The idea of hockey stick growth, popularized by startups, is that users, visitors and revenue grow at a normal rate and then boom. The inflection point. Once they reach this stage, growth takes off exponentially in the shape of a hockey stick. While this style of growth is aspirational, there are certain insights you can collect from your data to get from blade to stick. If your company is in the “blade” stage, experiencing flat growth, look to these insights to make sure this stage doesn’t last very long. It’s important to make needed adjustments to the product, positioning, messaging, and user acquisition strategies during this phase.
The catalyst for success may be in the data.
Every manager and business owner – especially in startups – is constantly looking for the magic bullet that will transform the company into a blockbuster success (no, not this Blockbuster). They look for any little change that will take their business from average performance to superstardom, with exponential growth in popularity and profit. The truth is, this type of explosive success is hard to come by and even harder to manufacture. To have the best chance of making the stars align for your business, you need leaders with the right type of insight about what’s happening within the company. The raw materials for success are all in the data.
It takes serious analysis of the data behind your sales and marketing operation, at the individual and team level, to make the right decisions for a company’s growth. Here are four types of intelligence, all important to sparking growth, that you can find right in your CRM.
1. Sales funnel analysis
There are many ways to measure the health of a business, and one is to examine its sales funnel. Not only does this include a snapshot of the current state of affairs in your sales operations, but it is a factor in making long-term predictions about where business will go.
The sales funnel shows how many of your contacts move into each stage of the sales process. Every business has its own particular steps on the road to a sale, but most go something along the lines of prospecting, qualified, quote, closure, and won or lost. With a CRM, you can look at how many of the entire company’s leads move through each stage, or you can look at the performance of individual reps.
The insights of a sales funnel analysis are golden for a sales manager because they show the weak links in your process. If your company is regularly losing potential customers at the quote stage, then you can dive deeper into how your reps are presenting prices and make improvements in the process. Take action based on your findings and get a higher percentage of customers into that won category. Identifying, then eliminating those weak links in the routine mean that your team will start posting better and better numbers. Your company as a whole will, too.
2. Forecast the future
Another important feature of the sales funnel analysis is to give you a bit of clairvoyance. Accurate data from the funnel can help you to predict what the quarter’s sales figures will be. They’ll see how many prospecting leads wind up as closed deals over the past week, month or year. Observing the trends of your sales funnel over time will help you preempt a hit from slow seasons and prepare for months of heavy volume.
Seeing those trends mean you can extrapolate a general look at the future. Plus, these predictions are helpful for executives who need to instill confidence in investors or shareholders. Everyone in your company can benefit from having better insights about where your company is now and where it’s going.
3. Play on strengths – or build the team to get you there
Even the most well-rounded teams have areas where they struggle and areas where they excel. You need to know how all of your team members work best in order to make smart personnel decisions and squeeze the best performance possible out of your crew. While an in-person meeting with your team might help reveal some of these strengths and weaknesses, a more accurate assessment comes from data.
For your sales team for example, put each person’s performance under a microscope with your CRM. Sitting with a calculator and a spreadsheet crunching figures isn’t the best use of your time. Not every CRM will have the capability to really give you this level of insight about your sales performance, so be sure that you have a tool that will automatically create these essential reports. A CRM should work for you, not against you.One rep may have great success with leads who come as referrals, while another might be best with cold calling prospects. Use the reports to learn about their work, then you can assign contacts to the rep with the best chance for closing. And at the same time, you can work to train them up and improve their skills with other areas. Set goals for your marketing team that are attainable but will take some growth-hacking to achieve.
If you have the right data and the right reports at your fingertips, you’ve set the groundwork for growth for your company. Even if you don’t get the ideal hockey stick growth, you’ll be taking your company in the right direction.
There are many other metrics that companies should use to position themselves for growth. Please share your experience and recommendations in the comments section.