Task Management – Automating Your Business Processes

LeadMaster’s Task Management features are an excellent tool for automating routine business processes.  LeadMaster tasks are designed to mimic your business processes using a point-and-click interface to create the automations.  There are several characteristics of LeadMaster Tasks:

  • Tasks are assigned to individuals in your organization who are in the LeadMaster hierarchy.
  • Tasks have time limits.
  • Tasks have a specific definition for what is considered a complete task.
  • Tasks have actions / consequences that can be defined for either accomplishing the task on time or missing the deadline. The task will:
    • Re-assign the record.
    • Send a text message
    • Update the record (11 actions, see Figure -6-)
    • Request an update to the record (Lead-Xpress)
    • Upload the record (HTTP Post, Get, SOAP)
    • Start a Lead Nurturing Track
    • Stop a Lead Nurturing Track
  • Tasks can repeat.
  • As with all LeadMaster workflow, you define when the task applies:
    • When updating a record
    • When a new record enters the system
    • Both updating and entering records
    • When assigning records
    • When someone opens an email sent from LeadMaster
    • When someone clicks on a link in an email sent from LeadMaster
  • Tasks also have a workflow condition that can be used to determine when this task should apply.  The choices for when the condition should apply are: =, < > (does not equal), >, <, >=, <=, was updated or was checked. The choices of ‘Fields’ for setting the condition (left hand side of the workflow – the right side of the workflow has the actions i.e. the Task) include:
    • Any Field
    • The Sales Progress Fields – Lead Status, Lead Value etc.
    • Many of the demographic fields – Zip, City, Phone etc.
    • The Call Stat / Click Action Fields
    • The User Definable ‘Special Interest Fields’
    • The Assignment Fields – Account Manager, Partner Rep etc.

Combining the ‘Applies When’ and the ‘Condition’ gives you very tight control over when your automated Tasks will execute.

Here’s a typical Task Management Automation.  After a prospect enters their information on a website or landing page and Workflow Automation has assigned the prospect to a sales rep, a task is used to monitor the status of the lead to make sure it is followed up on.

  1. LeadMaster Task Manager watches the lead to see if the record has been updated.
  2. If the record has not been updated within 20 minutes, the Task Manager can send a reminder to the sales rep.
  3. If the record has not been updated within 60 minutes, the Task Manager can send an alert to the sales manager.
  4. If the record has not been updated with 120 minutes, the Task Manager can reassign the record and start the process all over again.

To begin, create a new workflow.
In this situation the ‘Applies When’ is equal to ‘Assigning Records’.  The reason ‘Assigning Records’ was chosen is because regardless of whether this is a new lead or a reassignment (because the lead wasn’t updated), we want the prospect contacted within 20 minutes.

When ‘Assigning Records’ is chosen for the ‘Applies When’ the ‘Condition’ with always be ‘Always’.

Task to monitor new leadsFigure -27-

The second step is to ‘Add an Action’, in this case the task.  Click the ‘Add an Action’ link under the ‘Resulting Action(s)’ side of the workflow and you’ll see a window similar to Figure -28- on the next page.

The third step is to enter the ‘Task Name’, who the task is ‘Assigned to’ and the ‘Due dates’.

You have the option of letting the person who this task is assigned to know that they have a new task.  My preference is typically not to use this optional notification because everyone involved in the business probably already knows the business processes and is well aware that leads are to be followed up within 20 minutes.  This email just adds to my already overflowing email box.

Add Action Add TaskFigure -28-

There are two components to the time constraints for every workflow

  • Due not before’
  • ‘Due not after’

Here’s the reason why.  Suppose that we wanted a lead to be updated every week for 3 weeks and we had workflows to alert us if the record wasn’t updated.

  • The first workflow would monitor updates between 0 and 7 days
  • The second between 7 and 14 days
  • The third between 14 and 21 days

If we only specified that the desired tasks had to happen within 7, 14 and 21 days then when the record was updated during the first week, all 3 workflows would be satisfied.

In other words workflow #1 was watching for the lead to be updated in less than 7 days, workflow #2 was watching for an update in less than 14 days and workflow #3 in less than 21 days.  If the update occurred during the first week then all 3 workflows would be satisfied.

The only way to accomplish our goal in this case is to have a ‘Due not before’ and a ‘Due not after’ time constraint.

After completing the third step in defining this task by entering the ‘Task Name’, who the task is ‘Assigned to’, the ‘Due dates’ and clicking save your workflow should look like the image in Figure -29- on the next page.

