One of the keys to scaling is to remove yourself from the administrative activities of your business and to focus your time on growing your company. Having a VP tackle operations and administrative outcomes for you can go far beyond what a traditional assistant does, like answering phones and keeping your calendar. There are many more ways a VP can help you administratively. Here are some concrete examples of my favorite things administrative VPs do for our clients.
Figure 18, from early 2018, shows what MyOutDesk has in place so that sales and marketing can know how we have handled a hotline, a webchat, or an email campaign lead coming into our CRM.
When someone comes to MyOutDesk who is interested in working with us, we have a script and a completely outlined lead process in hand. While all salespeople need to embrace those standard operating procedures, they don’t necessarily need to be the ones who own those documents; you could have an administrative VP who acts as that owner and keeper of these very important procedures and process. You will be amazed at how having someone to do this will keep you from getting bogged down with the sales side of your business.
One opportunity many business owners overlook is taking advantage of all the reporting and business analytics virtual professionals can provide. Here is a report prepared for one of our clients. In it, you can see a lot of information: where revenue came from during this reporting period, how many deals were closed, what expenses there were, and what conversion rates looked like. Numbers like these can be prepared for you so you can know where to best spend your marketing dollars and how you can be most effective in closing deals. (See figure 19.)
Net Promoter Scores
Another thing your VPs can do for you is to keep track of net promoter scores. Whenever we have asked clients, “How likely are you to refer colleagues and friends to our service?” and the answer is “Very likely,” or, “Not likely,” we know that those who say “not likely” are clients we need to focus on. They are, in a way, raising their hands and saying, “Hey, we are not 100 percent happy,” and finding out why yields useful information. A VP can track both the “likely” responders and the “unlikely,” over time, to see if the same issues keep coming up and to report back to you about how more customers can become likely to give you a referral. Many companies don’t have a quality score around their service or product and having an administrative professional to survey clients, employees, and vendors is a great way to get the feedback you can use to implement long- term structural changes.
I’m an employer, and we have thousands of folks who work for MyOutDesk. I know from experience that sorting through all the applications we get is a big challenge and not necessarily the best use of my time as an entrepreneur. We have had years when we had over thirty thousand applicants for only five hundred jobs. As you would imagine, the process of narrowing the field to the two thousand or so viable candidates we would want to interview is daunting. As a business owner, it is your job to interview and find talent, but posting jobs and screening the multitudes are not. This is something that an administrative professional can handle for you when you give that person a clear idea of what your criteria are. This will save you time and energy while allowing you to focus on revenue-producing activities.
Agile Project Management
Agile project management is a great way to use your virtual administrative professionals. Following is an example of a spreadsheet that could represent project management for anyone on your team. On the left side, you can score the importance of the task, starting at 1,000 and going down so that the highest tasks go to the top and the lowest goes to the bottom. For each task, you can assign objectives, due dates, the person(s) who will handle it, documentation needed, and completion dates. These can all be housed in one spot.
If you are running a big organization and you have as many events as MyOutDesk does (for example, we might have a birthday party this week, a client event next week, and a team-building event coming up next month). All the related details have to be tracked as a project. There are the flights, the hotels, the venue details, and schedules…and all of this can be managed by VPs. Many of our clients and VPs use the Basecamp app to run complex, multifunctional projects. Some still use a simple Excel spreadsheet, like the one I share here. Others use a kind of software that is specific to project management. Whatever you use, you can give it to a virtual professional to run it for you.
Performance reporting is another role that virtual administrative assistants can assume. Here is an example from several years ago of our incoming leads, where they came from, and how many converted across different departments. A VP compiled that information and maintained it over time so we could have access to that data.
There are many different access points VPs can have for this kind of data. If you have a phone system, there is a back end for that phone system from which data can be pulled. If you have a CRM, there is a back end for that from which you can extract how many leads came in and what the activity looks like. If you have some sort of delivery software in which you are running projects, you can pull that data out of the back end. If you have financials, you can tie the operations of your business back to those financials. These are all examples of performance reporting. A VP will have to be given resources to do this; this person won’t be able to jump straight in and know how to do it. But once it is set up, and you have introduced the process, your VP will be able to maintain it for you and report back in a consistent format.
In chapter 3, I mentioned Chris, a VP at MyOutDesk who has been supporting our client Knolly William’s technology company. The technology is a CRM. A few years ago, Knolly hadn’t been sure what he was going to do with his tech company. He was going to either ditch it or move forward with it. It had an inexpensive price point, so there were a lot of potential users, and it was a recurring source of revenue for him. The problem was that he was tired of working on it himself as a business owner. I told him I could get him, somebody, to help.
That’s where Chris came in. He is the customer support touchpoint for all inquiries, sales, and operations. The only things he doesn’t handle are speaking engagements, writing about the CRM, and working with the tech people to maintain and develop the technology. Knolly does all of that. But Chris handles everything else, from onboarding to helping someone move his or her CRM from an old system. Chris feels like a partner to Knolly, and he loves his work. He is a great example of an administrative VP who has made a business come alive.