Did you know that companies that are actively using big data show 50% higher revenue growth rates than those that are not? Despite this, many companies still rely on gut feel or inaccurate information to steer business direction.
In the automotive industry alone, most companies cannot even access sales performance in real-time, much less utilize customer trends or forecasting models. With the majority of dealerships still operating out of Excel or 1990’s software, it’s easy to see why capitalizing on big data is not at the top of their priority list.
However, heading into 2017… it should be. As data-driven strategies take hold, they will become an increasingly important point of competitive differentiation. The front runners in the market will be those who understand the data-driven behaviors and interests of their customers, leads & prospects, as opposed to those who continue to operate blindly.
So where do companies begin to build a data-driven company?
Start by simply gathering KPI data. You manage what you measure, so making sure everyone across the organization has the right tools in place to uphold the value of sales data is the first step. If there are metrics that are important to the business, they should be captured, tracked & available in real-time; this way, leaders & managers can move the needle for numbers before it’s too late.
Centralize all sources
Step two: combining & comparing all data sources.
In automotive, this can be tricky due to the fragmented, non-digitalized infrastructure of the retail dealer network. Within a brand, there can be hundreds, if not thousands, of data streams & APIs. However, a few players on the market (like us) are developing systems to change this.
“To ensure data is recent and relevant, data-driven cultures need to gather and organize information from across the organization in real-time. Centralizing data allows for constant updates, keeping data fresh and up-to-date throughout the business.” -Forbes
The ability to compare data from a top-down approach – across markets, dealerships & customers – will allow companies to track changes in customer behaviors, foresee emerging supply chain threats & act on subtle shifts in output.
After trends have been identified and measured, implement company-wide performance benchmarks based on best performing markets. Target setting, lead management metrics (enquiry to follow up time, lost lead reason analysis, lead capture by channel), test drive ratios, sales funnel analysis, and order intake-to-delivery ratios are just a few of the benchmarks we’re tracking across hundreds of dealerships today.
“Performance improvements and competitive advantage arise not from the data itself, but from analytics that allow managers to predict and optimize outcomes.” -McKinsey
Use analytics and hypothesis-led models to validate business strategies and proactively make changes. On market level, this means focusing attention where its needed most; i.e. sharpening marketing spend, automating operations, or optimizing risk management across the board.
On dealer level, affect sales performance and customer relationships daily, rather than retrospectively.
Get Everyone On Board
Shifting from an intuition-driven approach to an objective, data-driven culture can be a challenge. However, once face-to-face with the facts, it will be hard to turn away from the data’s proof.
“If you can give people the access to the information they want in the way they want it in real time, you find that the level of trust begins to grow exponentially.” -Cheyne Capital
In the beginning, offer proper training from expert consultants, and incentivize teams to uncover new insights. Once managers and sales consultants are able to view live performance, plan for end of month, and act boldly on insights in real-time – the data will sell itself.