There’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has hit the economy hard. Many business owners are unsure of where to turn to for help in a situation like this, and what may happen next. Are you a non-essential business and had to temporarily shut your doors? Were you able to switch to digital revenue and keep up with the demand of online shoppers? Are you up to date with your numbers from the last three months, and have an idea of how to move forward?
It’s easy to let something as powerful as a global pandemic overrule your business goals, but it shouldn’t stop you from strategically planning for the future and finding a way to overcome the challenges and impacts that so many business owners will now have to tackle.
To help you kickstart that process and to get your business back up and running, here are five things you should be monitoring post lockdown and the questions you should be asking.
How have your day sales been affected?
With the recent shift in business norms, spending habits have changed dramatically. Some of your customers will have been busier than ever, and others might not have traded at all. But with a powerful sales enablement tool, you’re able to identify how many products have sold and establish which customers haven’t contributed to that revenue. From there, you can use this information to make strategic and smart business decisions which will shed light on the reasons behind the sales affected.
For example, in sales-i, you can take advantage of either Enquiries with Sales Vs. Gaps, or Variance with different date filters. These two methods will answer different questions, but both will analyse how your sales have been affected. In Sales Vs. Gaps, you want to filter your customers and look out for any zeros, as this indicates no sales have been made from this company in any of these months. The more you drill into it, the more information you get, such as the exact products and categories that they once purchased from you.
In Variance, you can easily identify any pattern changes by selecting specific dates to compare; whether that’s month on month, year on year, or within the past three months, which may be more suitable for businesses post lockdown. With this feature, you’ll be able to see where you’ve had fall in spend between a certain period.
What product lines are now selling?
When returning back to the office, you’ll want to monitor what product lines your customers are currently purchasing n. Is it a seasonal item that is typically more popular at this time of year, or is there a natural change in spend as customers move forward with the new times, or is it related to COVID?
With this information to hand, you can focus your energy and attention in pushing these sales further to other customers or identifying cross-sell opportunities within that category. Maybe your highest selling product line is currently a lawn mower, but you also sell garden rakes, jet washers and hedge trimmers that you can offer with a seasonal promotion.
To clearly identify which product lines are now selling, Full Picture in sales-i will automatically give you a list of highest selling categories by sales value first, which you can then drill down into further by product groups. With this list, you now have access to the number of items sold for each account and exactly what these products are.
What is the average order value?
Like most businesses, you’ll be aiming to increase your order value per account, as each order has additional costs attached such as transport and packaging, which takes away from your bottom line. But, to increase that percentage, you need to know exactly what customers are purchasing what products and how frequently. However, taking the time to investigate your numbers and calculate the average order value can be a very slow, tedious and inefficient way of working.
To add to this, you’ll also need to drill down even further to investigate the products within the order value percentage, as sometimes a customer can spend the same amount but on a new list of products. For example, if a customer typically spends $4,500 on a set order and has done since switching to your products in 2018, and then suddenly they’re spending $4,500 but on an entirely new list of orders, their average order value will still remain the same, but the products purchased are different – if you neglect to investigate this further, you could miss out on potential sales and the opportunity to understand their change in spend.
To find out this information easily and within a few clicks, the Variance feature within sales-i will be the most beneficial tool, as it quickly pulls all data into one actionable list. With Variance, you can filter by either customer (to see which accounts are decreasing or increasing in average order value) or products (to see which items are being bought more frequently or not). From here, you can instantly identify any trend changes and quickly act upon it.
When did you last speak to your customers?
After time away from your customers, it’s now more important than ever to nurture those relationships and check-in post lockdown. But where do you start? Maybe you kept a record of your previous conversations in a diary? Or put a note in your calendar to call back in four weeks but that alert is already eight weeks out of date?
Speaking to your customers is obviously crucial, especially in tyring to understand the impact that the virus has had on their business and what products or services you can provide to help them through. To get started on those calls, you’ll need to prioritise the customers that you haven’t spoken to for the longest, as a lot can change within that period.
With sales-i, this task can be completed within moments, giving you all the information you need to be proactive with your day and reignite conversations. Using MyCalls, within Enquiries, quickly brings up everything about a customer, including call history notes with the exact date and time, who made the call and what was discussed. From here, you can use this as leverage to plan your next conversation and establish a connection moving forward. MyCalls will also automatically schedule your diary and plan your day so you don’t have to, prioritising those customers that need to be contacted first.
When did your customer last order?
Knowing when your customer last ordered will not only give you an insight into how your business is performing, but theirs too. If they haven’t placed an order with you for three months, they too may have had to cut costs or temporarily close their doors. Having this information to hand will make your job much easier when it comes contacting customers and trying to find new opportunities. Some industries, however, have been busier than ever – such as Jan/San and medical sectors – and have a positive change in spend, but this doesn’t mean their purchasing behavior won’t be disrupted again.
Using spreadsheets to spot a difference in the data will take even longer than usual, as you’ll need to collate the information over a three-month period and compare it to a more typically stable ordering period.
Or, for a more effective way of working, you can take advantage of Enquiries within sales-i and drill down into transaction types > invoice > simply change your date filters and head into customers to find when they last bought with you. Instantly, you’ll have a list that includes each account, the exact quantity of products, along with specific product details, the average price and the overall profit made – all within a few clicks. Now, with this insightful data, you’re able to make personalized and profitable phone calls to your customers and investigate the reasoning behind their change in spending habits. This also opens an opportunity to cross-sell or up-sell items that they haven’t previously bought from you.
Having all of these stats in front of you will help you to kickstart your business to get back up and running post lockdown. By monitoring these five things, you’re equipped with the right information, to ask the right questions, to the right person and at the right time. The coronavirus has hit entrepreneurs and small businesses hard, but we have a solution to help you get back up.
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