Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Forward March

As a B2B professional in a fortune 500 firm, every single review meet followed the age old maxim: Compare the current performance with the historical.

I am learning Google Analytics and dealing with extensive data analysis.It's the same here, the option to compare the current figures with the similar period in the past, appears by default.

My masters in public policy is now in its second year. Critical data such as poverty alleviation and carbon footprints is analysed thoroughly using tools such as regressions, data modelling and big data analysis. Again, the comparison is with the figures from the past.

What is this fixation with the historical?

Most of the problems we face can be traced back to (pun intended) our incompleteness with the past.

Coming specifically to sales performance analysis in B2B marketing, it is a problem which needs to address these two basic questions:

  1. Current performance and value in the market
  2. Strategy to grow in the future
Once the problem has been broken down, we can see that both the components are not really connected with the "Past" 

  • The comparison has to be with Industry trends and competitor performance. Even when it comes to competitor analysis, firms mistakenly assume that the only competitors they have are the firms which match their size. In today's times, that is obvious. What needs to be done, apart from measuring up competitor's from our own size, is to look for small ones who are registering a High growth rate in the industry: What is the strategy they are using? Is there a segment which has completely been missed in our scanners?

  • We need to realize the crucial word here: "Future". Comparing with past figures and then devising a strategy is a way to undermine the current position and temperament of the customer. We need to analyse our capabilities, resources and commitment, and come up with a forecast for the "coming" month/Qtr. This process has to be in a feedback loop so that the comparison with forecast and performance on ground happens on a weekly basis.While we need to strive hard to achieve the figure initially quoted, we need to also readjust the targets if the shift from forecast is questionable, but not the efforts and commitment. 

Picture courtesy: weheartit.com

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