Data

The most wonderful time of the year…to add customers.

I opened my first door this morning by 8AM, not the best time to eat chocolate but my advent calendar told me it was the 1st December. I’ve already lost count the amount of times I’ve heard things will start to quieten down.

So a quiet few weeks ahead, what’s the plan? Let’s add some customers.

We start at the beginning with the necessary evil, data. Data is actually pretty cool, I’m not talking about the Big Data we always hear about, complex data sets that grind organisations to a halt. I’m talking about YOUR data, your customers, prospects, turnover, margin, cost of sale etc.

Quick digress. Talithia Williams speaks well about owning your body’s data. When Talithia was pregnant with her 3rd child at 41.5 weeks (some would say overdue) she had to go for a check-up every couple of days, to undertake a stress test on the baby. After about 20 minutes of one of these tests the doctor came out and said, “Your baby is under stress, we need to induce you.”

As a statistician, Talithia’s response was “Show me the data!” To make a long story short, the doctor wanted to induce her, stating the unusual heart rate of both Talithia and baby, her temperature etc. Talithia signed a waiver and walked out of the hospital, why? She had SIX years worth of her body’s data, she knew her cycle, her temperatures, heart rates etc. I’m not advocating not to listen to your doctors but Talithia knew her temperature so well she could pretty accurately estimate conception! She knew baby was cosy for a few more days.
Talithia was an expert on her body’s patterns and trends by religiously taking daily measurements.

What can we take from that? To make an informed decision we need data, not tons of it, just the right data.

OK, quiet December. That white board in front of you has a bunch of KPI’s (if it hasn’t pick up the marker) on it and one says ‘increase sales turnover by £300k’.
Judging by your current turnover, customer portfolio and average sale value it looks like you need 6 customers to spend £50k…
To achieve 6 customers in the past you’ve usually marketed to 1,000 prospects via an e-campaign.  The sales team have pooled their business cards from that last exhibition and chipped in another 50 prospects. Your favourite social media followers and blog readers throw another 200 into the pot.

Following the marketing team nurturing with brochures and case studies and the sales team engaging with emails, you then manage to speak on the phone with 50 prospects, you get in front of 20 and with your great conversion rate (and products) you win 6 projects.
That was very simplified (and if only it was that easy), but looking back over we know that to get 6 customers we need 1250 details of prospective customers.

The takeaway;
– Set you, the team and the company KPI’s
– Make decisions using statistics, but only measure the stuff that’s worthwhile, don’t be a data slave.
– When informed of a result/decision bang the desk and shout “Show me the data”.

Have a productive ‘quiet’ period.

Ian Farrar
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Ian Farrar

Managing Director at Far North Ltd
Sales & Marketing Professional
Ian is also podcast host at www.IndustryAngel.com
Ian Farrar
Follow Ian

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