How To Use Intake Process To Make Data-Driven Decisions

October 11, 2022
Alok Suman
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What do you do when you’re assigned a task? Do you jump into it right away? Or do you lay back, analyze what it is and then start your task?

If you’re going with the latter option, congrats -  you’re following the right approach. No matter how easy or complicated a process is, a proper feasibility study and research are required to complete the process successfully. 

This is where businesses need an intake process. It will give them a bird's-eye view of the process and show them what needs to be done to achieve desired results. 

Want to know more about the intake process? Dive into this ultimate guide as we’ll take you through the intake process, how it works, and some examples to help you understand how it can benefit your business. 

What is the Intake Process?

The intake process is the initial step in a process lifecycle. Almost every business has an intake process. It basically refers to how a business receives incoming process requests from its customers. 

The intake process helps enhance the relationship with the customer. The process is not green-lit until all the information related to the project is collected, analyzed, and stored. 

The intake process lays the groundwork for projects. A feasibility study is done for the received projects, and proposals are created to decide whether to move forward with the project or not. 

If your business is finding it hard to improve task completion efficiency or create a better client experience, you should consider revamping your entire intake process. This process plays a vital role in building a successful client-business relationship. 

The ultimate goal of an intake process is to make sure that all the requests or proposals are received and recorded. It helps ensure that the received requests align with the business's resource capacity and goals. 

Once the client request is approved, next comes the client intake process, which is also a crucial part of the project lifecycle. 

What is the Client Intake Process? 

The client intake process is similar to onboarding a new employee to your business. Instead of an employee, you’ll have your client to whom your team will be transferring essential knowledge. 

But before that, you’ll also need to know about the project from the client. So it is a mutual collaboration where the client will share the project information, and you’ll onboard them on how your business works and what you will do to complete the project. 

This method is more difficult to execute for smaller firms but simple in larger businesses as they'll have more resources to set up the client intake process.

Smaller firms may find it time-consuming, but larger organizations can simply install an application for the process and also have enough manpower to do it successfully.

Your business will be judged and evaluated from the get-go. So, if you want your clients to trust you and choose you for their project, building a systematic client intake process is crucial. 

Client Intake Process: Best Practices

If you want to have a seamless intake process, then you need to follow some of the best practices and improve your intake process lifecycle. 

1. Reaching out to Your Target Audience

Your intake process cannot commence without target clients. You must look for clients that can actually benefit from your service.

You can get them by cold outreach, referrals, social media, etc. However, your resources must align with their requirements; only then they’ll move forward with you.

Sometimes, you don’t need to look for your clients. If you have the right marketing strategy and an even better brand awareness tactic, clients will come knocking on your door. 

They might reach out to you through one of your blogs, emails, social media posts, etc. So, to make it easy for them to reach you, your resources must include:

  • Blogs and social media posts that have links redirecting to a new window, with your email address filled in. 
  • Your contact page links or book demo links in your resources. 
  • Call to action buttons in your email to influence action.
  • Contact details like an email address or phone number.
  • Fill-out forms like Google Forms to collect client information.

2. Establishing a Connection 

Once you’ve identified your potential clients, it is time to reach out to them and pitch what you can do for them. To do that, you need an email address, social media profile, or any other means of communication. 

The recommended and professional way of contacting your clients is by sending a cold outreach email. Cold emailing is an activity where you reach out to prospects who have no prior communication with you. 

To find email addresses, you can use tools like ContactOut, GetProspect or Hunter. Grab your client's email address and draft a compelling email copy on how you can transform their business. Add a CTA to redirect them to your pricing or contact page. 

Alternatively, send a Calendly invite via email and let them schedule the date for a walkthrough session at their convenience. 

3. Conducting a Feasibility Study 

Alright, you’ve established a connection with your clients and have listened to their requirements. Now comes the feasibility study. This is where you evaluate whether your business has the right resources and manpower to meet the client's requirements at the right time. 

Here's how you do it:

1. Communicate with the potential clients and ask the right questions, like what are they looking for? How will your service help their business? How soon do they want the end product?

2. Gather your team along with the stakeholders and identify all the existing processes that are currently in progress.

3. If your team is occupied with too many high-priority tasks, do not sign a new deal with a client; it will put them under too much pressure. 

4. If you have enough time and resources relevant to the customer's demands, then you're good to go.

5. Communicate with the team about the upcoming project, and train them before they begin.

This is a crucial process; not performing a feasibility study will impact your project lifecycle, and you’ll end up building a low-quality product which will impact your reputation and your client’s budget. 

4. Having the First Conversation 

Your feasibility study has revealed that your business is capable of reaching the client’s requirements. Set up a meeting with the client; you can choose a face-to-face meeting or a meeting via call. 

Talk to your clients, understand their requirements in detail, and ask them the right questions. Only then can you build an effective business process strategy. 

Prepare a questionnaire and ensure you collect all the necessary information during this consultation process. 

5. Accepting and Onboarding 

Consult all the right teams and ensure that all the requirements and demands can be met before the deadline. Once you’re sure, accept the agreement and onboard them. 

