How the best graphical business reporting tools help you make better decisions

Growing beyond your spreadsheets

Before we get into a discussion around graphical business reporting, take a few minutes to think about your business. You probably already know:

  • What your best-selling product or service is?
  • Which customer buys it most often?
  • Which region it sells best in?

But are you thinking about how all this impacts your future strategy?

Most companies spend so much of their time just compiling their data into vaguely readable reports that they end up spending barely any time analysing them.

As you know, the real value of reporting lies in the analysis and insights that provide you with a deeper understanding of your business, which ultimately allows you to make better decisions.

This is where graphical reporting tools come in.

Software that can easily convert your operational and sales data into comprehensive, easy-to-understand, and accurate representations of your data allow you to spend time on what really matters – drawing the insights. So when it comes down to decision-making time, you aren’t just playing a guessing game, you’ve got the data and the reports to back you up.

So what should good graphical business reporting tools help you do?

1. Visualise and understand your data easily

Most people hate trawling through rows of numbers trying to make sense of their data. The right business reporting tools will be able to easily convey complicated information to you and your staff through descriptive graphs and charts, and easily facilitate your decision making process as a result.

So if you’re wondering how your sales team is performing, or where you need to be dedicating more marketing resources to – your software should be able to show you instantly.

HARMONiQ’s Control Desk shows the importance of graphical representation of your data

This report generated by HARMONiQ’s Control Desk shows the breakdown of sales of your top-performing product categories, so you can instantly tell what’s performing well – and what’s not.

2. Integrate with your other systems to give you a whole-picture view

Information in isolation often doesn’t deliver anything insightful. Good reporting covers all aspects of your business, including Operations, Inventory, Financials, Sales and Marketing.

Businesses often request reports from each department, and then have to figure out how they work together, but this is usually time-consuming and labour intensive. To overcome this issue, look for a reporting tool that will seamlessly integrate all your business systems and compile this information to create reports with company-wide visibility.

3. Quickly deliver a wide range of reports to inform key business decisions

The most attractive business opportunities usually don’t give you enough time to ponder over pages and pages of reports. Sometimes you just need to quickly access some data to be able to make an informed decision on the fly.

Let me show you a few examples.

The Sales Analysis Dashboard below highlights the top six customers by net sales value. Now, most managers would put their top sales reps on these accounts. I, however, would argue that that would be a waste of talent and opportunities.

Instead, you could be using this report to determine your next best customers, and dedicate your most senior sales resources to ‘up-sell’ and ‘nurture’ these customers to same level as your best performing ones.

HARMONiQ Sales Analysis Dashboard shows your top performing customers

HARMONiQ’s Sales Analysis Dashboard shows the breakdown of your customers by net sales value, highlighting the top six. Use this report to determine your ‘next best’ customers with the intent of nurturing them to generate as many sales as your top-performing clients.

Now with the click of a button, this report can change to show me what products my customers are buying. A report like this would be valuble in quickly determining what you should stock, how much, and when you need it by.

It could even transform your entire selling strategy – giving you the clarity you need to specialise in your best-selling product categories, or challenging the viability of others.

HARMONiQ quickly drills down the report to show specific products your customers purchase, allowing you to make strategic decisions about what to stock and when.

HARMONiQ quickly drills down the report to show specific products your customers purchase, allowing you to make strategic decisions about what to stock and when.

And there’s even more…

With the Regional Analysis report, I can quickly show myself a breakdown of sales by geographic location – instantly showing me which areas I’m the most profitable in, and which places could use a little more love. This can help inform key decisions about the viability of office locations, whether you should consider opening new branches, and where you should be dedicating extra sales resources to.

HARMONiQ’s Regional Analysis can easily show me how sales are doing across various geographic locations and inform decisions around hiring and resources.

HARMONiQ’s Regional Analysis can easily show me how sales are doing across various geographic locations and inform decisions around hiring and resources.

With the click of a few buttons you can easily determine what you should be selling, to whom and where – with the data to back up your decisions. What’s more, you don’t have to scroll through lines and lines of numbers to figure it out.

It seems that every business management software can do some sort of high-level reporting. But where things get really interesting – and valuable to your business – is when your software can provide the detail and clarity you need to make key strategic decisions for your business.

If this level of insight seems exciting – I can assure you, it never gets old! There is actually a lot more HARMONiQ is capable of, and I would love to be able to show you.

If you’d like to see how HARMONiQ can drill down these reports to deliver even more gems of insight let me know below and in 15 minutes I’ll show you what HARMONiQ can achieve for your business. You can also call me on 0412 421 350 or email me on drew@harmoniq.com.au if you’d like to get in touch.

See HARMONiQ in action

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems, and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business.

How the right business management software can keep your clients from outgrowing your services

Growth is good: it’s what we want for all our clients. But business growth also brings with it a lot of change. As you know, when a business grows they find themselves rapidly acquiring more customers, hiring new staff, and requiring access to more and more data to inform their decisions.

While everyone wants to grow, many businesses are poorly equipped to actually deal with these changes. Chances are they’ll find themselves becoming increasingly frustrated, and hitting numerous brick walls with their existing processes and software. Growing pains aren’t just for teenage boys.