Task Manager 20 minute reminderFigure -29-

The fourth step in defining this task is to specify the condition when this task is considered complete.  The Task Manager uses the same conditions to determine whether or not a task is complete as does workflow as described on Page -8-.

The choices include: Any Field, the Sales Progress fields (Lead Status, Lead Value etc.), many of the demographic fields (Zip, City, Phone etc.), the Call Stat / Click Action fields, the User Definable ‘Special Interest Fields’ and the Assignment Fields (Account Manager, Partner Rep etc.).

The choices for ‘Operator’ are = < > (does not equal), >, <, >=, <=, was updated or was checked.

For your business process you may want to specify a specific lead status or perhaps one of the Call Stat / Click Action fields since those have reports tied to them.

For this workflow we simply want to make sure the lead is being followed up on so ‘Any field was updated’ will indicate that it is being worked.

For the fifth and final step we just need to define the email that will be sent if this task is not completed within 20 minutes.  Select the checkbox next to ‘Send an Email Message’ and then click the ‘Details’ link next to ‘Send an Email Message’ and a window similar to the one in Figure -30- will appear.

Edit Action - Send EmailFigure -30-

Select who the email message is going to.  Your choices are:

  • The email address of the primary contact on the record
  • The Account Manager
  • The Partner Rep
  • Any email address (you can type it in)
  • You can also add email addresses to the Cc and Bcc address space, as well as specifying a Cc or Bcc to the logged in user.

The ‘From Address’ and ‘Subject’ are mandatory fields that you’ll need to complete.

You’ll also need to compose the content of the email message.
For the content you have the choice of sending either a plain text email or an HTML email.  If you choose HTML, this is a full HTML editor so you can make the notifications as elaborate or as simple as you like.

You’ll notice that ‘Merge Fields’ are available for this email.  This means you can select fields from the database and insert them into the email and when the email is sent it will insert the information from the database into the email.  For example, in the email in Figure -30- the field [AcctMgrFirstName] will be replaced with the Account Manager’s first name and the field [Company] will be replaced with the name of the prospect’s company.

Click Save to save the email and your task is complete.  It should look like the image in Figure -29-.
This is just the first of 3 tasks that you’ll need to accomplish the goal of monitoring the newly assigned lead.  Recall we want the following:

  1. If the record has not been updated within 20 minutes, the Task Manager can send a reminder to the sales rep.
  2. If the record has not been updated within 60 minutes, the Task Manager can send an alert to the sales manager.
  3. If the record has not been updated with 120 minutes, the Task Manager can reassign the record and start the process all over again.

We’ve completed the task for #1 above.  To create a task for #2 & #3 simply create two more tasks in this workflow (Task to Monitor New Assignment Contact Time) selecting ‘Adding an Action’ twice from the ‘Edit Workflow Process’ page.

  • In Task #2 you’ll want the ‘Due not before’ equal to zero and the ‘Due not after’ equal to 60 minutes.
  • In Task #3 you’ll want the ‘Due not before’ equal to zero and the ‘Du not after’ equal to 120 minutes.

You’ll notice that in this workflow we have all ‘Due not before’ equal to zero.  Whereas in the previous example we had the ‘Due not before’ equal to the previous task’s ‘Due not after’.  That’s because in this instance all we want is for the record to be updated.  Once it has been updated then all 3 condition have been met and all 3 workflows are satisfied.

In other words, if the record is updated in the first 20 minutes then there’s no need to send an alert to the sales manager after 60 minutes and likewise there’s no need to reassign the record after 120 minutes.

Workflows are processed in order from the top of the page to the bottom of the page.  You can rearrange the order of the workflows by clicking on the up/down arrow on the left hand side of the ‘Workflow Process List’ page.

Note:  It is a Best Practice to number your workflows so that you can more easily keep track of them.

To edit a workflow click on the ‘Edit’ link on the right hand side of the Workflow Process List Page.  The workflow we created in the example above should look like the image in Figure -31- below.

Edit Workflow ProcessFigure -31-

Resulting actions are executed from top to the bottom of the page.  You can rearrange the resulting actions by clicking on the up/down arrow on the right hand side of the ‘Edit Workflow Process’ page.

In addition to ‘Editing’ workflows you can also ‘Suspend’ and ‘Clone’ them as illustrated in Figure -32-.  These are useful functions for creating similar workflows and testing.

Workflow Process ListFigure -32-