If you’re like most business leaders, you have lots of questions about your business. It can be challenging to keep track of everything across finance, sales, inventory and customer service. In order to establish your strategy, your goals and the expectations for your team, you need to know how each business unit is performing.
Phocas business intelligence software provides a window into your operations and gives answers to your critical questions using data generated from the various departments and systems within your company. Data contains the intelligent insights you need to make better business decisions and then measure the return on investment from your sales efforts.
Below are several questions that you are likely asking about your business. We'll explain how your data can help you find your answers. As our customers have told us, Phocas can help generate a huge return on investment across your business and help you address the questions below.
1. How many customers have stopped buying my products in the last six months? What was the value of those customers to your business?
If your average customer generates $200 profit per month, then losing 25 accounts would equate to $5,000. When looking at existing Phocas customers, our experience shows that approximately 38% of customers that spent money with them last year are spending less this year. If your turnover is $20m based on 600 customers, then 228 customers have either changed their own business offering, or you are losing market share to competitors. Most customers freely admit to having at least three main suppliers. If your percentage of their spend is now dropping, it’s important to take measures to protect your current business, and then expand upon it.
2. If the reason your customer has left was due to poor stock availability, then how do you improve your Stock levels?
If you were losing orders due to non-availability of products, then understanding what “specials” should be promoted to “core products” could have generated that extra $5,000.
If customers left due to pricing or service levels, then spotting gradual drops in spend would have highlighted their dissatisfaction. Most Phocas’ customers say that their customers rarely just stop buying. They tend to test competitors first and then gradually transfer their orders from one supplier to another. Early warnings of drops in spend would allow you to remedy the situation in many cases. Even if you only “rescue” 20 percent of those 25 accounts, that would equate to $12,000 profit per year.
3. Do your sales people plan their visits around threats, opportunities or visit cycles?
If your sales team managed to sell or promote products that each of the customers they visit could buy, they should be able to add to overall profits, improve customer retention and reduce the likelihood of your customers purchasing a complementary product from the competition. If you can use data to increase the number of products on your shelves to represent what each customer needs, you can reduce stockholding (£/$), fulfill more orders and find cross-selling or up-selling opportunities to sell to your customers.
4. If you are in a position to source products from several suppliers, do you look attheir fulfillment rates to you and the levels of profitability you make on each of your suppliers?
Using your own data, you could easily demonstrate to suppliers where an uplift in sales would occur which may give you bargaining power to ask for cost reductions. As you increase your order value from your key suppliers, you will have the leverage to negotiate better purchasing terms.
5. How much time do you spend pulling together and analyzing data?
Do you spend on average two days per month analyzing and pulling data together in order to guide the business? It’s possible that others assisting you spend even longer compiling the information. Even when the data is collected, there is a good chance your team also spends time prepping for customer or supplier visits. If the data is too complex, they may avoid this exercise all together.
If you could reduce reporting time from two days per week (for example) and deliver targeted information every day to all of those in the business that need it, on their device of choice, you could save tens of thousands in time savings alone.
Keeping Data at the Heart of Your Business
Too often, there is not enough consideration given to data aggregation and analysis, when it should be at the heart of any business planning and decision-making processes. Whether it’s optimizing regional sales, pushing complementary products to your best customers, tracking just-in-time inventory or optimizing marketing programs, data can be the catalyst to ensure you get the biggest return on your investment of time, effort and dollar.
The answers can be found in the volumes of data you are creating but being able to find actionable insights can be challenging. For hundreds of companies around the world, Phocas serves as a single source of truth, located at the heart of their businesses, pulling data from multiple locations and systems to ensure their teams have actionable intelligence to make the most effective and profitable decisions.