escalate concerns when a customer shows signs that they are at risk of churning.
- Clarify high-value activities for account size. Here, ruthless prioritization will save both money and time. Take any opportunity to automate or condense activities that don’t move a customer further down the journey, help grow the relationship, or move an opportunity forward. Here the objective is to free up as much time as possible for individuals to do their best work, while not sacrificing customer satisfaction.
- Look for high-value activities based on customer longevity. Companies often take long-standing partnerships for granted when optimizing customer experience. Or teams build operational templates of the most recent customer acquisition. Neither strategy is incorrect, but without data and performance metrics to track how those strategies impact revenue and customer retention, there’s no way to improve the strategies. Take a look at workflows for long-term customers and those that have only used your product for 6 months to two years. Identify activities that may be more valuable earlier or later in the customer lifecycle.
Ultimately, knowing what to measure and why helps improve transparency, identify best practices, and allows for individuals to do their best work.
2. Consider the specialities of each individual
On the topic of best work, the next way to identify the high-value activities is through the specialties and experience of each individual on the team. Think about a sales team, for example. Some individuals love the thrill of chasing leads. Others thrive in a demo environment. All of them should excel at building relationships and problem solving.
When determining which activities each person should focus on, looking at each person’s strengths and interests helps tremendously in terms of increasing productivity and avoiding burnout. Of course, everyone does tasks they don’t love during any given work day. However, when reimagining how workflows are executed, there’s an opportunity to align teams and individuals with what they do best.
Rather than filling gaps in your workflow with more people or different tools, take stock of who is already on your team, the tasks they perform well, the ones they struggle to complete quickly, and how you can optimize for long-term success.
3. Measure performance by specific goals, not industry trends
By now, you might start to see a trend. The best performing companies choose to dive into their own workflow data rather than pay attention to industry trends. They don’t make rash decisions that impact the entire organization without intelligent data that gives them a granular view of how it will impact all operations.
This philosophy brings us to the third way to identify high-value activities: measuring your baseline performance and choosing the best metrics to measure over time. Clarify how each department will measure productivity, the metrics that will be used, and the expectations for the next 30, 60, and 90 days.
By collaborating with each department, leadership can ensure that each workflow behavior is tied to the bottom line, and that the efficiency of those activities can be measured, and thus improved. This means that teams need to push beyond the simplest definition of productivity where cost of work is lower than revenue generated. Teams need to evaluate their specific workflows, tie their behaviors to revenue or customer relationships, and figure out how they are currently performing. Without a baseline and company-specific productivity metrics, the changes you make today won’t result in improvements tomorrow.
4. Solve for the activities that can be automated
After companies identify the most valuable activities and pair them with the right team members, there will still be tasks that need to be done, even if they don’t move the needle quite as much. That’s where automation comes in.
In truth, some of the remaining activities can be eliminated completely. Often, weekly meetings and internal communications take up a lot of time, and interrupt important workflows for individuals. In those cases, meetings can be turned into emails and news can be communicated in more efficient ways. For everything else, teams should lean on automation tools that free up individuals to focus on their high-value activities.
Of course, someone needs to be responsible for keeping track of these automation processes to ensure they are optimized for the company’s ever-changing goals. But tweaking automated workflows is much easier than reinventing engagement strategies every time a company experiences a bad quarter.
Start measuring your high value activities today with Retain.ai
If you want to start making meaningful improvements to your productivity and create a better experience for your customers, schedule a demo of Retain.ai today! We’ll show you how to turn our world-class data into better strategies and fulfilling workflows.