Impossible now to look out my home office windows in Vermont. Snow drifts cover the window, and even if I were crazy enough to try to shovel them away, the 50 feet between the windows and the driveway is one giant ice cube of snow packed 3 feet deep. Spring? Maybe in August. My great-grandfather Horace, who lived up the road a piece in the town of Poultney during the late 1800's , wrote often about living in Vermont with its 11 months of winta' and one month of damn poor sleddin'.
Stratton has had 139 inches of snow this year, but who's counting? Well, the mountain management is, the whacko, overly-addicted skiers and riders like me are, and then, there's all of us on the hill who measure just about everything with enough computing power contained in our devices, apps and cameras mounted on our ski helmets that we could have captained an Apollo space mission. Last weekend, I was just thinking about the average "badge-of-honor metrics" that are displayed in real time on every skier's Ski Tracks app ...
- # of days on the hill
- average speed/top speed/run
And then there's the video and the photos that get directly uploaded from our helmet cams and positioned exactly to ski trails mapped by GPS locators that copy our turns on each trail.
And...oh, yea, then there's the exhileration of taking in the beauty of a non-digital picture-perfect, blue sky Vermont winta' day.
Balancing the art and the beauty of Vermont with the science and the fun of understanding the metrics of what we do on the hill has added a new dimension to skiing and riding.
One of the best events that I ever experienced at Stratton occurred just this past weekend with The 24 Hour Challenge, a fundraising event for The Stratton Foundation where we clocked hours, vertical feet, fastest runs, and money raised, and then correlated all of that by rider, skier, teams, age, gender and every possible combination all through embedded card swipes and GPS tracking. Of course, a number of people did the full 24 and the winner ended up with 85,000 vertical feet. I was lucky enough to survive the midnight to 4:00 AM shift under the lights and ended up nowhere near that number. A great event, a great cause, and made that much more fun because of the data tracking.
Data is all around us. Big Data, whatever that is, and, I guess therefore, "little data", capture everything that we do and plan to do, and there's no better place to use and apply data than in the fast paced and rapidly changing world of sales and marketing metrics.
For example, Marketing data from this recent HBR article clearly shows that social media, still in its infancy, is highly effective. But, we already knew that from the standard tracking of lead gen campaigns through platforms such as HubSpot. Take data analysis to a much more refined level, and we learn that Marketers commonly measure the performance of each of their marketing activities as if they work independently of one another—so called swim-lane measurement. Dig down further into that data, and we learn that most swim-lane measurements grossly underestimate the revenues attributable to social-media marketing and display advertising while overestimating PR and paid-search revenue. Without the ability to do detailed data analysis, we would continue to throw marketing money everywhere we could on the hope that something would stick. Since we've already discovered that that practice is not very productive and typically results in a serious loss in sales traction, we should all fully embrace the fact that in all marketing and sales decisions today, data rules.
And yet in the world of Sales, something as simple as the consistent and proactive adoption of the use of CRM systems continues to result in only fair to poor results. When one looks at adoption rates by a salesforce of their CRM systems, the 2012 results from
Sirius Decisions are...
- Only 43% of all salesforces have better than a 90% CRM adoption use
- And 19% have adoption rates of 76-90%
- And another 19% have adoption rates of 51-75%
- And then everyone else is below a 50% adoption rate.
Improving, but still very poor results, and yet, if we believe in the importance and criticality of data in optimizing and enabling our salespeople, it all begins with, not just the use, but the full adoption of our CRM platforms. There's just simply no other way to optimize our sales productivity without useful data and the sliced and diced analytics that go with it. Said another way, not to fully adopt a CRM platform is like playing tennis with no net. We had a good workout, we played hard, but we have no idea whether we improved or not.
I expect that by now you've racked up a very positive Q1. Congratulations!!!
Let's turn the page in the calendar over the weekend and move into Q2-for me the most critical of all of the quarters of the year.
It's that time of year again, when I'm searching for six company projects for my seniors and juniors marketing class at Tufts for the fall semester. For the last six years, I've had the privilige of being a professor of Marketing at Tufts in a fast-paced, highly interactive course where the students are continuously immersed in the real world of today's marketing strategies, tactics and tools.
One of the means through which this is accomplished is that six teams of five students are focused for the 13 week semester on completing complex marketing projects for companies in the NE geography. These no-cost projects vary widely from developing market research reports, to new product launches, to creating full marketing plans for small and middle market businesses.
If you are at all interested in participating for the fall semester, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will send you an outline of what's involved.