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People, Technology and Process
March 08, 2015

People, Technology and Process

greeting Sales and Marketer!

while sitting around wondering what to do in the few minutes before sunset today, i stumbled upon a vital realization in my mind which i thought to share with you, dear reader:

(1) good people will implement good process and good technology
(2) good technology requires good process and good people
(3) good process ensures good people and good technology

good technology still requires good people or process or it will sit defunct and under/ misutilized

good process does not happen by itself

therefore we can conclude that good people is EVERYTHING everyone talks about people, process and technology without thinking about or understanding what the whole thing is all about (me included until today, by the way!). let me give you my perspective on things PPT as they occurred to me in my epiphany or what-have-you (i was literally in the pantry looking for a rag to use to clean something). if i may, i will use the example of a person fixing a bicycle tire. for the time being, let us take the actual PERSON out of the equation (as they are the variable we are testing, in a way)

if you have the right tools and process then fixing a bike might be called a definite task that a "good" person should be able to perform, achieving the desired RESULT within the desired TIMEFRAME at the desired COST. in fact, in order to offset SUBJECTIVITY, knowing that the only "soft" variable in the whole equation is the human one - in terms of the unpredictability of human nature and behavior - we might just say that while PEOPLE are the key, finding and choosing good people requires good technology or process first

so, in the case of our flat tire, you have all the tools you need and a complete process detailing what to do: deflate tire completely, remove tube from rim, inflate and check for leaks, seal leaks and so on. if we start off with a person, there is nothing to define whether or not they are going to be "good" for this specific purpose. for instance, the person may have ample experience fixing bicycle punctures in another setting but cannot adjust to our local environment for whatever reason. this is in fact a classic sales conundrum where it seems IMPOSSIBLE to predict how a given sales rep will perform in a given role and beginners regularly outshine veterans who have successfully sold in similar roles in the past

i want to re-emphasize this last part: having the right people in place will ensure that you have the right technology and process in place. however, the only way to choose the "right" people is to start with process or technology. the reason is that a person who is right for one position or situation will not be the correct person for every situation. therefore, just as technology and process are specific to a given area of endeavor or situation in creating specific results, so are people once we have a defined process which we consider to be optimal and once we have assembled the requisite tools to go with this process, we can then look for the right people in order to fill the roles we need. as a starting point, process trumps

technology because tools are interchangeable whereas process, by and large, is not. for example, in our bicycle example we can use a screwdriver or a flat knife in order to pry the tube from the tire but the tube must be taken out in any case. process will obviously change with tools but these are just minor tweaks. it takes a complete paradigm shift or wholesale INNOVATION in order for new technology to completely revamp process

let us finish off by applying our learnings here to a business setting. let's say that you are opening a shop and are looking to align your endeavor with best practice vis a vis people, process and technology. as i mentioned, process comes first. therefore, you will spend time looking at your market and studying how best to meet the needs of your target customer. where do they live? what do they want to buy? what kind of lifestyle and values do they have? where are your suppliers? what is the best location based on all of these factors and others that go into determining an optimum outcome? once your have leased a store location process again dictates how you stock and arrange products, what services - if any - you provide, what hours you will be open and so forth. the actual point-of-sale displays, packaging, cash register(s) and other technology are secondary to process choices. so, if you are given the choice to open in a specific location, you may hesitate without knowing more. however, if you are given a choice process to follow that will help you better serve the needs of your clients then you will adopt this process and then make sure that everything else you do is aligned with this process going forward

it is only after you have been in business for some time that you can best assess what type of people are required to help you grow your organization. a simple example is in hiring cashiers; what kind of personality type is your average customer? what kind of people live in this location? therefore, do you need a laid back or type-A kind of person running your shop when you are not around? is speed and efficiency what is value the most - as in at busy locations - or are your customers looking more for a friendly person to "shoot the breeze" with when they come in?

sales and marketing is what business is all about. as an old boss and mentor of mine Paul Buccini used to say, "there are only 2 jobs in any organization, sales and sales support". in a way he was right although i like to add that sales is a subset of marketing. in any case, as i mentioned in this video, business is about creating value and then creating customers. this is the marketing side of things but from an operational standpoint - which includes Admin, HR, Finance as well as sales and marketing - you need to look at people, process and technology

think about process, technology and people the next time you are working on a new marketing campaign, not just in setting up a new business or opening a new office or department. how about: think about PTP from the perspective of your CUSTOMER and show them how your solution aligns with their process and how that - their process - is the most important thing in the whole equation of your (tiny) deal and their (mighty) business it is all about people but people are useless without technology which must facilitate PROCESS


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