- August 8, 2018
- Posted by: Lloyd Skinner
- Category: Business Planning
Interpret your numbers to get results.
Whether you are focusing on business development, business planning or project management, it’s all about your numbers.
Numbers alone do not get you results of course: once you have the right numbers, it is how these numbers are interpreted, learnt from and put into action, that produces results. It is all about turning numbers into intelligence to aid better decision making in your business for development, planning and management.
I’ve been running Greyfly now for nearly 2 years and with all of our clients one of our first activities is to establish budgets and a forecasting process. This is because “it’s all about your numbers”.
No matter which industry sector you are in, your product and service portfolio, or the size and ambition of your business, accurate numbers enable you to make more effective business development decisions, flag early warnings of future challenges, help you become more efficient and effective and potentially open growth opportunities.
Numbers can highlight to you the trends that are most popular in your industry, and they can also communicate the results of businesses that implement these trends. You are also able to analyse the success of your own implementation of these trends.
It is important that you keep up with current trends to remain a strong competitor in your market place and maximise business development opportunities. For instance, businesses that keep up to date with the latest technology trends can increase their exposure to customers (Maruti Techlabs, 2018) and thereby remain at the leading edge of their industry.
Social media is also a major trend across all sectors of industry: over half of B2B buyers state that a B2B seller’s social media had an impact on whether they followed through with their purchase (Kanekar, 2018). According to Kanekar, LinkedIn is the most popular social media platform in the B2B world.
The vast majority of B2B companies adopt Content marketing (Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, 2018). Content marketing helps potential B2B partners build trust by aiding their decision-making process. Content marketing plans help you produce better results: “62% of content marketers who document their content marketing strategy outperform 16% of those who do not” (Kanekar, 2018).
Listening to, assessing and acting upon the data trends available in your market aid effective and timely decision making in your business.
Digital marketing and particularly social networking, is a great example of where numbers can be used to fine tune business activities, saving resources and maximising the effectiveness of messages, marketing and communication.
Twitter analytics for example, can be used to make sense of your numbers. The “Tweet activity dashboard” can show you the number of impressions, how many people have responded, the number of likes and retweets (Twitter Inc., 2016). The “Audience insight dashboard” helps you understand who the people are and what they are interested in (Twitter Inc., 2016). Twitter can be utilised by B2B businesses to produce results: “Twitter is an effective platform for 55% of B2B marketers” (Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, 2016).
By monitoring and responding quickly to the numbers in your social media performance you allow your marketing and communications activities to continuously improve for maximum impact.
Numbers aren’t just about your financials or how well your web site is doing, they can also provide a clear indication of the status of your workload and where actions need to be prioritised, to aid your project management.
Everyone is busy and everyone complains about never finding enough time to complete everything, so numbers can provide a clear prioritisation of where and how best to spend your valuable resources. Are their trends that are hidden within your numbers? Do you regularly deliver to time, cost and quality? Only by measuring these factors will you understand where improvements are required.
In business development, understanding your numbers has never been more important to grow your business.
Knowing where all your opportunities lie, their status in the sales pipeline, which channels work the most productivity, how long is the typical stage, all allows you to focus on the priority business development activities to enable opportunities through the pipeline. Opportunities for new business are not all the same. Some opportunities may appear to be of high importance but these might be simply short-term gain. Sometimes business development opportunities with lower numbers in the short term, can yield better returns in the longer term. This Customer Lifetime Value provides the importance of a customer in the longer term.
Within project management it is imperative understand the status of your internal projects and treat them with the same level of professionalism as you would to a customer project.
When you explore budgets and forecasts, it is easy to get swept along by sales and revenue. However, in the longer term you can become more profitable as a business by creating a programme of value based internal projects that provide cost and efficiency savings as well as further growth opportunities. These savings and growth opportunities can translate into profit. Internal project management can focus on efficiency savings that may include all areas of the business, your systems and your processes.
As you can see, it really is all about the numbers, and those numbers to create your intelligence system. There are obvious numbers inside your business, like sales value and volume, costs and profitability calculations. There are also less obvious numbers hidden under stones but we can help you to turn over these stones and together see if we can unlock the hidden potential for growth and improved efficiencies across your business.