Every company needs to track its sales, marketing efforts, and customer behavior. Setting that up is the easy part, but what do you do with the company sales data that comes back?
You can use the information provided by your company data to increase sales, but only if you know how to interpret and use it. The data can be very valuable information, yet most companies never end up putting it to use. Just because it’s a little confusing, they end up repeating the same mistakes and reducing their sales potential. You can do things differently.
How do you get the data in the first place? If you have a website, you should have an analytics system installed. This could be a paid program or you can use Google Analytics. The information will all be collected for you. All you need to do is interpret it and use it to improve your ROI.
The information that is returned from these programs is often a jumble of numbers and graphs that make little sense to the lay person. If you’re not used to reading and interpreting this type of information, it can be extremely confusing. You have all the information at your fingertips, but how do you use those numbers to create more sales?
The data you collect through analytics programs is actually far more helpful than it appears at first glance. It can tell you a lot, including:
· What people are looking at on your site
· Where they spend the most time
· What searches bring them to your page
· Which ads are funneling traffic to you
· What percentage of visitors turn into buyers
· How many people return to your site
· What device they use
· How they prefer to pay
· Where in the world the visitors come from
All this information is readily available, as well as a whole lot more. Once you have it, you need to actually be able to use it. With such a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips, you can put it to good use.
How to Use Data Science
Now that you have the information, what should you do with it? Put it to use increasing your sales, of course. If you have a way to interpret the data or have learned how to figure out its application in your business, you can turn it into money. Here are 10 ways to use data science to improve your sales.
1. Determine Where Your Traffic Comes From
Once you know where people are learning about your company, you can take steps to improve visibility. Your website data will show exactly where people find you. If you set everything up correctly, you should see which posts, ads, and social media publications are most effective. This lets you know where you should be spending more time and money. If your blog is the principle method of drawing people in, add more posts.
Traffic information is a valuable piece of data. With this information, you can focus your marketing efforts on the areas that are most effective. If the majority of your traffic comes from Facebook, for example, you can focus your attention there. You may even want to start advertising on relevant sites. After all, if your future clients are hanging out there, you can catch their eye faster with a well-designed ad.
2. Identify Weak Points in Your Sales Funnel
Your analytics should show what point of the sales funnel people get to before clicking away. If everyone is dropping out at the same point, you know exactly where the problem is. Now you need to figure out how to fix it. The first step in creating a powerful sales funnel is to understand what people want.
A sales funnel is designed to capture the interest of a wide audience. Once they have entered the funnel, usually by signing up for email updates, you can track them. A sales funnel generally begins with having someone sign up for something. This could be a free email course, an ebook, updates, or even a special discount on their first order. It’s a good idea to test which of these functions best to pull in qualified buyers.
The funnel then targets narrower audiences within that first group of people who have signed up. Slowly, it narrows down the audience by offering different things until you have just the buyers left. This is an effective method of selling that has been used for years in both digital and analog realms. You need to track each step of the process if you want to ensure the best results.
The funnel should weed out those tire kickers who are only interested in free things. Unfortunately, if you are losing all your potential buyers early in the funnel, something is wrong. The data can help you find those weak points and improve them. If you know where your clients are leaving the sales funnel, you know where you should improve. You just need to look at the information provided and translate it correctly to understand where you are leaking clients.
In some cases, the funnel isn’t working because you’re targeting the wrong customers. Again, the data collected will help you determine if you need to adjust your targeting methods. You should always test all your marketing methods to see exactly which option brings you the most paying clients.
3. Identify Low-Volume Accounts
Many people sign up for accounts, but don’t order much. If you know which accounts are not very active, or only purchase small amounts, you can use this information. Target these low-volume accounts for special promotions to encourage them to purchase more. This is only possible if you know which accounts are from buyers, but don’t move much merchandise.
Often, it just takes a small nudge in the form of a coupon or sale to help low-volume buyers step up their order volume. It’s possible to turn them into more prolific clients if you know who to focus on. Tailor the products and offers to them, using the information already collected from their accounts. This information also allows you to segment your customers so you can really target small subcategories. If you have parents shopping, for example, you could categorize them into parents of teens, preschoolers, grade-schoolers, or babies and then send them buying suggestions that will suit their buying habits.
There are other ways to follow up with this information, as well. You can email or send follow up notifications to the buyer, with ideas for further purchases. Chances are higher if they’ve bought once that they’ll buy again.
4. Ensure Compatibility
How are your customers viewing your website? If the majority of visitors view it from their smart phone, you need to be compatible with mobile viewing. If they’re on a computer, but use Firefox instead of Chrome, your site needs to be compatible with their browser. You should be able to determine quickly which browsers are being used most by your clients, as well as which devices they use most.
