Where Is Your Business’ Most Important Data Hidden?

Let me ask you a question: if your business receives X leads per day on average, and leads suddenly dropped 40%, how quickly would you know about it?

Immediately? Within 24 hours? Within a week?

Clearly, the sooner you knew about the issue, the better…so you can help resolve it.

Now what makes this issue so much more complex and challenging is that the average company has 14 systems within which key data (like the number of new leads) resides.

Do You Use 14 Systems Like Most Other Firms?

The fact that the average company uses 14 systems was gleaned from Okta’s Business at Work report which showed that regardless of company size, the average company uses 14 SaaS [Software as a Service] applications.

Tomasz Tunguz, a venture capitalist with Redpoint Ventures, commented on the report saying, “although the report doesn’t detail these 14 products, I suspect there is a remarkable consistency across companies in which applications those are. Here’s my stab at that list: CRM, Marketing Automation, ERP, Expense Management, Analytics, Email, Collaboration, Document Storage, Payroll, HRIS, ATS, IaaS, Customer Support, and Recruiting.”

Let me repeat that: the average company uses FOURTEEN services/applications regardless of their company size.

From a data perspective, this means critical company information (like the number of new leads) is locked away in numerous systems, and that the executives at these companies can’t possibly have visibility into them.

What Information Do You Know? What Don’t You Know?

For instance, if your company desperately needs to hire people, do you as an executive know how many new job applications you’ve received? Do you know where they stand in the hiring pipeline?

And what about the other applications you’re using? For example:

  • Email: do you know which email you’ve sent recently that caused the most subscribers to your email list to unsubscribe, killing your chances of ever marketing or selling to them again?
  • CRM: do you know if your leads are increasing or decreasing, or which lead sources are underperforming?
  • Customer Support: are your number of emails or support tickets increasing? How about the time it takes to resolve a ticket/email?
  • ERP: is your company overstaffed or understaffed? Do you have excess capacity? Excess inventory? Where are you wasting money?
  • And so on for all your other applications…

Importantly, the FOURTEEN applications that the average company is using doesn’t even include other critical systems you’re probably using like advertising and social media.

  • Advertising: do you know if your cost of Google AdWords leads is decreasing or increasing, or are you blindly trusting your advertising “guy” or firm?
  • Social Media: do you know if your Facebook page is working? Are people following the page? Unfollowing it? Are you getting leads from social media? Or, once again, are you blindly trusting your social media “guy” or firm?
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Why Knowing Your Metrics is So Critical

So let me reiterate why this matters so much.

As an executive, when you blindly allow your team to manage key areas of your business without active oversight, you will never achieve the success you want.

I’m not saying you need to micro-manage them. But surely you need to have basic metrics for each to judge their performance.

And YOU need to have access to these metrics so you can judge their performance and course correct whenever it’s needed (such as in the reduced leads example above).

The 2 Solutions

The solutions are fairly straightforward:

  1. Old School Solution: Make a list of key metrics within each system you’re using and have someone login daily or weekly and post the results to a spreadsheet. Do this and you’ll be ahead of 90% of your competitors.
  2. New School Solution (Automate it): Employ an online dashboard solution that connects, via API, with each of your systems, and automatically runs all your metrics, reports and graphs in real-time for you so you always know what’s going on. Do this and you’ll be ahead of 99.9% of your competitors.

Knowing the key metrics in your business and acting on them is a simple and proven formula to grow sales and profits. Unfortunately, the proliferation of systems has made doing so more difficult. The good news is that your competitors are probably too lazy to get them; so when your company does track its metrics, you gain competitive advantage.

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