From Mad Men to Math Men - Empowering Staff Through Sales Data
“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.”
– Richard Branson
Think Virgin, think Google, think Red Bull. Very successful companies have moved away from a one-size-fits-all approach and tailored their services not only to the customer but also to their staffs’ strengths, worries and motivations. Improving employee engagement gives employees meaning to their day to day work, at ground level in the company.
The problem is, what people say they want, isn’t always what they actually want and how people think they act, isn’t always how they actually act …. so how does a Manager get to the truth of the matter?
This is where facts come in. With facts, you can figure out feelings.
Traditional business reports produce ineffective static information. The yearly report is simply a snapshot of a trading period that is now in the past. With social media and better technology, the market changes rapidly now and the old-school annual report can be out of date between printing and landing on someone’s desk. By the time someone gets around to actually reading it, the information can be months out of date and yet it’s used for the next 11 months to make business decisions and set sales strategy. This is ineffective.
In the modern world, static reports are being overtaken by real-time reporting. Analytics information provides on demand data that monitors performance on an ongoing basis.
Role-based permissions empower managers with reliable facts. HR problems are “nipped in the bud” instead of being allowed to develop until a time-squeezed annual review arrives. Sudden stock trends can be spotted and capitalised on. With static month-end or year-end reporting, you realise that you could have sold 30 more of the “Jessica” dress because it trended on Instagram… last month, but now the chance is gone, because your system didn’t “flag it up”.
With richer, more accessible information managers are able to optimise their operations. This strengthens the ability of businesses to respond to an increasingly dynamic marketplace. This is a pro-active approach to sales, creating greater communication between management and staff and between staff and customers. With reliable facts and visible results, staff feel more involved – seeing the sales graph soaring creates employee enthusiasm, competitiveness and pride in their work. With “touch of a button” stock checks, staff feel more confident in advising customers of stock availability, popularity and ordering items in. Reliable data also allows Management to create realistic bonus / commission programmes for staff, target specific products with special offers and report reliably to Directors and Shareholders. Solid, consistent data is an excellent way to showcase your business to potential investors.
More efficient access to information enables staff to spend less energy worrying about stock, less money ordering the wrong stock and to take the opportunity to spend more time with customers, improving customer satisfaction.
Making the most of an opportunity however, means being able to spot one in the first place!