It’s a well-worn – but still true – adage that we can’t manage what we don’t measure. As sellers, you know what the technology you sell actually does – or what its features, functions, and specs are. But do you know how to illustrate the measurable value of what you’re selling to your customers? Customers want to know the calculable impact your solution will have on their business – can it help to reduce expenses? Can it reduce or reallocate headcount? Can it help me grow? Can I get my product or service to market faster? And most importantly, by how much? Part of your job is to understand what your customers can measure in order to help them manage it.
We’ll tackle a few newer technologies and give you some guidance on the things you can measure – key performance indicators, or KPIs – and how you can use them to give different context to sales conversations.
By now, most of us are pretty familiar with cloud technology’s business benefits – increased agility & velocity, greater efficiency of time & resources, and improved mobility & collaboration. These all sound like desired business outcomes, but how do you measure success or improvement? The easiest and most obvious impact is to the customer’s IT spend as a percentage of revenue, but the increased pace of innovation that the cloud allows means that we can also measure things like time to market for new products & services, customer churn rate, and cross-sell / upsell rates, all of which improve & accelerate revenue growth.
Business benefits of IT and network security are simple & straightforward – protected data, minimization of threats, and reduced fraud, hacking, theft, and piracy. While many still view security as a pure cost center, there can be real measurable value to KPIs like reduced cost of fraud or cost per breach, risk management expenses, and even other metrics like improved time to market and lower product development expense by reducing costly delays and protecting all phases of product development.
Benefits of having a mobile enterprise are improved productivity and collaboration, and more efficient and cost-effective processes. That all sounds great, but how do we measure improvement? KPIs for mobility not only include IT spend as a percentage of revenue, but also others like the cost of customer service, and many of the KPIs related to logistics such as warehousing and transportation expenses. Think about – the efficiency gains of mobility in a supply chain directly correlate to reduced costs as manual processes replace mobile and wireless solutions.
Data and analytics influence almost every functional area in an organization including marketing, customer service, inventory management, supply chain, product development, and others. Effective use of analytics means that data is accessible, consumable, and used in decision-making across the organization to help understand things such as customer behavior, targeted marketing, inventory optimization, and opportunities for innovation. Successful implementation and use of data & analytics can mean improved revenue - KPIs to measure include time to market, stockout losses, customer churn, and cross-sell / upsell; it can also mean reduced costs in the areas of supply chain & logistics, customer service, product development, and sales & marketing. Additional benefits to inventory management include reduced safety stock levels and supplier lead time.
Call to Action
- Identify the KPIs that your solutions impact – be sure you understand how – and incorporate them into your discussions with customers and value propositions.
- Think about newer technologies and those to come in the near future. How do you measure improvement for blockchain, artificial intelligence, unstructured data analytics, machine intelligence, digital twins, and others?