Do I really need to hire an Analytics Manager?

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Last week’s email blast launching your new product had a 28% open rate. However, the click-through rate was only 11% resulting in only 120 clicks on the company blog, 183 views of your “Products” page, and a measly 3 requests to schedule a demo. No one spent more than 57 seconds on any one page and even worse, not a single click converted to a sale!

As the Marketing and Social Media Manager overseeing everything from branding and web design to social media and lead generation, you were the one responsible for compiling this report. A big part of your job is to position your company and its team as “thought leaders” within your space, highlighting the unique aspects of your new products. Every week you create content to share with your audience, leveraging multiple platforms, and interacting with your audience as they “like, share and comment”. These results are embarrassing!

As the IT Manager, you’ve been looking forward to the launch of this new product for some time. Over the past few months, you’ve been tracking user trends on the site, updating the server to prepare for a surge in website clicks, and beefing up the eCommerce platform to support the influx of new orders. Needless to say, you are still waiting!your job is to position your company and its team as “thought leaders” within your space, highlighting the unique aspects of your new products. Every week you create content to share with your audience, leveraging multiple platforms, and interacting with your audience as they “like, share and comment”. These results are embarrassing!

As the Sales Manager, these numbers are more than frustrating. You have invested hundreds of hours connecting with legacy and potential clients, explaining how this new product will solve your customers’ problems, and how there is nothing else like it on the market. You’ve given top-notch presentations, listened attentively to your prospects’ concerns and answered all of their questions- yet your phone remains silent.

What went wrong? Who dropped the ball? Did the Marketing and Social Media Manager fail to use the verbiage and online channels that compel her audience to open emails and click throughs? Has IT failed to implement the right tools to keep the website running smoothly and quickly? Or was it Sales that fell short by not effectively outlining the benefits of this new product and failing to identify the right buyers?

It’s at this moment that it becomes clear – having a cross-functional, big picture Analytics Manager is essential in today’s global, ever-changing business world.  Anyone is capable of reading the raw numbers generated by a standard report. However, interpreting and synthesizing those numbers, creating a format that will translate into a usable action plan, is a bit more complicated.

The question most companies face is this: Does my business have enough online presence to warrant hiring an analytics professional and if I do hire one, where should she live? Is she part of the Marketing Department or would the company be better served if she worked under the Director of Sales? Intuitively, the implementation and translation of data is lumped in with IT. So perhaps this new analytics manager should be working under the CTO? Sales, Marketing, IT…oh my!

The answer: Based on the complexity of your business, you probably should hire an Analytics Manager, and she should ultimately work with everyone!
Analytics is one piece of a much larger puzzle: How does ABC Company, create, market and sell a product or service profitably and consistently? Wikipedia defines analytics perfectly: “Analytics is the discovery and communication of meaningful patterns in data”. These patterns touch multiple departments and therefore, should be a hybrid function that actually fosters cross-departmental interaction. Many would say that intra-departmental collaboration confuses a team and makes it more difficult to accomplish anything, creating a “too many chefs in the kitchen” scenario. However, with a little effort and internal dialogue, once you look at the impact this person can have across these various groups, it becomes clear that analytics can serve as the driving force behind enhanced collaboration.

Obviously, no individual can effectively report to three different managers, and ultimately your company will need to select one primary leader (we recommend marketing), but here is what a successful Analytics Manager might accomplish.

Before launching the aforementioned campaign, an in depth analysis of customer traffic could be implemented. The new Analytics Manager would spend time working with sales and marketing, extracting data about the types of questions being asked by prospects, identifying the most frequented pages on the site, and analyzing the average number of touch points per customer before a purchase is made (e.g. demos, in person meetings, phone calls, number of white paper downloads, etc). Additional research might be conducted to determine the optimum time of day to share content, who the typical buyer is within each customer, what social platforms and industry groups they frequent and the number of days between contract submittal and approval. This data can also be broken out by product line, geography, sales associate or any other relevant criteria to further enhance profitability. Post sale, the Analytics Manager will engage with each customer, gathering information about their experience integrating and applying your product, their level of satisfaction (e.g. Net Promoter Score), and the average number of change orders/returns/modifications.

The results of these real time, in depth analyses, can now be utilized across departments to enhance customer satisfaction post sale, while accelerating customer adoption and sales earlier in the process. Bringing the Director of Marketing together with the Director of Sales in a weekly meeting to discuss current trends, will allow for a more streamlined process of attracting, closing and retaining business. Not only does it determine where marketing and sales efforts should be directed, it identifies untapped opportunities. Based on recorded visitor and customer activity, Marketing is now able to create campaigns aimed specifically at the audience most likely to purchase your highest margin products, with the fewest touch points. Sales is now empowered to emphasize certain products, features and solutions, based on the buying habits of that particular sector or geography. Customer service is better prepared for issues that might arise for a given product or type of customer, and IT is now focusing on the most important aspects of their infrastructure, based on more accurate forecasts and customer buying habits.

While it is easy for departments to act independently, focusing only on “their job”, today’s global, always-connected marketplace won’t allow that to continue. Being able to identify, track, reach and engage your company’s audience is essential for continued growth. If analytics is utilized as a customer-centric, hybrid function that supports multiple departments, it will greatly enhance the efficiency of your sales and marketing process, while creating strong ties between various departments and internal stakeholders.

About the Authors
Ken Schmitt is the President and Founder of TurningPoint Executive Search and the Sales Leadership Alliance. Specializing in placing sales, marketing and operations professionals across the country, Ken’s 16 years of recruiting experience have equipped him with the knowledge to serve as a thought partner to his clients for all recruiting, hiring and human capital-related initiatives. Ken sits on the board of Junior Achievement, the American Marketing Association, the San Diego HR Roundtable and is an Advisory Board Member for San Diego Sports Innovators (SDSI).

Vicky Willenberg has served as the Social Media Manager for TurningPoint since 2011. In 2014, she was elevated to Digital Marketing Manager, broadening her participation across all things digital for the firm. A former teacher with a Masters in Education, Vicky is an active and published blogger at The Pursuit of Normal and a marketing professional. She has her finger on the pulse of the latest trends in the recruiting, hiring and leadership sectors.

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