Thursday, February 6, 2020

Crush Your Competition with Great Data

Last week we discussed ways to help your showroom add pop and sizzle to captivate and delight your customers. Now let’s now dig into collecting the best data possible to give vendors and showrooms insight into what is working in your business, what is not working and what steps will improve your business.

I suggest building this model from the distributor’s showroom perspective. The showrooms offer a more micro-client focus, allowing all a deeper dive into the market and a better understanding of its potential. The first step is to build out your Enterprise Resource Planning program (ERP) sales data collection system to gain a better understanding of the viability of your product mix, customers, vendors and target customers and markets.

Look at your computer system’s data entry matrix for your customer relationship management (CRM), accounts receivable and payable, purchasing and shipping and receiving departments and note what additional data topics you would like to add. This is the time to dream big as it is easier to remove than add a topic. Before you finalize your data capture matrix, think of problems you dream of solving and opportunities you would love to capture. Then ask yourself, what data do I need to win these battles?

Now for the fun part - all of this data must be seamlessly linked to all of your businesses databases. The sales data must interface with the marketing data (CRM), the purchasing, shipping and receiving data and the accounts payable and receivable data. All these data silos must be able to seamlessly talk to each other to offer you the best possible understanding of your customers, vendors, your teams and your target markets.

This is the dream package and if you are not collecting this depth of data that is easily shared across all your company’s platforms today, I suggest you start planning a way to collect this information as soon as you are able. This information will be the foundation of your business decisions and a necessity in five years when AI is the foundational platform of yours and your competitor’s computer programs.

All of this data is available from your vendors, your team and in your mind. If it is an abstract topic, set your company guidelines and add the information per your team’s definition. This is primarily information from and for your business. Get with your team, hash it out, set parameters, define the terms and get to it. It is not important that people outside your business understand this, these classifications are for your own business analysis. It only matters that you and your team know what they stand for and how they are defined.

Once you have this data, it may be filtered, sorted and broken down in countless ways to give you powerful insight into your business. Today, data of this variety and quality can be manipulated by Excel or an off the shelf SQL database and, very soon, be the foundation for your machine learning to power your Artificial Intelligence helper.

It is important that distributor showrooms and vendors work closely together on this. Data updates such as pricing, individual delivery times and order acknowledgements and updates must be able to easily be uploaded into these dynamic databases. Showrooms must also share their sales data with their key vendors. The showroom can remove the company names and their private CRM info, but the overall data should be shared. This is not the time for hiding and hoping. It is time to build true relationships focused on customer service and generating quality margins.

The more comprehensive the data you are collecting is, the better you will be able to understand what is working well, what can be improved, and enhance your strategic planning for your company's future. Remember, no matter how powerful the tech, the applicability and insight of its output is directly dependent on the quality and depth of the data collected and the focused vision of the questions it is asked to answer.

As you ponder how to start setting up your systems to collect this data noted below, next week we will suggest ways to work with your current ERP data now to offer more insight into your customers and to improving your customers experience.

Here is an example of information that should be looked at in order to collect the best data to crush your competition:

      Customer type:
      Job Name
      Showroom salesperson
      Invoice date
      Invoice #
      Job Information
      Zip code (always keep separate)
      Product number
      Product Class:
      Bathroom fixture
      Bathroom accessories
      Kitchen fixture
      Kitchen accessory
      Door hardware
      Door hardware accessory
      Cabinet hardware
      Product function
      Lavatory Faucet:
      3 hole
      2 hole
      Single hole
      Tub Set
      Series Name
      Price each
      Net price each
      Total price paid
      Total net price
      Trade job influencers listed by type:
      Job miscellaneous notes

      Whatever else you deem important

No comments:

Post a Comment