Your Data, Your Way: Become a Master of Reporting

Businesses that make decisions based on data have 6% higher profits on average. What does that mean for you? It means that successful businesses ensure they have the right tools and necessary information to make key decisions, and if that isn’t your business, you’re missing out on revenue potential. So, where do you start?

Knowing your metrics is the first step.

Often retailers express that they just don’t have time” to get the information necessary to drive their business. Either that, or they don’t know what metrics matter and only check a select few to gauge the health of their organization. Being a data-driven organization is more than one person checking into a few metrics; it’s a culture that must be cultivated. Each role in an organization has metrics they do — or at least should — care about. These metrics are the indicators of their success, and if each role is successful at achieving their metrics then the company, as a whole, will be successful. 

Metrics vary by role. So does data.

You don’t want your sales reps pouring through the product detail report all day to figure out how many activations they’ve done. You want them to have a quick snap-shot of where they stand in relation to their goals, how much commission they’re slated to make, and what actions they need to take to be successful. The faster they retrieve their metrics, the faster they can get back to selling!

In contrast, an inventory manager needs to see high-level health of your company’s inventory but then be able to easily drill into that information and see what activity is contributing to sections of inventory that may be struggling. Providing data the right way helps to ensure that your message’ comes across correctly, as quickly as possible, and with the appropriate amount of detail so that employees can focus on their role.

Details don’t always matter.

Often, dealers get bogged down constantly scanning through detailed reports of every transaction that occurred in their database. Asbusinesses grow, that obsession with details becomes a burden and can cause you to miss the big picture which tells a more valuable story. The best way to avoid this common pitfall is to determine early on what you are looking for when you pour through those detailed reports. Are you looking to see if a lot of returns were done on one day? Make a list of the metrics then matter then use dashboards to keep a pulse on those metrics. 

Dashboards are powerful because they allow you to quickly identify trends and patterns without looking at a single piece of detailed information. Have activations been quickly declining during your busiest season? Drill into that, and look at the which locations are impacted, which employees, and so on. You are more likely to see this pattern when it is graphed than by looking at a detailed report.

Don’t worry, the details will always be there.

Just because I’m recommending not getting lost in the details, doesn’t mean they are ever going to go anywhere. Details are necessary and valuable, at the right time and in the right context. It’s about understanding when and where to use them and utilizing other methods to empower your team to be successful, regardless of their role.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Take the time to ensure that you are using the right report for the right the thing. Depending on the purpose of the report, it may include or exclude certain information. If you aren’t aware of these differences and the purpose of the report you are using, you may end up making faulty assumptions about the data you’re using — a big deal when it’s main purpose is to guide decision making. Let’s use coupons as an example; did you know what some reports include invoice-level coupons and some don’t? Are you sure the way you are calculating your overall profit by location takes into account all appropriate coupons? Being aware of the pros, cons, and appropriate useof each report will help you always make great decisions.

Having a good mix of dashboards, details, and the stuff in-between will ensure you’re always looking at your data at the right level. Don’t know how detailed your report needs to be? Just ask! iQmetrix has an entire team dedicated to helping you understand what the right tool is for the type of information you are looking for.

2019 Bootcamp is almost here! This year, we’re focusing on even more ways to keep a pulse on your data and optimize information that helps you grow, scale, and thrive. Join your fellow retailers and the iQmetrix team to become the power-users of your workhorse POS.