In the years to come, we will look back at this year and the last, not with nostalgia or fondness, but solemn respect, acknowledgement, and appreciation. We will pay tribute to our fallen friends, family, and humankind at large. And those of us who survive, whose businesses survive, will learn lessons and change beyond recognition as humanity adapts and starts anew in some cases.
Some of us have already changed. We take precautions seriously. We feel naked without our facemasks, our clean hands feel dirty without the familiar spray of sanitiser, and our social distancing behaviours are now distinctive habits.
And just as we have changed, so too have our businesses and our tools. Even the constant, unchanging familiarity of the Windows 10 operating system gives way to a new version that promises increased productivity, better visualisation, and improved collaboration.
Similarly, our businesses must take a lesson from the Microsoft example. To increase productivity, we must improve our collaboration – the best way to do so, of course, is through better visualisation.
The thing is that as much as you and your business change, your clients and customers undergo similar changes of their own. A wise businessman sees these changes and acts on them before anyone else.
But how do you find answers to questions of change without even asking?
Well, you look at your data – it's all right there.
You will find these answers in your financial data, your sales data, your customer relationship data, and even your social media data. The best part of it all is that you have the data on hand, and you can access it – we’ll show you how.
The lifeblood of any business is its finances. Therefore, cash flow and budgets have been two of the most important things during the period of closure that we have been through in the last few months. Many companies have put in cost-saving measures to ensure that the business remains alive and have kept a keen eye on unnecessary expenditures. The key is to use your financial data to know what to spend next and where to hold spending.
Using your financial data to understand how your business's elements are performing in this new world will be just as crucial as during the period of closure.
Understanding the return on any investments, down to the bottom line, will help inform future decision making within your business and help make the right decisions for your business and avoid costly mistakes.
Social Media Data
Nearly all businesses have some social presence, from which they talk to their customers and potential customers. Each platform records the interactions that have taken place before the pandemic, during the closure period, to the start of recovery. All of which holds information that can be valuable to understanding what has changed.
Look for what's changed as users interact with specific content. Is it up or down? How your content is being interacted with is a crucial component to what people are now thinking and which products or services they may want to buy. As a result, the content getting the most traction before may not be the best now. Experiment with different messages, content types and platforms to understand this further.
Also, look for what's not changed and which content or platforms are still generating the most interaction. As much as the world is different, some aspects of your business may not need to change as they still fit a customer need. Knowing this may stop you from investing time to change something that didn't need fixing.
Social media is also a key area for marketing to prospective clients and customers. Although many marketing budgets cut funds to divert elsewhere, understanding which content generates interest may indicate which content should be promoted and knowing that any money put behind this is money well spent. Don't forget to keep an eye on your advertising data to ensure a return on any investments you make.
Watching the sales figures is a normal part of the day-to-day for any company that sells products or services. But to accelerate your recovery and grow faster from the pandemic's effects on your business, you need to delve a little deeper.
Knowing which products are the best sellers is one thing, but what are the up-and-coming products? What will be the next thing coming along because your consumer’s needs have changed? Some of these may be obvious based on your offering, but others may be less obvious.
Keeping a close eye on the growth of smaller products or product segments may hold the key to what should be part of the following marketing update or which products should have their stock holding increased because sales are on the up.
Customer Relationship Data
If your company has a CRM system, using your customer data is more manageable than not. But even if you don't have a CRM system, there are ways to leverage your customer data. It might just take a little more digging.
Firstly, you can use your customer data to ensure that you know who your biggest customers or clients are and make sure that you regularly contact them. You don’t want to lose your current customers at this time, so you can also learn from them about what's changed in their lives and how you may be able to take advantage of that.
You will know who has bought products or services before, leading to relevant contacts for a new sale if what you're offering will help them with their recovery plan. In addition, if they're someone you have a previous relationship with, they are more likely to come back to your business than go somewhere new if they had a positive experience the last time.
Finally, you can use the data you have to understand the potential customers that never become customers. If you've got a record of failed online shopping baskets, quotes given out, or conversations that have been had, then you can use this data to create a list of people for whom the world has changed and may need your services or products now. Again, being proactive in this area will be more effective than starting with new, completely new customers.
Looking back to this year in the years to come should inspire you with hope, a feeling of achievement, a sense of progress. We acknowledge and pay tribute to our fallen heroes, our very different lives, and our unrecognisable businesses. And we must find pride in our success, our ability to overcome hardship, and most importantly, our ability to change and adapt.
And if we have assisted you in some small way through this blog post, we will be glad for that. However, please know that we can help you further, prepare you and your business for the change – and the changes yet to come.
Get in touch with us here, and let us begin this journey together.