Strategic Customer Analysis

It is common practice to determine your target customer when developing a business. However, this tunnel vision buyer group mentality leaves money on the table for businesses. To truly optimize profit and revenue a company’s leadership must be well aware of the many buyer groups (purchasers, actual users, and influencers) that can offer opportunity to enter into a new market space with high profit potential.

For example, say you are leather shoe manufacturer who usually focuses on retailers as its main buyer group. Through analysis of your current, similar and alternative products coupled with identifying the pain points of using your product you can realize a low-cost profitable opportunity to reel in your end users; essentially entering into a new market space.

A more effective strategic customer analysis would require you to understand the following:

  • Why buyers choose to buy your product; aka purchase criteria
  • What are the factors that cause customers to become angry with your product or company
  • What are the factors that keep potential customers at bay (you must understand their priorities and create solutions to meet their needs)
  • The preferences of your customers
  • The decision making process of your customers
  • Customer behavior
  • Why they choose to buy at a certain time (holidays, birthday, graduation, et cetera)
  • Time, travel, hassle and money the customer is willing to pay for buying and using your product or service
  • What functional needs need to be met
  • purchasing power

Businesses must also understand what factors motivate buyers to purchase based on price or quality. However, it is imperative that you just focus on the buyer group that has the highest profit potential at a lower cost and your company’s capabilities are able to meet their priorities.

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Lean Wednesday Tip: Buyer Product Satisfaction

“Yield higher buyer satisfaction by developing products that actually solves a problem, is easy to use/set up, is convenient, fun and environmentally friendly.”

Tax Reform: The best way to utilize tax savings

The new tax law will offer tax cuts to businesses which raises many questions among leaders as to how to best utilize that capital/ tax savings. Many companies have decided to invest in their people by giving away generous bonuses which embodies the employee-centric philosophy. In addition, to demonstrating your appreciation for your employees you also may find the following tips useful.

  • Set a % amount to be automatically transferred to a high yield savings account
  • Reinvest a percentage of the tax savings into your business
  • Utilize a portion to pay future taxes (again, a high yield savings account dedicated to taxes)
  • Optimize your employee benefits package
  • Invest in municipal and treasury bonds (offer great tax savings)
  • Make those business building improvements you’ve been putting off (another great tax deduction)

I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips!

As always, “Success is continuous improvement!”

Digging into Logistics: Data Analysis with SQL

By understanding customer priorities you yield profitable insights. When you plan your data analysis around your strategic goals and customer priorities you reduce waste and enhance productivity. Below I have developed a relative logistics SQL database schema to demonstrate my skills. (SQLlite Source)

 

 

CREATE TABLE customers (

cust_id INTEGER PRIMARY KEY,

cname TEXT,

DATE NONE NOT NULL,

invoice INTEGER,

balance NUMERIC

 

);

 

INSERT INTO customers VALUES (1, “BBC Co”, ’07-03-2014′, 1004, 10000);

INSERT INTO customers VALUES (2, “ZTA”, ’08-11-2014′, 1005, 25000);

INSERT INTO customers VALUES (3, “ABY”, ’06-22-2017′, 1006, 35000);

INSERT INTO customers VALUES (4, “HIP”, ’03-27-2016′, 1007, 0);

INSERT INTO customers VALUES (5, “TIME”,’09-14-2015′, 1008, 900);

INSERT INTO customers VALUES (6, “SWE”,’02-17-2017′, 1009, 18000);

INSERT INTO customers VALUES (7, “SVW”,’04-30-2017′, 1010, 50000);

SELECT * from customers;

 

SELECT *

from customers

WHERE balance >=

(Select MAX(balance) from customers where balance != 0

and date < ’04-30-2017′);

 

SELECT cname, invoice, balance from customers WHERE balance > 10000 and invoice != 1005;

 

CREATE TABLE loads (id INTEGER PRIMARY KEY, city TEXT, fuel_fixed NUMERIC, weight NUMERIC);

 

INSERT INTO loads VALUES (1, “LA”, 500, 1000);

