This is a guest post from Kelsey Rosauer, the Marketing Brand Specialist for AgencyBloc, an agency management system designed specifically for life and health insurance agencies. AgencyBloc helps agencies grow their business by organizing and automating operations using a combination of an industry-specific CRM, commissions processing, and integrated marketing automation.
I decided to buy a Fitbit last summer, partly because everyone else had one and partly because I wanted to know how truly active I was.
After I graduated college, I moved to my current cushy desk job. I knew I wasn’t walking as much as I used to, but I still considered myself “in shape.” I workout on a regular basis and eat healthy (unless there are cookies in the break room).
While setting up my Fitbit, the device told me I should be taking 10,000 steps a day. By the end of day one, I only had 3,000 to 4,000 steps. What?! I couldn’t believe it. How was I supposed to get to 10,000 steps and maintain that level every day?
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing I love more than sitting in front of a computer and designing or writing. But until I got my Fitbit to track my steps, I had been guessing about my fitness — guessing completely wrong. So I took that knowledge and started walking my dog during my lunch break or walking at night with my family. Before I knew it, I was back on track.
Are you guessing about your business health?
Apply this situation to your business. If you aren’t consistently tracking all aspects of your business, you’re guessing. It’s that simple. And you could be guessing incorrectly, just as I was.
Luckily, there’s a solution. Using a CRM (customer relationship management) system is a fundamental part of running any business — big or small — and the best CRMs come with integrated, real-time analytics and reporting tools.
Real-time analytics in your CRM can track things like buying stage (leads, prospects, clients, etc.), open opportunities, and revenue, and deliver that information to you graphically. Depending on your industry, the information or metrics that you track will vary. They can even vary between businesses in the same industry (which is why the ability to build custom fields and reports is also important).
That said, there are several metrics that sales and marketing leaders should track with CRM reporting, regardless of industry:
- Net profit, year-over-year
- Top performers (sales reps, for example)
- Top lead sources
- Email marketing metrics (open rate, click-through rate, etc.)
- Best-selling products
Though there are plenty more metrics you’ll want to track, these five will give you quick insight into the health of your business.
Why does visual CRM reporting make a difference?
As I explained with my Fitbit scenario, if you aren’t monitoring the metrics that matter to you on a daily — or at least weekly — basis, you’re guessing about the health of your business. If you’re making critical decisions based on those guesses, you better hope you’re guessing correctly.
Real-time visual reports are one of the best ways to keep track of important metrics and quickly identify patterns.Blue Hill Research describes how the human brain processes visual information: “Our brains, while inherently inferior to computers in the realm of computation, are comparatively phenomenal at pattern recognition. Additionally, they are hard-wired to respond to visual inputs. While we may not be able to look at a string of numbers and intuitively know the standard deviation of a sample, we are very good at picking up patterns from visual displays such as a scatter plot.”
As a decision-maker for your business, identifying patterns can help you prevent a large problem before it occurs and support business decisions with empirical data.
Which metrics will give you insight into growth?
Again, this will vary across industries, but you’ll want to keep a close eye on any metrics that affect operational efficiency and your core business model.
A large insurance agency that employs thousands of agents, for example, would want to continually monitor real-time graphs for top products sold by carrier and coverage type, top performing agents based on commissions, and other commissions data.
An automobile manufacturer would probably look for real-time graphs showing what models sell the most, how new models are performing, and what regions they sell best in.
Why are real-time graphs so important? Because as decision-makers, you need this kind of information at your fingertips so you can make informed decisions to maintain and improve the health of your business. Exporting data from your CRM and manually creating graphs takes time, and third-party data visualization software can be expensive. The best option is to purchase a CRM with data visualization tools already built-in.
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I’ve been using my Fitbit now for about a year. The amount of data I have about my activity and nutrition is incredible. I’ve made decisions and changed my behavior based on my new insight, and I continue to grow in my fitness journey by monitoring how different variables affect my health.
This is exactly what a CRM can do for the health of your business. If you don’t know where you currently are and where you’re headed, how can you make the right decisions to grow your business? Stop guessing, and start using a CRM with built-in data visualization.