The challenge we’ve noticed many professional services providers have is that they design their service and solution around the current state of their clients’ businesses. However, as all good client relationship managers know, you need to keep your eye on their over the horizon developments, so that you can remain relevant and continue adding value, as their business grows.

Often, great professional services businesses are constrained not by their ability to deliver value to their clients, but the software platforms they’ve aligned themselves to.

Many providers choose to align with simplified, minimalistic software that is the lowest common denominator in the market. This is fine if you only ever want to work with solopreneurs and start-ups, but even then, you run the risk of not being able to grow as these clients grow.

Others hang on to ageing legacy software that are way past their ‘stock until’ date, and become irrelevant to their clients as a result.

So how can you retain your growing clients and continue to play a crucial part in driving their ongoing success?

While working with many growing SMEs in Australia and New Zealand, a few stood out to me as stellar examples of how a growing business can minimise disruption and disorder in their business. A lot of it usually came down to the type of technology they leveraged, and how it enabled them to plan, manage, and sustain their growth for the long term.

So here are four specific things a software platform built to enable growth will allow you to do to deliver additional value to your clients:

  1. You can design the solution to work the way your client works

One-size-fits-all software doesn’t really fit any business and is easily outgrown. Instead, the best software for growth is one that can be designed to perfectly fit the needs of the business using it, incorporating all parts of their business into one platform. So any addition of more users, departments or customers to the system will always be easily handled across all aspects of the company. And if things drastically change, (as they often do in business), the software can easily be reshaped to suit a new structure.

  1. You can equip your clients’ staff with the tools to be more productive and efficient

Technology can be both a time saver and a time killer. The most valuable business platforms not only make day-to-day tasks faster, but can transform the way your clients do work completely. For example, a clever workflow automation function can quickly trigger notifications, automate quote follow-ups and generate insightful reports on anything from inventory levels to supplier performance.

Another feature to look out for is a CRM (Customer Relationship Management). This ensures all customer and prospect data is captured in one location, equipping your client’s staff with the knowledge to have the most effective sales conversations.

Overall, the right software platform for growth should be easy enough to use that it saves your staff time day-to-day, but also powerful enough to generate advanced automation rules to eliminate simple manual tasks, and allow staff to focus on sales and growing the business.

  1. You can give the decision-makers the answers they need.

A business that’s planning for growth needs to be able to analyse past data and predict the future performance. But generating the sophisticated and detailed reports needed for this can take time. Some companies even employ a full-time business analyst just for this task, but few SMEs can afford such an expense.

The right software platform should allow your clients to produce advanced business intelligence reports based on data from all aspects of the business, such as financials, operations, inventory and sales. Not only will you and your clients have better visibility over how the business is performing, but by allowing the system to handle a lot of the manual tasks and drudgery, you’ll also save having to do them yourself.

  1. You can improve the experience for your clients’ customers.

In addition, growing businesses often find it challenging to keep up with the demands and expectations of their increasing customer base.

To help your clients deliver effective and reliable customer service, look for a business management software solution that includes a comprehensive CRM feature. We talked about how a CRM can help make your client’s lives easier – but it also ensures their customers have a seamless and positive experience with their service. It will have the capacity to capture all of their customer information, previous orders, complaints or issues– allowing your clients to provide the exceptional customer service, all the time.

Also consider sophisticated marketing capabilities as a key criteria when making your choice. This allows your client to ensure that their customers stay well informed, by being able to build and send beautifully branded emails. So look for a platform that allows for easy segmentation and email marketing features.

While a lot of this blog discusses how poorly suited software can hold a business back, with great advice and great technology, we’ve seen software play a huge part in helping businesses achieve and exceed their growth targets.

Recognising this, we designed a Business Tuning Software that was built specifically to help generate and sustain growth for small to medium businesses, called HARMONiQ.

With HARMONiQ you can add value to your clients’ businesses by:

  • Implementing a software that is entirely customisable to their needs, and is built to grow with their business;
  • Providing their staff with one source of truth for all customer information, and an easy way to manage their follow up tasks and provide personalised customer service every time;
  • Implementing powerful automation workflows to save staff time, encourage efficiency, and transform how the business operates;
  • Giving them visibility over various aspects of their business by generating reports incorporating accounting, inventory management, sales orders and customer relationship management modules;
  • Tracking key performance metrics, as well as pipeline analytics, allowing them to forecast their outcomes and make more informed decisions, and using hard data to back your own recommendations;
  • Ensuring their customers stay engaged and satisfied using sophisticated eMarketing integration with Campaign Monitor to send personalised, branded emails with built-in reporting capabilities.

I hope these thoughts will assist you in helping drive growth for your clients and give you some ideas about what you should be looking at to help you do so successfully.

The combination of powerful software and your expertise will no doubt empower your clients to achieve and sustain growth, and also keep them from looking anywhere else for advice and growth during this challenging time.

If you are facing any of the issues I’ve written about above and would like to discuss, please call me on 02 9542 2000.

 

See HARMONiQ in action

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems, and is focused on working with accountants and professional services providers to help their clients tune their businesses by leveraging cutting-edge technology. If you want to help your clients gain further efficiencies within their business while boosting your own revenue, click here to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to their business and your own, or get in touch.