Over the years, I’ve found the first step of building anything in software is to step away from the computer, and pick up a pencil.

Yes, I can save time by skipping this step.  In theory.  Just like I can save time by taking a shortcut.  Except, it usually turns out to be that shortcut.  You know the one. It takes you from Melbourne to Sydney via London.


It’s easy to jump straight into software, and easy-to-use tools like the Campaign Builder encourage this.  You can jump in, build something and have it working – sometimes in minutes.

That’s awesome for your first process.  You jump in, add a campaign, link the pieces together and test it.  It works, and off you go.  Great!

Then you add a second, a third, a fourth and before you know it, 15 campaigns are running.  Some goals within them are triggered by tags, others by purchases, and you end up looking at a contact’s record wondering “What will happen if I add this tag?  Is it the right tag, anyway?”


There’s a better way.

  1. Step away from the computer (or at least, from the app)
  2. Write out a flow of the critical pieces in your business – the sales channels, the delivery mechanisms.
  3. Plan how they interact – this sales pipeline goes into that delivery process which then leads the person into that testimonial process and this stay-in-touch system…
  4. For each one, map out how it works – what the steps are, what can go wrong, and what you do about it, what you need to know about it to manage it and so on.
  5. Build, and test, each one.
  6. Burn the overall plan and the map documents so that no-one else will ever understand the system.

Ok, don’t do the last one.

Those documents are your reference material.  They don’t have to be fancy documents, but they do need to explain what happens.  You need to be able to read them in 2 months’ time, and know what’s going on.  You need to be able to give them to your new staff member so she understands how the system works.

Store them somewhere.

Oh … and keep them updated.