Is it ever possible to track too much as an entrepreneur, CEO, or manager? Not if you want to become a force in your industry. Most business leaders focus heavily on tracking incoming data.
Why the obsession with keeping tabs on information? For one, having a baseline understanding of different data points alerts you to blips. Consider a sales manager scouring through monthly lead reports. Without records, the manager might miss a glaring problem, like a massive, unexpected drop in leads from a target zip code. Sure, it could be an anomaly. But it could also be a red flag. The manager could keep an eye on the fluctuation and follow-up later if it recurred.
Another benefit to tracking data is that it puts numbers against gut instincts. Most of us have worked with people who make decisions based on intuition. Even if their inclinations tend to turn out right most of the time, they’re not sustainable. After all, if the employee leaves, the intuitive decision-making goes, too. However, when instincts can be overlaid with data, teams can make smarter choices.
So how can you track your data effectively? In addition to old standards like gathering Google Analytics reports for your weekly meetings, try these four solutions. Each is geared to boost the tracking of a different department.
1. For the C-Suite: Rely on software to integrate and evaluate all your workflows simultaneously.
Chances are strong that your people use a variety of programs during your day-to-day operations. This is where a cloud-based Integration Platform as a Service, or IPaaS, can help.
A robust IPaaS system that requires no coding knowledge from your team should be able to collect data effortlessly. The data from all your favorite platforms can then be combined. When your workflows are synced up, you don’t have to keep moving data across various spreadsheets.
Remember: You’re going to collect tons of data from all the software you use. Bringing it all together in one location increases your opportunity to make sense of what you see.
2. For the Financial Department: Go beyond the ordinary profit-loss statements.
You don’t need to hold a degree in finance to handle your business’s cash flow. Nevertheless, you’ll probably want to rethink what you’re currently measuring. Many owners keep track of numbers but don’t use their results thoughtfully.
For example, you may want to gauge the percentage of fixed costs versus variable costs. Why does this matter? The more variable costs you have, the more your overall costs will fluctuate. Being able to pinpoint variable costs and potentially move some to the “fixed” column provides security. After all, you can more easily predict how much money you need monthly with fixed costs.
What if you can’t move any of your variable costs right now? You can at least track them long enough to come up with annual and seasonal averages. Again, tracking items like these reduces your chance of facing a sudden outlay of cash when you least expect it.
3. For the Sales Team: Go granular when it comes to tracking leads.
Here’s the truth: There’s a reason the most successful organizations use customer relationship management (CRM) systems. The bottom line is that they allow you to keep all your lead information in one place. Not only does that help from a customer service standpoint, but it provides a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips. With that being said, you have to understand how to make sense of all that knowledge.
In order to max out the ROI on your CRM, plan to take your data diving granular. Put another way, you’ll want to track figures and relationships that maybe the competition doesn’t—or won’t. It’s easy to track win rates or demo conversions. It takes a little more time to drill down. But as every diamond mine owner knows, drilling just a little deeper can net big returns.
For instance, is it possible to track stronger leads from weaker ones right from the awareness stage? Maybe. And it’s definitely worth knowing. The earlier you know if a lead is likely to buy, the faster you can put A-game approaches in action. Make no mistake: Sales isn’t just about relationships and selling. It’s also based on the right lead fit. Track your sales leads with help from your CRM platform. You’ll end up with higher sell rates, happier salespeople, and raving fans.
4. For Sales, Marketing, and Service Pods: Use social listening software to augment your data-rich reports.
Where are the majority of your customers getting their news and “meeting up” with friends and colleagues? On social media, of course. You probably have at least one social media branded page. Maybe you have several. Regardless, you may be overlooking the importance of social listening as part of your data tracking process.
Social listening involves monitoring what’s being said about your business across all relevant social platforms. Marketers tend to rely on social monitoring to find out when they get a brand mention or when hashtags spike. Since listening on social media would be a 24/7 job, most businesses use software to help. AI-augmented software platforms can operate around the clock, feeding back information.
How, then, can you use this incoming data in clever and fresh ways? Consider this hypothetical scenario: Your sales leads occasionally come in strong on an odd day. You can’t figure out why, but you track them just the same. Then, it hits you: Why not overlap your social listening data with your sales information? Suddenly, you see a relationship you didn’t before. Whenever a certain hashtag gains popularity, more leads drop into your funnel. Even if you aren’t sure why the phenomenon is happening, you now know to expect it. Plus, you may be able to make changes so the hashtag occurs more often.
As the old adage goes, “Numbers don’t lie.” At the same time, they don’t necessarily speak up, either. Sometimes, you have to use innovative tracking methods to hear what your information wants you to know.