Channel Your Sales Data with Business Intelligence!
“How are sales in Amazon doing this quarter compared to last quarter?” asked Charlene, the CEO of DRAW-ON, a manufacturer and distributor of innovative crayons and colored pencils.
“It’s been incredible” said Jackson, the Chief Marketing Officer, “We have doubled our sales in eCommerce overall, and Amazon is leading the pack. I wish we had been tracking Sales by Channel last year.”
“What do you mean?” the CEO was getting nervous, thinking about the information she was going to need for her next meeting with investors. "I thought you had been doing that, channeling all the data through that smart head of yours!”
“Well, I’ve always had a sense of our sales, but honestly, we didn’t look at Sales by Channel before this year. But now that sales are heavily eCommerce over in-store, I am focusing on how to balance our marketing dollars into the different sales channels.” replied the CMO. "The new ERP system we bought helps."
“So, that means you can get me a report on Sales by Channel by Month, right? I want to see how we are doing in brick and mortar compared to on-line, and by FDM compared to Club sales. That report should explain a lot about our sales trends.”
Jackson starting thinking about how he would get this report. How he would get last year’s Sales by Channel by month since that had not been an emphasis last year. He didn’t think that the sales channels were coded for all customers for prior years. He would have to go through every customer’s order, by month!
Charlene the CEO sensed that her request would not be easy for Jackson. She was wondering, with a bit of frustration, why they’d spent so much time planning the ERP system if she couldn’t get better data on sales, trends, and correlating marketing spend to sales in specific channels.
Jackson saw Charlene’s brow beginning to rise. He quickly said, “I can show you with my Excel spreadsheets.”
Charlene knew she had spent too much money on ERP to be looking again at spreadsheets. She threw up her hands in frustration.
Did your ERP implementation result in same-old reports as before without refining the data to get sparkling insights on your own sales?
The reason Jackson and DRAW-ON remained attached to their old ways is not hard to unravel. When they were planning the ERP implementation, the ERP team had put off the repeated advice of the Project Manager which was:
Rethink the channel codes for each customer.Define marketing campaign codes. Then report easily on Sales by Channel by Customer as well as correlating the costs for marketing associated with those sales.
Purchase a Business Intelligence module that will present the analytics in a sharp and relevant fashion.
But the ERP team, including Jackson, had not wanted to spend the time to get the historical data aligned with a new set of codes. Nor had there been a desire to purchase another module for Business Intelligence.
Now he regretted that he hadn’t taken the time to focus on reporting. It would be a challenge to report on prior month’s Sales by Channel and have it align with current year information.
It seemed that the only way he was going to be able to deliver historical month-over-month Sales by Channel would be to go back and recode and analyze history and it would take time. Ironic because the reason for skipping this step previously had been to save time!
Jackson looked at the Business Intelligence module cost and sent a note to the CFO to suggest that they revisit the purchase, and soon.
Fortunately, Jackson had been using ‘project’ codes for each marketing campaign so that he could get a summary of spend by campaign. He specifically had wanted to show Charlene that the last campaign, focused on-line ads, could be associated to the recent spike upwards of eCommerce sales.
Sitting with the Business Intelligence test module, Jackson was able to show current year sales correlated to marketing spend. He invited Charlene to meet him in the conference room. Jackson pulled up the reports onto the screen and showed how the current year Sales by Channel stacked up. He cross-referenced the marketing spend.
Charlene was impressed; the reports looked sharp. She asked, “Can we see the same for the past 18 months?”
“Not yet,” mumbled Jackson, then perked up and said, "But the reports will look just like this in a few weeks and it will be real-time data. We’re now really using every part of the new ERP."
Charlene smiled and said, “Jackson, you DO know how to make this data sing!”
“Well, your wish is our command! To top it off, I can show you how our bet on the last marketing campaign is paying off – look at this chart!” and Jackson moved the screen to a chart that correlated Sales by Channel to the marketing campaign. “And with the new BI module, we will be able to see this report every week, and soon by SKU.”
“Very impressive,” said Charlene. Everyone smiled.
DRAW-ON was becoming a data-focused company. Moving away from downloads into Excel and forward into using Business Intelligence tools. A step into the right direction!
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