For the past few months, we’ve been working on driver-based analysis and planning for our different business units at Spreadshirt. The effort reminded me of why so many businesses do not attempt such an analysis. The main reason: lies, damn lies, and statistics. What happens is that you start at the highest level. Like most retail businesses, for us, we can start with traffic, conversion and basket size for each of our business units. Kind of feels cold, huh?
The next step for the drivers is to get to what makes each business unit special to its customers. For us:
Shop Partner. Number of selling shop partners and sales per shop is where you head next. And, once you have that, you start thinking about the different levels of shop partners used to judge sales per shop. For example, major accounts, power sellers and then the “long tail” are typical classifications. Then, what about recruiting of those different partners? Lead generation and direct advertising can be broken into impressions, click through, registration, activation, and shop set-up. What about shop traffic and customer WOW (I believe in Net Promoter for this measure)?
For each of these, you then argue more critical drivers. And, we haven’t even gotten into regions, and their maturity, which has a big impact on the drivers.
The question is where do you stop? When do the numbers matter and when do they become details that are distracting? My experience… stay at 5-7 drivers. No lie. Pick 5-7 and stick to them. Period.
Team members can focus on levers that impact these drivers, but don’t let those levers become drivers themselves. Keep the team focused on the drivers for their business, which will help you focus on the business as a whole versus get stuck on one number.
Another recommendation… be careful not to let drivers be self-referencing. For example, we could define major accounts as accounts over a certain level. The problem with this is that you don’t know if an account is major until it becomes major. You want to be able to target leads as having “major” potential. We did this at QuickBase by defining major accounts as Fortune 500, with a special emphasis on Fortune 100, as an example. While not all Fortune 100 accounts turned major, the hit rate was higher than going after accounts with “potential”, than waiting and seeing if those became major to define them as major.
What are your thoughts and experiences with driver-based analysis and planning? When have you seen business drivers used well and when not?
What am I wearing on my shirt? To bring some levity to a serious post, I’m going to turn to one of my favorite mood lighteners, Yogi Berra.
Don’t make the wrong mistake
April 30th, 2007
Dear Chris Shipley tagged me a few months ago and I’ve been remiss in responding. I reached into the depth of my memory trying to think of things that even Evan (husband) didn’t know about me, that I learned from, and that were amusing. So here goes:
- I was on the Seventeen Magazine’s Teen Advisory board. They had a three-pronged program: work, volunteering, and fashion, of course. It was a good program that taught balance and community service. Bet you didn’t expect that did you?
- I stepped on a church school kindergarten teacher’s toes once in a fit of kindergarten rage. I still feel guilty about this. I learned that I needed to control some of my passion, not letting it boil over in this manner.
- I started using Optima C Dual Action Firming Serum this year. I learned I need to take care of my skin; it takes care of me. And, oh, I work with youngsters now!
- I like Buckcherry. Can you imagine me singing “I love the cocaine”?! Still freaks me out. OK, I can’t think of anything I learned from this one, but admit it, you laughed.
- I eat peas first. This one needs a bit of explanation. I love Just Tomatoes’s Just Veggies. The peas are my least fav of the veggies included, but I always eat them first. I carry this theme in much of my life. I often do the least fun or least appetizing things first, which regularly means that I run out of time or energy before I get to the fun stuff. I actually was not conscious that I did this until I started getting Just Veggies. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to modify this habit, but maybe now that I’ve confessed it publicly, I can start my recovery.
One form of recovery (I hope) will be getting back to posting more often. I enjoy blogging, because of the learnings that I get from it. Blogging starts conversations online and offline, and that is where I learn. THANK YOU!
And now I get to tag five folks:
- Jenny Spadafora. Jenny is the brilliant Community Evangelist at Intuit’s Innovation Lab. She always teaches me something, and this is the way I thank her.
- Steve Mann. I just met Steve yesterday, and I have a feeling I’ll be learning from him. I thought this was a great opportunity to start that learning.
- Adam Fletcher. Adam works at Spreadshirt with me, and not only do I appreciate his perspective, his writing amuses me.
- John Hagel. I’m not sure if John will do this or not, but I hope he does. I learn from his writings regularly. One of my favs is the data section of his Halloween Goblins post.
- Nuts about Southwest. I’m sure I’m breaking some rule by tagging a blog versus a person, but that’s me. I love Southwest’s blog, attitude, and company. I’m hoping that one of their great bloggers will pick this up and teach us all some things we don’t know about Southwest.
What is on my shirt today? I am honoring the folks with whom I spent the last 2 days. (I’ll blog on this over the next few days.) I am part of Creative Good’s Customer Experience Councils, specifically Council 10. We are a 20-person group that bonded and shared years of experience quickly and efficiently. I’m very grateful to be part of this group, and they’ve really shown me how:
10 > 20
April 19th, 2007