Welcome to the last post in our workflow series. We’ve talked in detail about the challenges media companies and agencies face when adding digital products to their media mix. We explored what happens to sales, account management, ad operations, management and finance teams. And we discussed how a good, organized workflow platform can alleviate these challenges and help media companies and agencies grow more revenue and increase their margins. In this post we’ll focus on how a comprehensive workflow system can tell you much more than your gut instincts. This will provide you and your teams with information to drive results.
Gut Instincts and Data
As Malcolm Gladwell writes in Blink, “Gut instincts are what leaders use in the absence of hard, analytical support”. “Data”, Gladwell tells us, “is raw information. When data is combined into something meaningful, the analysis provides valuable information for making decisions.”
If your company is anything like mine, you have different stakeholders, and different teams to keep happy. Our last post, “When You Miss Your Digital Budget, Is Workflow the Problem?”, was near and dear to my heart. Driving revenue through a smooth workflow system, and keeping Account Executives selling, makes me happy. However, it isn’t as exciting for my business partner. James is driven by data; his happy place is analyzing data in a spreadsheet. He tackles every problem through data analysis. For him, that’s the only way to make a decision. It’s clear, concise and numbers never lie.
If James wants to know which digital products we should offer, he looks at the hard cost of each product. He calculates the number of people and man hours it takes to deliver these products. He factors the retail price at three levels: minimum, middle and maximum rates. Then he asks, should we price for volume or for margin? And is there a sweet spot in between the two?
Data Is Fine, But What About Your Gut?
Making decisions this way makes a ton of sense. But what about intuition, gut feeling and years of experience? Your digital sales managers, regional sales managers and certainly the digital executives in your C-suite have years of experience in digital selling. They intuitively know what works, what products are best and how these solutions can drive the company into the future. Their experience tells them how difficult it would be to train their sales team, what product mix best fits with current offerings, what products do the sales teams feel most comfortable with or pitch most often. There are so many factors that, at least initially, cannot be seen in a spreadsheet.
What is the answer? Do we make the gut decision based on experience? Or do we wait for the data that, given enough time and analytics, will make everything clear?
“On an important decision one rarely has 100% of the information needed for a good decision no matter how much one spends or how long one waits. And, if one waits too long, he has a different problem and has to start all over. This is the terrible dilemma of the hesitant decision maker.” Robert K. Greenleaf,
Data: the Added Bonus of a Good Workflow Platform
This is the added beauty or bonus of a good workflow platform; you don’t have to choose, and you don’t have to wait. The platform works by seamlessly collecting information agencies and media companies need to successfully deliver products. And at the same time, the platform utilizes this information to generate reports that allow us to see our business in a clear and concise way, creating the perfect decision-making scenario with intuition and data.
Let’s Talk Data
Data facilitates smart, quick, intelligent decision making, resulting in more revenue and better margins. Who doesn’t want that? I know what you’re thinking, “What data can I see?” The combination of data points is endless. Here are a few of our favorites.
Pre-Sale-Data Driven by a Client Proposal
- Number of proposals created: day, week, month and year
- Rev proposed: day, week, month and year
- Margin: Product and Proposal
- Status of proposal: Revision, approved, proposed, in progress, order submitted
- Proposals created: AE, Team, Market, Region
- Proposals created: Product and Revenue
- Gross Revenue & Net: Broken down by day, week, month and year
- Expense Reporting: Day, week or month
- Gross Revenue & Net: Broken down by Product
- Gross Revenue & Net: Broken down by AE, team, market, region
- Budget to Actuals: Daily, weekly, monthly media spend by platform against budget
- Tasks? How much time do your people spend working to launch and manage a campaign? (Without this information, how do you know your true hard costs or other barriers to success?)
Arming Your Front Line with Data
I think we can all agree that making decisions with intuition from years of experience plus timely, organized and concise data gives us the best chance to make good decisions. But what good is all the data if the right people in your organization don’t have access to it? Not unlike advertising; messaging the right people at the right time applies here too. Who are these people in your organization?
Each organization is structured differently, but I would argue, if it’s a person’s job to drive revenue for your company, they need access to relevant data. For example, if they are the digital strategist for half the local sales team, they need as much data, as frequently as they could get it. This allows them to see if their team pitches the highest margin products frequently enough. They could see each of their AE’s close ratio by product, helping them understand who needs training, on what products. They can effectively manage up to their boss and his/her boss by communicating where their team stands to budget as frequently as every day, product understanding and how the corporate entity can drive more revenue.
There are thousands of uses cases where giving access to this data at the right level makes sense. But the more complex question is, “Do you have a system in place to provide the necessary data to the necessary team members?” And if not, why not? Additionally, should that same person not see a similar level of data about how long it takes, and exactly why to launch a campaign? And have data at their fingertips at all times, regarding how their campaigns perform against plan and budget?
Make your life easier, as well as the lives of the stakeholders in your organization. Find a workflow platform that works for you. If you need a place to start you know where to find me. Or comment below and I will find you.