Anyone who has been in the market for some time already knows its unpredictability and the recurring challenge to remain competitive, win over customers and guarantee business growth – especially in a scenario where new ventures are created every day and the news lasts only a few weeks.
The first step for a company that wants to survive and stand out in the face of this reality is to know itself. And not just its mission and values, but everything related to its functioning – from the number of employee absences to the number of people who accessed your brand’s website in the last week.
For those in leadership, knowing everything that happens inside “home” is a way to promote collaboration between teams, increase productivity, and transform the entire organizational environment.
Directly: the domain of information is the fundamental element to create effective strategies to survive and differentiate in the market, practicing improvements in the company’s processes and aiming at business growth.
To promote truly effective knowledge management, companies must first offer conditions so that data does not accumulate or get lost in the middle of spreadsheets and files, but does generate truly effective opportunities to improve products, services, and the relationship with the consumer.
Key information for decision making and business growth
Often, we are left without understanding why some great projects from certain companies generate minimal repercussions, while others manage to maximize their business without having to invest thousands of reais.
But the secret is simple: the business differential that works is its set of good decisions. And one of the greatest allies for a correct decision is information.
Today, making the company grow and stand out from the competition is a great challenge for managers. Thousands of new businesses appear monthly, and ideas are more easily shared.
A system for controlling internal information needs to contain all the company’s daily records, such as orders, cash flow and invoices, sales number, cash balance, customer data, and their consumption habits.
To facilitate the work of research and analysis of these data, the ideal is to divide them into categories, such as:
This includes technical and more practical tasks, which are part of the business routine. They are what “move you” and will facilitate the achievement of your global goals.
Among the most relevant are the manufacture of products and services, administrative practices, inventory management, resource planning, and basic care with the company’s infrastructure.
The financial information of a company refers to the management of money, resources used, costs, and investments. Cash flow, expenses with maintenance and infrastructure, bank control, and billing are some of the aspects that fall into this category.
The most common business data refers to the number of sales, product prices, and offers. However, it is also important to pay attention to other aspects such as marketing operations, the results of advertising campaigns, customer prospecting, and the public’s response to new products and services.
In this category, it is the customer who stands out. His name, address, e-mail, occupation, telephone numbers, preferences, and consumption habits are relevant aspects to understand what type of consumer he is and how it is possible to meet his needs.
If worked well, these data can guarantee the loyalty of current customers and boost the creation of strategies to reach potentials.
The faster the previous information is obtained, the faster it will be possible to make tactical use of it and achieve goals for business growth.
However, to make management really effective, it is not enough to consider only the quantity: it is necessary to establish a policy aimed at capturing quality information and analyzing it strategically.
In this step, numbers, and data on finance, sales, and new customers are essential to create a positive impact on the company and to ensure that strategic decisions are well designed in the future, to ensure business growth.
And finally, there are decisions at the operational level. They are the common day-to-day procedures, which are part of the work routine and aimed at immediate actions, but which will make all the difference in the quality of services, customer loyalty, and the growth of the business in the future.
The advantages of monitoring key information for business growth
When we think of big companies like Apple or Microsoft, it is common to believe that they got where they are just because of innovative ideas and the unique audacity of their leaders.
And this is true. But the growth of a company is also guided by the operational and administrative actions that take place on a daily basis, which seem to be unimportant, but are essential for greater goals to be achieved.
And that is exactly why companies need to closely monitor everything that happens. Finding the right information is a way to identify the best processes, meet customer needs, and create a collaborative language between management and employees.
Only from there is it possible to go on to innovation and to create those great ideas that will put it at the top of the market, as well as the giants of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.
1- Assist management planning
Obtaining reliable information is essential so that management planning is not based only on forecasts. A secure strategic plan must encompass all fields and moments of the company – from the brainstorm to the arrival of the product in the hands of the customer.
But that content cannot be lost in spreadsheets and files. Leaders need to incorporate a strategy of Corporate Performance Management (CPM), or Enterprise Performance Management, which translates the data into a language that is easily assimilated by the employees.
2- Make better decisions
If you understand your company and the market in which it operates, you will hardly have doubts such as “will my product be well accepted?”, “Is my price really competitive? What are the risks and opportunities for my product business?
Any decision – whether to choose the color of a product layout or to manage a crisis – needs to be based on the reality of the market, coupled with the interests of the company and the client, and not just what the manager “thinks is right ”.
3- Minimize errors and risks
Risks will always exist for companies in any segment. What differentiates those who manage to survive and stand out, even in the face of adversity, is the ability to prepare and have strategic planning.
Coherent information translates into a clearer business plan, which draws not only the current scenario, but is capable of anticipating the main challenges that the market will bring in the future and the mistakes that cannot be made in the search for results.
4- Increase productivity
Having the right and organized data at hand helps company departments to integrate, make faster and more efficient decisions, perform more dynamic work, and focus on tasks that will be truly relevant to business growth.
5- Customer loyalty
Obtaining information about customers is a way to meet their needs more quickly and offer personalized service, capable of captivating and retaining that consumer.
Companies that give the consumer space to give their opinion can have a broader idea about the quality of what they offer, identify areas of dissatisfaction, and correct problems.
With a good database, it is also possible to reach people who are really interested in your services and products and generate a greater number of conversions from new customers.
6- Improve strategic planning
We live in the era of innovation. That cell phone that is the new promise of technology today, will probably get a better version in less than six months. And the consumer is following this reality.