INSERT INTO loads VALUES (2, “Omaha”, 700, 3500);

INSERT INTO loads VALUES (3, “Dayton”, 1400, 5500);

INSERT INTO loads VALUES (4, “Denver”, 2500, 4100);

INSERT INTO loads VALUES (5, “Paris”, 100, 1000);

INSERT INTO loads VALUES (6, “Ridgewood”, 700, 1500);

INSERT INTO loads VALUES (7, “Rochelle”, 747, 1500);

SELECT * from loads;

 

SELECT * from customers

JOIN loads ON loads.id = customers.cust_id

WHERE balance > 0;

 

SELECT cname, city, balance, weight from customers

JOIN loads ON loads.id = customers.cust_id

WHERE city != “Denver”;

 

Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting

Profitability and optimized performance pressure from top management are driving CFOs and Finance executives to develop and maintain effective financial planning and analysis skills. It also means going beyond the numbers by bringing the voice of the customer into the spectrum.

To deliver exemplary financial planning and analysis results, you must have clear understanding of the current business financial and conduct (customer and employee perceptions) standing, compare critical KPI metrics to competitors, analyze the industry to identify value factors and trends that can yield profitability and differentiate your company from competitors coupled with the optimization of client satisfaction, and utilizing the most effective budget model for your business.

For example, your business may use a historical budget model coupled with variance analysis, trends analysis and CRM deals tracking (revenue forecasting). However, for more efficient results, you should also analyze risks (create and maintain an annual risk management plan), make savings as an expense (automate savings for your business), collaborate with HR to assess and properly plan for hires, include an emergency reserve budget for unexpected expenses in your budget, and ensure you have a strong inventory management process.

The 3 most important KPIs in finance are: costs, staff productivity and process efficiency. These should be compared to industry and competitors to realize opportunities for improvement. It is also important to be aware of the costs associated with the staff that handles financial planning, budgeting and forecasting. Some measures of performance that should be tracked to assess costs should be cost per invoice, process cycle time, average receivable days (DSO), lead time, percentage cost to perform the function process as a percentage of total finance process cost, et cetera. These measures of performance should also be benchmarked.

Top management must lead the change in the finance department if they seek to yield optimized productivity and profitability. Effective leaders “walk the talk.” They communicate the changes in strategy and company mission daily to employees and encourage critical KPIs to be visual and periodically reported.

Lean Wednesday Tip: Tax-minded CFO

“An effective CFO, Finance Manager or CEO is extremely tax-minded. Executive top management (boards) are more inclined to offer security, incentives and praise to an accounting/finance executive that consistently delivers a low tax bill.”

Lean Wednesday Tip: Why you are in business

“Effective leaders are motivated by why they started their business instead of the financial rewards. They strive to solve real industry and consumer problems coupled with the integration of  employee and customer-centric philosophies in their culture. They are not me-too leaders, they are innovators.”

E.O.W(End of the Week) Notable Tip: Reduce RFP Lead Times

Happy Friday!

I hope you’ve had a great week.

Today, I will discuss how you can optimize your CRM management process for reducing RFP (request for proposal) lead times while increasing profitability. By developing a client quality plan it becomes easier to vet prospects which makes RFP analysis much easier. RFP lead times (time taken to secure RFP) can be reduced by filtering high quality requests based on your quality plan filters which have lower proposal cycle times, higher profit/margin potential and higher probability of attainability.

Lower proposal cycle times can be attained by collaborating with team members and creating proposal templates that require minimal updates based on average or common project requests. Proposal templates, quality plans, historical and competitive analysis will allow you to budget resources for the purpose of optimizing profits and customer satisfaction. Read our article on Strategic Customer Analysis.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this E.O.W!

As always, “Success is continuous improvement!”

Lean Wednesday Tip: Fulfilling Buyer Needs

“An over-designed product causes waste and increases overhead. It is best that you gather insightful insights from customers to ensure you truly comprehend what they really want in a product instead of over-designing a product that no one wants to buy or understands how to use.”

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