Written by: Gordon Graven, VERVE Project Manager-Commercial Excellence/Operations
Uncertainty is ever-present in the modern global economy. Even the most stable economic environments are characterized by dips and unknowns that could derail a business. Because market challenges are unavoidable, business owners must be prepared to handle them. To do so, they should develop a deep understanding of market risks, put their business goals first and make decisions based on factors within their control. This, of course, is easier said than done. Shrinking credit markets, pressure on profits and cash flow, and changing customer priorities present hurdles for a variety of firms. To successfully navigate changing economic conditions, a few key priorities (performance indicators) can help businesses stay on track to meet their goals:
Market Share/Market Growth – Should I focus on expanding my existing customers base, or look for ways to acquire new customers?
Companies report that it costs five times as much to acquire a new customer than it does to retain one. Yet, market uncertainty often leads businesses to pursue new customers instead of cultivating existing relationships. The urge to do so is understandable, but is this the right move? How do I know?
Manage revenue mix
When navigating a challenging climate, it is also important to optimize gross margins. That means determining the company’s main revenue streams, revenue contribution and the gross margin of each, to help decide how to efficiently save as much money as possible. Turbulent times require businesses to focus scarcer resources on high margin opportunities. Because new revenues are difficult to secure, focusing on the business’ financial basics is the best way to maximize profits.
Balance operating costs
Identifying and consistently deploying best practices helps businesses maximize profitability, reduce operational costs and take advantage of economic volatility. Specifically, employees need to collaborate across the business to share innovative solutions to existing challenges. They should also explore creative options to shed operational inefficiencies that detract from profitability and effectiveness, as well as reexamine, create and implement guiding policies to improve daily operations.
Evaluate your value and equip your sales team
A struggling economy tends to negatively impact customer spending and purchasing habits. Yet this also presents an opportunity for businesses to critically evaluate product value. In doing so, firms should ask themselves: Do clients view our products and services as mission critical to their business? If yes, they should look for clever ways to promote their value and ensure they are capitalizing on it. If no, they should explore possibilities to enhance product management discipline to help uncover future opportunities.
Maintain/elevate the customer experience
Companies are often inclined to cut customer service during difficult economic times. But customer service should be preserved at all costs. Maintaining strong customer relationships is vital to long-term business success. Customer service is the “perception” of services delivered, and it is this perception that steers customer decisions. A customer’s feelings and prior experiences both affect their future purchasing decisions. Do you have a clear understanding of where your company’s net promoter ratings are?
VERVE offers a full range of services for designing and implementing KPI reporting & dashboards, and for preparing recommendations on a management motivation system based on these key performance indicators. We will support you at each stage of the KPI implementation process – diagnostics, development, implementation, data testing, and automated reporting, right up to the launch of the system. In addition, when developing KPIs, we can provide training and strategic sessions for managers and employees.
Need assistance navigating changing economic conditions? VERVE is here to provide you with a variety of solution(s). Contact Us!