Anyone who has ever managed other managers – particularly sales or regional managers – will understand how difficult it can be to set Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) as both a part of the Performance Appraisal process and as a part of trying to achieve your sales and financial results objectives. For example, you launch a new product or service that you estimate will lift the financial result by ten per cent, even after a two per cent leakage from one of the existing products or services.
Setting KPI’s for individual staff to achieve this growth could be anything from pure guesswork through to a lengthy mathematical calculation process – especially if you may have varying results by location when affected by differing social and economic demographics, competitor activity, length of time in that market, etc.
Likewise, just working through individual monthly reports from your sales team can be a nightmare – particularly when there is a large number of creative responses justifying why the sales targets have not been achieved.
In addition, you may have anything from no idea, to a gut feel, to extensive knowledge about your Web site traffic. I am talking about things like:
• Where your traffic is coming from.
• What visitors do when visiting your site.
• How many visitors actually end up making a purchase.
• How many visitors abandon the site without making a purchase.
Imagine what decisions – and results – your business could achieve if you had quick, accurate, measurable data that answered those last four bullet points.
Three things that I have always had drummed into me in management are:
• Manage with facts.
• Information is power.
• Hope is not a strategy.
Analytics allows any business to have all that information so that operational and strategic management decisions can be made using real data, the ability to set realistic and achievable KPI’s – and measure the results on demand, without waiting for monthly sales reports. In fact, why not do away with the sales team writing reports? They hate doing them; it takes a huge amount of their time better spent in the field; you can access the data on demand and instead tailor a specific ‘please explain’ to necessary staff needing follow-up.
For anyone unfamiliar with Analytics, the following is an overview of how it works, why you should be using it and what it can do for you and your business.
The primary goal is to make improvements to your promotional initiatives and Web site design – how people find your site, how easy it is for them to navigate the site, how visitors turn into paying customers and repeat visitors.
You need to be using Analytics already if you:
• Generate revenue from your Web site.
• Have high traffic counts but low conversion rates.
• Are spending on search campaigns through search engines like Google, Yahoo, etc.
• Are planning on redesigning your Web site.
• Engage in e-mail marketing.
• Use link building campaigns and link exchanges.
• It can identify the site referrer, or referring page of where your traffic is coming from – allowing you to foster relationships accordingly, such as possible strategic alliance opportunities. It can also segment date/time stats – so that you can identify peaks and troughs in traffic flow.
• You can streamline your product list – or content list – if there is a low browse-to-buy ratio.
• Marketing campaigns can be monitored for effectiveness and cut off, revamped, etc.
• Cross-selling opportunities can be identified.
• You can analyse your visitor clickstreams – so that your Web site hierarchy can be changed if necessary to increase conversation rates.
• Visitor groups can be analysed to determine their likelihood of becoming customers, subscribers or members.
• The overall impact of on-line sales can be compared against other sales channels used by your business.
From what we have covered in this blog you can see that any business with a Web site really needs to be using Web Analytics because of the vast amount of high quality data it can provide on demand. The benefits to a business are immense and having the ability to benchmark then monitor your results plays a pivotal role in the ongoing operational and strategic management decision making process.
It should also reinforce to all businesses the importance of keeping your Web site current and fresh on a constant basis and use the appropriate Analytics tools for your business needs – rather than collecting every imaginable piece of data and getting bogged down in understanding what it all means.