Grow Sales: Using Data to Grow Your Sales
In order to grow your sales and generate the best return on investment (ROI) you need to be able to review all the data around your sales processes. Do you know where each of your leads comes from and how many leads convert from each of those lead sources? Do you know how long your response times are?
We are going to look at how you can capture this data and look at the questions you need to ask to come to the right conclusions – what is your worst performing lead source could become your most effective with some tweaks. Equally your worst lead source by volume could be your best lead source by average fee achieved.
When you are making decisions on where you should invest your marketing spend or time you need to know which lead sources are working most effectively for you. The data you need first is:
- The number of leads from each lead source
- The number of instructions from each lead source
- The conversion rate from each lead source (instructions / total leads from lead source)*100
- The cost of acquiring these leads
It is impossible to make effective decisions without data. We are emotional beings and swayed by our own personal preferences. We recall information that supports our beliefs – this is called a confirmation bias.
Surprisingly the stats can often show a different story to the narrative we created for ourselves.
For example, a baker loves eating blueberry muffins in the afternoon and feels like they sell a lot of them because others must think the same as them. So, they make sure they have lots of blueberry muffins ready. If they’d checked the sales data they’d realise they actually sell lots of cookies and very few muffins. The result – wasted muffins and missed cookie sales.
Making Use of Data
However, wait one second. Data alone can lead you to false conclusions. Or at least it only shows the facts based on your current processes and how you record your data. You need to make sure you analyse the facts behind why the stats. For example, focusing on just the number of leads received would be a mistake. Diving deeper may show that actually very few of these leads convert. This would make this a poor lead source versus a source that provides half the leads and the same number of jobs.
But again it is too soon to draw conclusions. Without doing any further research you’d be best off switching your marketing spend or time into the highest converting lead sources. But what if the success of a poorly performing lead source could be dramatically changed? Statistics should create further questions to answer before a firm decision is made.
Why? We need to understand causation and not just rely on correlation in data. Correlation does not mean two things are related – there could be other factors at play. Drinking tea increases diabetes by 50%, and baldness raises the cardiovascular disease risk up to 70%! Did we forget to mention the amount of sugar put in the tea, or the fact that baldness and old age are related – just like cardiovascular disease risks and old age?
Back to our leads, let’s take a look at a poorly performing but good source of leads. The question is why is it performing badly? You respond to leads from each source in the same way and they are given the same information before they reach you. Here are some factors to consider:
- Are you competing against different surveyors?
- Are they lower on price?
- Do they have a clearer value proposition?
- Do others respond to those leads faster?
- Are customers visiting that lead source earlier in the home buying process? If so, do you have processes to make contact at a later, more appropriate time?
- If leads are referrals, are they being sent by referrers who are being told to hit referral targets or are they explaining the process to their customers
How often should you review data?
This depends on your business but we’d suggest monthly is appropriate, quarterly could also work. Variations can happen too easily each week that could lead to false decisions (a lead source that might perform well the first week may not be as good as others over the long-term).
Monthly reporting allows you to see more general trends of how your business is performing and allows you to make better decisions. But it is important not to review data too little. The marketplace is a changing landscape. Some firms will enter, some will leave. Each will look to entice customers in different ways. To stay competitive you need to ensure your proposition – how you show your value to customers – remains clear.
Make sure you are collecting data – you cannot make informed business decisions without it. But don’t just take data at face value. Ask questions, do further research and then make your decisions. The data is just the starting point to allow you to find answers.
Once you’ve got the data act on it. Don’t make decisions based on emotions and what you feel but on what the data says. We aren’t saying ignore your gut feelings – these are important. But you must ignore your own preferences on how things are done and focus on what your customers want.