The Right Data Means Better DecisionsSep 16, 2016 03:52PM ● By Melanie Heisinger
is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.”
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Do you realize that your business is generated with every action or reaction you take? Here is just a sample of what I’m talking about:
- The number of visitors to a storefront, website, kiosk, trade show booth, or distributor of your products.
- The number of marketing collateral pieces mailed or handed out.
- The number and type of phone calls your business receives and makes.
- The number of orders you take, and whether they are from new or existing customers.
- The number of miles your sales team, delivery or service teams drive.
- The number of employees calling in sick.
- The number and types of products being sold.
- The average size of an order.
- The percentage of products being returned and why.
This just scratches the surface! You can fill up a page with items that are unique to your own business. Do you realize the gold mine such data represents?
Unfortunately, too many businesses are too busy running and doing the business to take the time to really capitalize on such information. As long as the customer’s order gets recorded and fulfilled, a correct invoice goes out the door, and payments are properly received, recorded and put in the bank, it’s pretty easy to be satisfied, isn’t it? After all, it’s about the revenue!
Why take the time to dig deeper? So you are better equipped with the facts you need to make good decisions! So get the real story about what is going on, expand on what is working and discover ways to improve what isn’t.
As I work with my clients, a critical part of developing plans for success is the creation of a Scorecard. A good Scorecard includes key metrics that must be measured accurately and consistently over time. This short list of metrics that matter is not arrived at easily or quickly. It starts with ensuring the data you have is accurate and trustworthy. Even getting to this point is a treasure trove of opportunity. Remember the phrase, ‘garbage in, garbage out’? Data collection processes may be broken, or fields in your database could be misused. You discover information you didn’t know you had, and there is value with each new discovery.
How do you determine what to measure? Start with your Business Plan! Where do you want to be at the end of this year? Most use a gross revenue goal. Break that down into quarterly and monthly goals. How about the mix of products you want to sell to get that revenue? Are there changes in the current mix you need to make? Are there new products in the pipeline? How many sales will it take, and at what average? How about close rates?
Are you getting the picture? Your success depends on a number of things, so getting dialed in on what those are and which ones drive your business is a process that is well worth the time and effort.
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