Improving Cross-functional Process Performance

Software & Technology​

Challenge

The client is a data analytics platform provider who offers a 14-day free trial download of its software from its website. Sales conversions from these trial downloads contributed about 20% of their total revenue. It was felt that the conversion rate for this “trial-to-win” process was below industry standard with opportunity to double. ViTL Solutions was engaged to oversee an end-to-end process improvement project to make it happen.

Strategy

The initial strategy was simple: Map the end-to-end process, gather performance metrics, analyze the numbers, come up with improvements, test them, and implement the “winners.” We soon discovered data integrity issues: KPIs and metrics did not have the same definition from department to department and did not have owners. There were also errors in calculations, and in some instances, a major licensing platform issue caused “trial to win” opportunities to be indistinguishable from other opportunities. It was impossible to baseline conversion performance in a way that would show the impact of proposed improvements. Our strategy was to develop a new approach with three main focus areas: 1) fix metrics and reporting; 2) implement the improvements we could measure; and, 3) build a continuous improvement approach, adopted by the client, so they could continue to identify, implement and measure improvements after our engagement ended.

Execution

A cross-functional team was built consisting of client representatives from the web, IT, sales, marketing, product, licensing, and legal teams. Most client representatives had not worked together before, which made learning about each other’s world and understanding each party’s constraints and challenges was eye-opening. Building a team with a common purpose and a better appreciation for each other immediately led to the identification and swift implementation of “low hanging fruit”-type improvements. The ViTL team took an agile approach, identifying a backlog of potential improvements that were prioritized based on potential impact, ease of implementation, and other dependency measurements as they fit into the product release cycle.

Outcome

ViTL built a new “shepherding” solution for the trial download that guided new users through how to get the best out of the product. We implemented new best practices on the website to improve the “call to action.” We also made a series of usability changes to improve the trial users’ initial product experience. Conversion rates improved. And, because we believe in lasting change, instead of simply identifying and implementing some process improvements that would improve conversion rates, ViTL built a sustainable culture of continuous improvement around all things “trial to win.” This ensured that the KPIs and supporting metrics were identified, had clear ownership, and had quarterly targets that were reviewed. Any performance gaps were then analyzed, and a set of improvement actions were assigned to ensure targets were achieved and ongoing process improvements locked-in. A Plan, Do, Check, Act cadence was implemented so this approach would continue well after our involvement.