In recent times, ‘data-driven’ has joined the likes of ‘innovative’ ‘customer focused’ and ‘socially responsible’ as one of the most admirable adjectives to describe a company. Every modern, future-facing business is focused on data. It’s only with data that decisions can truly be fool-proof, and improvements can truly be made. Therefore, the pressure to use data in our every day jobs – to drive our decisions – is stronger than ever.
If a business truly wants to become ‘data-driven’ – requiring a monumental cultural shift – data-driven habits must transcend through the managers of the company. Your managers are the critical element of change, and instrumental in creating a data-driven culture among all employees.
Here is a checklist for the Sales Manager of your dealership / business:
1. Do you manage based on ‘gut feel’ or numbers?
Managing on gut feel is akin to driving a car without a steering wheel – you’re not in control. Pointing sales consultants where to focus or shifting team strategy should never be executed without numbers to support. Yes, you may have experience in the business and yes, you may know your customers, but data shows glaring business gaps most always missed by the human eye. Did you realise that Sales were down mid-month because your test drive conversion ratio was lower than average? This is just one of many examples where non data-driven managers miss key opportunities that impact the bottom line.
2. Do you know, and discuss, the ‘why’ behind the numbers?
A good, data-driven manager takes time to learn and discuss the ‘why’ behind the numbers. So, targets fell short last month? Instead of an excuse of “demand was slow, let’s work harder this month,” a data-driven manager would learn that there weren’t enough Leads in the pipeline to ever convert to Sales, based on the dealer’s average conversion ratios. From this learning, he would increase marketing budget to bring in more leads, while implementing ‘fast, next action’ response times from his sales consultants to ensure every Lead is followed up in a timely manner. This example is a key difference between a good manager and a great one.
3. Do you invest time into coaching your sales consultants?
While much of the discussion around data focuses on technology and the important role it plays, it is really the human side of the equation that will make the biggest difference for your dealership in the long run. After implementing an analytics-driven Sales & Lead Management System, it’s how sales consultants and dealership employees use the software to foster critical thinking that will invoke change. A true data-driven sales manager will use daily targets & results – broken down by sales consultant – to help his team improve. A sales consultant should be able to quickly look at his own dashboard and understand that he’s behind because his prospect conversion ratio is too low, or his number of lost leads is too high. As a sales manager, we must coach our sales consultants to success; enable them to analyse current standings quickly, and change course accordingly.
4. Are 1-1 meetings driven by the numbers?
It’s easy for any manager to conduct a 1-1 performance meeting with his sales consultant and point out glaringly obvious issues such as, ‘you’ve missed target for the 2nd month in a row’. A meeting without reason analysis or key drivers of those targets is void of a solution. A data-driven manager would be able to pinpoint where the sales consultant went wrong in order to improve on KPI’s for next month. Did the majority of his Lost Prospects go onto buy a new car at another dealership, due to misinformation & lack of expertise? Did he forget to action follow ups for key Hot Prospects, that indicated they were ready to buy? Did he schedule 50% less test drives than his more successful co-workers? It’s the sales manager’s responsibility to point out the key drivers and steps that will lead to improvement. Otherwise, they will only know to do the same processes & habits next month.