You’ve probably experienced the frustration of trying to look at a website that is not meant for your browser or phone. It’s annoying and you likely just clicked away to something else. The same thing happens with your clients if they can’t easily view your products or services. Take the time to find out where your visitors are checking in and determine how you can make your website more accessible to them. The idea here is to make it as simple as possible for people to buy from you.
5. Focus Your Offered Products/Services
Sales data can show you exactly what your best selling products or services are. In a larger business or one that is very busy, it can be tough to determine where you should focus. If you know exactly what is selling best, you can eliminate products and services that are not profitable.
Use the information your analytics system provides to create a more efficient website. Put the top selling items on the front page. Move non-selling items to the liquidation or clearance page and remove them from your offerings. There is no point in stocking up on items that will probably never sell, so focus on the things that do sell.
With the extra space you have by eliminating non-selling products, you can add in other items that your clients need. Again, the data will tell you what they want. Your clients will likely ask for what they need, as well.
6. Improve Your Offerings
Your data program can also provide you with information from your clients, if set up correctly. You can also use surveys to help collect more data and determine which products or services should be improved. Are people asking for a different style or color of product? Do they want something completely different? Collect this information and then act on it. When you provide exactly what the client wants, you will sell more.
It’s important to correctly interpret the data you receive. You want to be sure you are improving things that everyone wants. If just one customer wants something, that may not be enough to justify stocking a new product. Obviously, you need to use your common sense in this case, but you’ll have the supporting information to allow you to make the best decision.
7. Form Partnerships for Profit
Joint venture partnerships are very popular among companies and can help you promote to a whole new audience. You will need to prove that you have the audience and traffic to make it worthwhile, though. This is one of the areas that is checked when a joint venture is proposed. In this case, it’s not just your data that matters, though. You should also check theirs.
A joint venture lets you combine resources and expertise. It also saves money, as you can combine forces to advertise, or offer free advertising to your own audiences. They work equally well for large and small businesses, but are usually between two businesses that are of similar size. One of the best ways to tell if the other company is similar in size is to compare traffic and sales data.
8. Narrow Marketing Targets
Your ROI is important when it comes to marketing. There’s no point in wasting money promoting something that isn’t selling. You can throw away a lot of money on ads and it’s just not worth it. However, you should be tracking every single ad so you know exactly what works. Too many companies just keep track of which platform the traffic comes from. You need to know exactly which ad is performing best if you want to avoid throwing money away on useless marketing campaigns. It’s all about precision and the more data you have, the more precise your marketing can be.
Your ads should be the result of hours and days of testing. Try A/B tests to see which ad styles and copy bring in the most sales. When you have the data from these, you’ll know exactly which type of ad performs best on specific platforms. This allows you to continuously test and improve your marketing campaigns. It should result in much higher sales and better follow through on your part.
9. Enhance Follow Up Sales
Once a customer has purchased from you, they are much more likely to make a second purchase. Use that information to follow up with your existing clients and make them a special offer. Another option is to offer them something similar or complementary to what they have already purchased. Don’t just rely on the client returning on their own. Instead, reach out and ask for the sale and give them a good reason to purchase again.
Repeat customers are likely to remain repeat customers. They’ve already gotten past the trust issue that you have to overcome with new clients. They know that you provide great value and follow through. This makes it far easier to get an existing customer to continue buying, rather than finding new ones. It’s also cheaper, since you usually have access to their email and don’t need to plan a whole ad campaign. If they really enjoy shopping with you, they will also tend to talk about your company.
10. Predict Customer Behavior
Do you know what your customers are going to do when they land on your site? If you have the right data and know how to interpret it, you will know exactly what they are likely to do. Amazon is a very good example of putting this data to good use. The company uses its data to determine what products customers are most likely to be interested in, based on what they are looking at or buying. They then present those products on the same page to encourage further purchases.
Any company can use the data they collect to predict customer behavior and put it to good use. If you know what your clients want and what they might also be interested in, you can provide shopping suggestions. While you may not be able to present as many options like Amazon or other larger companies, you can always make suggestions. It can be an excellent way to boost sales.
If you don’t track everything, you’re missing out on some very important information for your business. It’s even worse if you track things, but don’t put that data to good use. It can be difficult to interpret the information that is available in your data, so it may help to have an expert on your team. This should be someone who can not only help you understand the information you’ve collected, but put it to good use.
ironFocus services are designed to take you beyond collecting data and on to monetizing it. Contact us today to learn how we can help you improve your company sales.