I was watching The Profit the other day, and Marcus Lemonis said something that I also feel strongly about:
“If you don’t know your numbers, you don’t know your business. If you can’t track what’s selling or not selling, you can’t do any forecasting to build inventory. You can’t even monitor trends or customer behavior. You have no shot at success.”
Not knowing sales metrics is more common than you might think. For example, I recently came across a company that had salespeople using tally marks to count the number of their daily sales calls. The sales leader had no idea who they were calling or what kind of progress they were making. There was no sales database - each salesperson kept their own list of prospects on paper. There was no way to do forecasts or projections. This family-owned business had been around for a long time, and they did business the way they always have. Unfortunately, business as usual doesn’t work when buyer behavior is evolving as fast as the Internet.
It can be hard to face what the numbers tell you. In the aforementioned The Profit show, Marcus Lemonis crunched the numbers, which indicated that the business owner was going to be bankrupt in 2 months if something didn’t change. Who wants to hear that? Keeping your head in the sand can alleviate pain in the short-term, but eventually, shit will hit the fan.
I’m not going to lie: it’s not easy to set up a sales and marketing system that can provide the insights you need to make smart business decisions. Old habits die hard. There’s usually a learning curve that takes time to overcome, but staying focused on the long-term advantages will provide long-term results.