When onboarding your customers, tell them what you do and how you do it. Create the best impression and then go on by explaining how you can complete your project quickly without sacrificing quality by dividing all the tasks into small schedules. 

Make them understand your project cycle, and assure them they made the right decision by going forward with you. Showcase your customer testimonials to make your clients comfortable. This is how a systematic intake process should look like. 

The above intake process might look simple on paper, but it is a complex undertaking when done in reality. The effective way to do it is by splitting your tasks and going forward with one at a time. 

Using a business process management platform can be an advantage during the intake process. You cannot keep up with all the flowing data manually; a platform will let you easily automate all the required processes, saving time and expenses. 

Examples of Intake Processes 

1. IT Intake 

An IT business is one of the best examples where the intake process is a necessity, as there are multiple teams and technologies put together to achieve a common goal. 

And IT is always evolving. Once a product is delivered, the process doesn’t stop. There will be routine upgrades, checks, service tickets, and more. So, each activity will have its own intake process. 

Performing all of these processes manually can be a huge and tedious undertaking. This is where you can use an automated intake process with a form to automate the task. 

Now the clients can fill out all the necessary details, including the requirements in the form. Then, the team can perform a feasibility study to check if they have the right resources to meet the requirements.

Once the study is done, the team can set up a consultation call with the clients to get more detailed insights into the process. 

2. Marketing Intake 

Marketing companies, though many don’t see it, have a complex process. Their request system needs to be robust and flexible.

The scope of the work, requirements, deadlines and deliverables must all be thoroughly described during the intake process. 

Allow team members to easily clarify with the requesting department while collecting and organizing the data to limit the number of follow-ups required.

As marketing is an ever-changing scenario, too many follow-ups will impact the client relationship, so get the maximum information during the first call. 

3. Human Resources Intake

Human resources have multiple intake processes; employee onboarding is one of the notable examples. 

Not just that, human resources deal with the entire organization - performance reviews, employee training, employee reviews, employee satisfaction, etc., are some of the activities that require individual intake processes to meet specific demands. 

Benefits of the Intake Process

Many think that the intake process is not necessary, but these benefits will prove otherwise:

  • Onboarding is one of the steps in the intake process, and it will help you showcase how knowledgeable your business is. This will give rise to subsequent projects.
  • As the intake process will give you the first opportunity to talk with your clients, it will help make them feel comfortable. This, in turn, will minimize their buyer’s remorse.
  • The intake process will help you make data-driven decisions, give you control over your teams, and make time management much easier.
  • The intake process is done to gather maximum information before jumping into the project. So, it’ll help businesses generate high-quality results.  
  • As you’re taking a well-calculated, systematic approach, you can increase your team’s productivity and deliver the project way ahead of the deadline. 
  • Manual processes are susceptible to errors and irregularities. This is why it's recommended to use automation to avoid these mistakes. Automation will save time and minimize the workload of employees.

Challenges Involved in the Intake Process 

From the point of receiving the request to delivering the final product, there are a lot of moving parts. This will give rise to irregularities as the process goes on. 

Here are some of the challenges involved in the intake process:

Lack of a Controlled Process 

From accepting the project to delivery, there are a plethora of processes that need to go the right way.

Without a proper system or a controlled protocol, teams might lose coordination and end up losing control of the process, resulting in a poor end-quality product. 

Disruptive Tasks 

In a business process, there will always be tasks or issues that rise suddenly and disrupt the entire system. Such disruptions on a regular basis will override the optimum intake process and reduce team productivity.

Ad hoc tasks will divert resources and funds away from the scheduled process. Thus, they should be limited to the absolute need.

Inconsistency Between New and Planned Projects

To follow an ideal intake process, there should be a connection between multiple tasks so that they can all be managed successfully. Assessing how new projects may affect existing and planned projects is critical.

If this is not assessed, problems like will arise during the process, making things even harder and delaying the deadline. 

 

For example

1. Your team might be using a process automation tool for an existing project. As the tool is already in use, you might not be able to use it for a new project until the previous one is complete.

2. Your team might've been trained for the existing project. So when a new project arises simultaneously, they might find it hard to focus on the same project simultaneously. 

Lack of Guidelines 

An organization without guidelines or ethics will find it difficult to reach the end goals at the right time. These irregularities can only be overcome through proper communication. 

Every team member should be aware of the end goal. This is possible only through proper communication. Once the guidelines are set and everyone is aware of them, it'll be easy for you to reach the end goals without delay.

Conclusion 

The intake process is a crucial step in business as it helps you establish a relationship with your clients. Businesses cannot start the project until they receive all the necessary requirements from the clients. 

Clients will not green-light the project until they are convinced of how your business will handle the project or until they are onboarded. Both of these processes can be easily accomplished through an effective intake process.

Every business will have multiple projects which will require numerous intake processes. In such cases, your team cannot handle them manually; this will only cost them valuable time. 

This is where process automation tools like Hubbler can help you out. Automate the intake process using Hubbler and collect client information without breaking a sweat. 

Hubbler comes with a drag-and-drop builder and pre-built automation templates that can help you easily build a process automation campaign within minutes. 

So, if you own a business and you’re looking for a process automation tool to automate the intake process, Hubbler is the affordable solution you must get your hands on. 

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