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Business - it's not like Tee Ball, hustling, major league, measurement, tracking, accountability, sales, revenue, growing small business
15 May 2016

In Your Business, Are You Playing Tee Ball? Or Tracking Like the Big Leagues?

Ask anyone how they determine who to pick for their Fantasy Sports team and they’ll tell you it’s all about the “stats”. Performance metrics are the best indicators of future success. Stats are kept for each play, each hit, tackle, pass, catch, whatever the sport if an athlete moves, it’s tracked so they can make adjustments to improve each and every performance.

Professional sports teams have statisticians. Heck, even kids baseball teams keep track of stats. Tracking performance gives us the opportunity to measure, adjust, and improve future results.

However, tee ball is a different story.  My son is just finishing up his first season of tee ball. It’s fun to watch these six-year-old people hit the balls, chase after the balls, play in the dirt, and pretend their bats are swords. Four turns at bat for every player on each team, four turns in the field and that’s the game.

They don’t keep score yet because this is about learning the fundamentals of the game, sportsmanship, and building the foundation.

They don’t keep score because at this age, improving performance is difficult. Coaching happens in the moment, during the moments. Tying shoes is a complex fine motor skill and these players have barely mastered that, much less have the hand-eye coordination to catch a pop fly and then know which base to throw it to for a double out. They swing and miss a lot too or knock the tee over but no matter how many tries it takes, the coaches (patiently) give them all the chances they need to finally hit the ball off the tee.  Everyone runs all the bases. Everyone tags home plate and scores. And yes, there are snacks at the end too.

Your business, however, is NOT the game of tee ball. I’m going to bet that you wouldn’t consider what your passion drives you to get up and get after every day is just “a learning moment” for something that comes later down the road.

I’d also guess you don’t get unlimited attempts to close deals or swing wildly hoping to hit the mark on your opportunities. Not everyone gets a turn at bat in business and not everyone is guaranteed the opportunity to score.

So why aren’t you tracking the important stats to improve your results? What’s YOUR excuse for not keeping score or measuring your performance?

I’m not talking about your P&L. I’m talking about the play-by-play record of what’s happening IN your business at this very moment. Profit and Loss statements are trailing indicators – they tell you what happened in the past and after it’s over, it’s too late to do anything about it. Yearly, Quarterly, and even Monthly assessments of your overall performance aren’t granular enough to be able to pivot in the moment and shift strategies, resources, or talent.

In his book, Traction, author Gino Wickman references one of the first initiatives that Rudolph Giuliani moved forward as mayor of New York City was to introduce the tracking system, “CompStat”, a management tool used to report specific crime numbers by the NYPD on a daily and weekly basis. By measuring more than just the number of arrests and 911 calls, which are trailing indicators, they could track patterns in crime, shift resources and response and be more effective at preventing crime than just reporting it.

Wickman relates that in eight years, overall crime decreased nearly 65 percent in New York City. Because they were measuring and monitoring closer to the events, they were able to make quicker adjustments and respond much quicker than previously. Those previous annual reports reflected crime activity that had shifted long ago. Trailing indicators are not always accurate forecasts of future patterns and behavior.

Powerful results from shifting the stats recorded, right!

Convinced yet?

What stats should YOU be keeping track of in your business?

On the sales side, of course, we believe you’ve got to track your sales process – from start to end, to understand your leads to conversion, sales cycle, closing ratios, and cost of acquisition.

But are you also looking at other performance indicators that give you clear windows into your current health in these areas –

Financial Health –

  • Weekly Revenue
  • Cash Balance
  • Payroll (changes)
  • Accounts Receivables
  • Accounts Payables

Customer Experience –

  • Customer Complaints
  • Service Response Times
  • Returns
  • Social Media Reviews
  • Referrals
  • Service Level Agreements

Employee Engagement –

  • Attendance
  • Sick Time
  • Collaboration
  • Productivity
  • Production Errors

Consider what incremental measurements you need to be tracking on your “Company Scorecard” or stats you relentlessly review on your Dashboard. What insights give you the power to ZIG or ZAG instead of continuing on the same path blindly until the end of the quarter? What stats keep you informed of the sentiment and direction your buyers are taking? What financial indicators can help you see problems that are expensive if left unchecked for one more month?

Your business is not like tee ball. You don’t get unlimited swings until you get it right and you definitely aren’t guaranteed to score each time you get in front of a customer. This isn’t the time to practice for “later” or wait to see how things turn out.

Build the habits of measuring and responding – track the daily and weekly stats that make it possible for you to get in front of your goals with the agility of top performers.

Until next time . . . stop hoping, start SELLING!

-sks

PS – Need help understanding what metrics are key to improving sales performance and revenue? Let’s talk about your Sales Playbook.

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