How many times have you asked for a sales report, needing a better view of performance for the month or year to date, only to have it emailed back days later with days-old information? And when those reports are delivered, how much time do you then spend going through spreadsheets with multiple tabs, filtering and re-sorting information?
Many businesses rely on monthly reporting, which is often a manual process, to measure changes and trends, and adjust their strategies as needed. But in a modern business landscape where competitors are working with real-time information and reacting to changes almost instantly, have traditional reporting methods lost touch with reality? Should you be looking for better business intelligence and real-time reporting that keeps it real?
The value of live reporting and analysis that also gives you business intelligence is clearly seeing at a glance your current business performance, the changes, and what you can expect if trends continue in the same fashion. Even more valuable are the strategies and tactics you can put into place, based on the most accurate and up-to-date business intelligence.
How does this keep your business from losing sales? Read on to find out.
Addressing the Problems
Noticing downward trends in your sales reports or sales analysis is like seeing big red flags popping up everywhere. Declining product sales can be caused by many different factors such as increased competition, new products coming into the market, changes in your customer service, competitive marketing campaigns, etc. Likewise, lead generation and lead-to-customer conversion rates can also have several influencing factors. Seeing the changes a month down the track often leads to missing the underlying causes of those variations though. Can you remember a competitor’s advert from three weeks ago?
Particularly for inventory-carrying businesses, reacting slowly can also mean unhinging that delicate balance between the amount of stock coming in and the amount being sold. When stock demand and supply begin changing, quick action is needed. The last thing any business wants is to be left with excess stock. This often leads to reliance on price reductions and increased marketing activities to get that inventory sold – all of which reduces your profit margin. Suddenly, making those sales and getting your products out the door becomes that much more difficult and that much less profitable.
Without being able to narrow down on the causes of declining sales trends and noticeable differences in activity as they’re happening, you’re left open to losing sales and reducing profit margins.
Recognising the Need for Change
Many businesses have already recognised the need to react quicker to sales and market changes. They’re looking to systems that provide a central source of data, rather than relying on syncing of multiple systems. This is because reliance on data syncing can put added strain on system resources, impede overall performance, and result in splintered data. Having one source of true data not only maintains consistency and control but also provides true real-time analytics and insights.
In what’s rapidly becoming a global marketplace, responding in real-time and adjusting business strategies (the moment you need to) can empower you to stay competitive, retain existing business, and continue winning more new business.
Getting a Real Solution
There are now many cloud-based business management systems that give you real-time information, including up-to-the-minute sales reports. But some of them only provide part of the answer. The real solution that saves you time and empowers you to make instant, agile decisions lies in having dashboard reporting with easy to understand business intelligence and real-time analytics.
You need to quickly and easily digest the information you’re being presented with. Applying system-driven business intelligence and analysis helps you decipher and instantly react to that information.
When comparing different options, look for a system that provides:
- Real-time dashboards, giving you quick, visual representations of trends and changes
- Detailed sales analysis without having to sort through spreadsheets
- Dashboard reports and saved search snapshots which let you drill down into granular detail as you need to
- Easy and secure remote access – the ability to make informed business decisions from wherever you are can be invaluable
- Single-source data to increase transparency, control, and data accuracy across the business
- Customisable dashboards with role-based access, allowing for the most important information to be shown depending on user role
- KPI meters that show actual vs forecast performance, to see at a glance how sales, warehousing and other parts of the business are tracking
The Next Time You Need Reporting
The next time you need a report to assess sales or warehouse performance, take a moment to think about the effort involved in getting that data and the age of the data once you’ve received it. Are you also spending time interpreting numbers presented on a spreadsheet, or do you have an instant, clear view of the current business trends?
If you’re not already confident that you’re making agile business decisions based on up-to-the-minute business intelligence, it may be time to look for a better, more efficient solution.
Ask us how you can achieve this with a cloud-based ERP providing live visual dashboards, KPI meters and detailed reporting snapshots based on single-source, real-time information. Gaining better business intelligence and live reporting will help your business keep it real - with a real view of sales and inventory activity and trends. Know your business better, make agile business decisions, stop losing sales and start seeing an improved profit.