This shows that companies cannot stop in time. Even if you offer an excellent product, it can easily be outperformed by the competition if it does not improve.
The best way to innovate is to identify trends for the future and analyze the needs of the market, by collecting information. They will help you improve your strategic planning and ensure business growth, not just now, but for the next five or ten years, for example.
7- Improve metrics and indicators
There are several types of indicators in a company: strategic, capacity, quality, and productivity. Having consolidated information about each of them is a way of understanding which perform better and which do not have a satisfactory return.
These strategies are important to improve the company’s metrics and create more effective goals, according to your reality.
With this data in hand, leaders can make it clear to employees what their role is, reallocate resources, demand more efforts in certain areas, and make satisfactory decisions.
8- Avoid waste
Problems with inventory and infrastructure can generate a huge loss of money, especially in companies that sell their products on a large scale.
Having all the information about the number of goods, most used resources, most purchased products, and storage costs can avoid unnecessary expenses and waste.
9- Reduce costs
If the company’s logistics are not well organized, the campaigns do not generate results, the marketing sector is unable to win customers, the business costs are always high and growth becomes a distant dream.
Identifying weaknesses and processes that are not going well give the manager the power to correct problems faster, diagnose bottlenecks, improve operational efficiency and, consequently, reduce costs.
10- Establish good internal communication
The very concept of the word “information”, derived from Latin, is related to the communication process. Many leaders create a “closed-door” policy with employees and shield them from the necessary information about the company and its performance.
This is a mistake. If a professional knows the place where he works and is encouraged to research his operations, strategies, and customers, it becomes easier to “wear the company’s shirt”, act with excellence and face any challenge.
Good internal communication ensures that everyone involved in the business understands its objectives, works in partnership, increases performance, and the feeling of belonging to that environment.
11- Stay one step ahead of the competition
Finally, information management is a way to stay ahead of the competition. We begin this text by mentioning the difficulty that companies find to differentiate themselves from so many others.
If your company does not offer something that the customer seeks or does not have the best service, he will seek what he needs in another. Having the right information about market trends and about your consumer is a way to innovate, stay competitive, get ahead of the competition, and provide business growth.
How to implement continuous information monitoring for business growth
Within companies, there is a huge difference between information and data. Everything that is collected about a particular business and its market, if not properly processed, does not yield any results.
That is, it becomes just one more piece of data and not relevant information capable of driving changes and business growth.
Plan actions that convert what was collected into strategic and quality information;
Manage this information, create a plan and, from it, make decisions;
Make an effective control of the results of this cycle.
Remember that key information about finance, customers, business actions, and operations that we listed earlier?
They need to be collected in the shortest possible time to improve leadership management, facilitate decision-making, and help the company to get ahead of the competition in the market.
However, with the daily rush, it is difficult to ask employees to devote themselves solely to this monitoring.
Is it possible to manually track the interactions of a few customers and the activities of some employees? Yes, it is possible. But, with the growth of the business, these numbers also grow and, at any given time, it will not be possible to manage everything completely.
Another problem is that not all information is always recorded objectively. Many are accidentally misrepresented or are lost during the collection process. And something that would be relevant to make improvements in the company is left out.
To avoid these impasses, Information Technology (IT) can help. Through control panels and software, managers can monitor in real-time the day-to-day business, compare data, and create more effective action plans.
The biggest advantage of these control panels is that they provide the results that the company wants – all in an automated way, which saves teams time and work. The tools that most stand out in the organization and structuring of the information of these companies, even small ones, are:
CPM, EPM or BPM (acronyms in English for Business / Corporate Performance Management), a tool also known as Performance Management;
ERP (Business Resource Planning);
CRM (acronym in English for Customer Relationship Management), which records basic administrative data, employee routine, company contact with customers, and their consumption habits.
Although they have been in existence since the mid-90s, Performance Management strategies only gained strength in 2001, when they were combined under an official name: Corporate Performance Management, or CPM – a term introduced by the Gartner Group.
One of the advantages of this tool is that it does not focus only on a single department or on what has already been done – something common in Business Intelligence (BI) strategies. Implementing CPM software is looking directly into the future, discovering the full potential of your company and how far it can go.
For this, a complete analysis of scenarios, financial variables of the business, active markets, and socioeconomic instabilities is made. Its main advantage is to integrate several components in a single system: planning, budgeting, data, communication, and data analysis.
Then come ERP systems. They are focused on the maintenance of databases that control all the daily administrative and operational activities of the company, such as cash flow, inventory, employees’ points, purchases to be made and accounts payable, balance sheet, and billing.
The CRM software, on the other hand, stores information about the company’s relationship with the consumer, such as the volume of purchases, date of the last contact, phone calls, favorite products, emails sent, social media feeds, and, of course, your personal data.
This knowledge is essential to build customer loyalty, create exclusive offers, promote innovation in the offer of products and services, and improve service to these consumers.
The use of CRM technologies is also essential in prospecting customers and growing businesses. Knowing the entire history of a given lead, it is possible to offer the right products and faster more efficient service.
This greatly facilitates the work of the marketing department and sales teams, who can create an approach better suited to the habits and interests of the company’s audience.
In addition to automation, the biggest advantage of the software is giving a complete view, in one place, of the entire progress of the company. This prevents teams from wasting time finding a file or data and ensures the security of all information.
Information management is a strategy designed to meet market demands and create innovative solutions. For those in a leadership position, having all the data and figures on the company’s development at hand is the best way to make sound decisions, based on facts and not just assumptions, enabling business growth.