If you are in business, you also are in sales and marketing – it’s an unavoidable combination (if you want to stay in business, that is). And being in business and in sales and marketing means that you also need to be paying attention to certain analytics for your sales and marketing.
“Analytics” is a word that scares many people off, but it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive to define and understand certain key marketing and sales analytics for your business.
And paying attention to these analytics can help your business rise above the rest.
Here are nine things you should be analyzing in your business marketing and sales to stay at the top of your game:
- Unmet Needs
Understanding your customer’s needs is the holy grail of marketing, and meeting those needs is the purpose of sales. Unmet-need analytics is the process of uncovering whether there are any unmet customer needs around your product or service, or within your market, that you could meet to increase customer satisfaction and revenue.
Usefully, many of the tools for unmet-need analytics are completely free or relatively inexpensive. These include product reviews, qualitative surveys, focus groups, and interviews. You also could use tools like Google Trends to help identify what customers are searching for.
In fact, it is now very fast and inexpensive to ask your customers questions online. Create forums and online focus groups, or invite customers to like your Facebook page and join a feedback group. Offering a small incentive for feedback can help boost engagement.
- Market Size
If you don’t understand the size and potential of your market, you can easily end up making assumptions about how viable your business proposition is.
Market size analytics is the process of discovering how large the market is for your products and services, and whether there is sufficient growth potential. The size of the market is measured in terms of volume (how many units sold), value (money spent in that market), or frequency (how often a product or service is sold). You can analyze government data, trade association data, financial data from competitors, and customer surveys to determine this information.
A key assumption to avoid: Just because a market is large doesn’t mean it’s profitable. The most common example of this is when many customers already own a product and aren’t likely to purchase another.
- Demand Forecasting
Like market size, understanding demand is essential if you hope to remain competitive. Demand forecasting is an area of predictive analytics that estimates the quantity of a particular product or service your consumers are likely to buy. Predictive analytics goes beyond educated guesses and uses historical sales data or current data from test markets in order to make statistically accurate predictions about future sales. Be sure to note that the data you use for demand forecasting must be clean and accurate. Poor quality data can skew the results and could lead you down the wrong path.
- Market Trends
Every business needs to know the direction in which its market is heading. Market trend analytics is a way of establishing whether a market is growing, stagnant, or in decline, and how fast that movement is occurring.
Understanding market size is important, but knowing whether that market is trending up or down is also vital. To monitor market trends, you can run business experiments or scenario analyses to predict how it would impact your business to be in a growing, stagnating, or a declining market. Customer surveys and focus groups also can help.
In addition, stay mindful of the external changes that could affect your market environment, such as changes to legislation or social expectations.
- Non-customer Analytics
Traditionally, you have heard that you need to understand your customers so that you can find more people like them. And while that makes sense, there’s another group that could be even more important – the non-customer!
Non-customer analytics is about identifying who is not buying from you – and why, so that you can expand your market to include those individuals.
If you want to know why people are not buying your product or service, the best thing to do is to ask them: interviews, questionnaires, and focus groups can help. Leverage the power of social media to find and engage with people who are not yet customers.
Your business does not exist in a vacuum, but many business owners act as though their business does. Competitor analytics is about identifying who your real competitors are and how they are positioned in the market and in relation to your business. This information can and should inform your marketing and strategic planning.
Understanding your competition’s strengths and weaknesses helps you identify opportunities to exploit and threats to navigate. There are many ways of gathering competitor data, including business journals and newspapers, annual reports, product brochures, and marketing activity.
Of course, the only way to use competitor analytics is to do it! Sadly, most businesses don’t.
What if you knew exactly how much your customers would pay for your product ahead of time? Would that improve your sales and marketing techniques?
Pricing analytics involves analyzing price sensitivity in different market segments and is especially useful in highly competitive markets. Pricing analytics requires data mining and the development of forecasting models and algorithms. It also often involves multiple, concurrent business experiments that can be run quickly and easily so you can measure what is likely to happen with each price change.
The results give you concrete information about how your market is likely to react to a price change, to help you drive revenue. Of course, if you use pricing analytics to improve revenue, make sure you improve the value you add to customers who are paying a little more.
- Marketing And Sales Channels
There are literally hundreds of possible channels and ways to market and sell your products and services, and often the inclination is to try to be everywhere at once. But not every channel is going to be effective and profitable for your business. Marketing and sales channel analytics assesses the different channels available and establishes which are the most effective.
You probably will reach different segments of your market through different channels, but is it important to know which channels are working and which are less effective. For each of your current marketing and sales channels – and any potential channels – you can set conversion-rate goals defining what you want that channel to deliver and then track your ROI over time. Marketing and sales channel analytics are much easier online, where there are many free and paid tools designed specifically to track them. Online channels are digital and, often, the analytics are built into the marketing and sales platforms.
Brands matter, no matter how large or small your company. And brand analytics is the process of determining the strength of your brand compared to those of your competitors.
Your brand is more than just your logo. It’s the look and feel of your products and what they represent to your customers, as well as every customer touchpoint and interaction. It’s vital to really understand how customers perceive your brand at every stage of the sales process, as this can impact your decision making and strategic direction.
Look to source this sort of data anywhere your customers and potential customers are discussing your brand, including customer service conversations, sales conversations, online forums, blogs, review sites, and social media.
Thankfully, the Internet is a rich source of information about how people feel about your brand and your business. People love to share, so tap into this rich vein of information through active social listening.
As you can see, most of these sales and marketing analytics need not involve a data scientist or full-time analyst. Instead, what they really require is a company culture that is eager to listen and learn, and processes and structures in place to help team members make the most of the information they gather.
Bernard Marr is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, strategic performance consultant, and analytics, KPI, and big data guru. In addition, he is a member of the Data Informed Board of Advisers. He helps companies to better manage, measure, report, and analyze performance. His leading-edge work with major companies, organizations, and governments across the globe makes him an acclaimed and award-winning keynote speaker, researcher, consultant, and teacher.
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