Mark Ballett is an ecommerce expert with more than 25 years’ experience helping retailers to grow and evolve. He was Supply Director of Cable & Wireless, and CEO of several telecoms companies at the beginning of the internet era, played a leading role in an £80M broadband start up, as well as leading Norweb Telecom's growth from £10M to £100m turnover.
Running an ecommerce business is hard work, especially when it is successful.
In the early years, it is easy to keep a close eye on pretty much everything that is going on.
But as sales increase, things begin to get more complicated. Work needs to be delegated, or it doesn’t get done.
Of course, delegation is a good thing and widely encouraged by advisors and management gurus. But it comes with a downside – you lose control of how things are done.
You have to trust other people and companies to do the things you once did yourself, or do things you do not understand, but are now essential.
This can be very stressful, especially when you begin to outsource services that can are a dark art, such as search engine optimisation and Google Ads.
There is nothing more disempowering than getting to the end of the month, reviewing your costs and not knowing which of them are creating value for the business.
How to Take Back Control
The feeling that you are losing control of your business and the fear and stress that comes with it are palpable.
The good news is that there are things that you can do about it.
You may lack the time, skills and experience to personally take charge of business activities, but you can learn how to evaluate them and hold people to account relatively easily.
The key to doing so is to use performance management.
What is Performance Management?
Performance management means nothing specific, it is just a term used to describe the process of overseeing your business activities with the goal of continuously improving the business.
It is relatively easy to implement. All you need to do is schedule a regular time where you sit down with the people in charge of a specific area of the business and review how things are progressing.
You don’t have to know how they do things in detail, but there does need to be a common understanding of the goals they are trying to achieve.
If you don’t know what these are, don’t beat yourself up about it; you have just found the perfect start point for improving your business!
Managing Google Ads
The key to effective performance management is to find metrics that can be used to evaluate the performance. These can’t be vanity metrics, like “impressions” or “clicks” they have to reflect the value of the activity to the business.
One function that is of often misunderstood is online advertising. It is not uncommon for businesses to spend large sums of money in return for not very much at all.
The goal of performance management is not to simply expose and humiliate staff and suppliers, it is to enable continuous improvement to your business.
That is why I am sometimes asked to look at the performance of Google Ads campaigns. It is much easier to do than you imagine.
Using Google Ads to good effect requires technical and analytical skills and experience. Measuring its performance is very easy, using a metric called “Return of Advertising Spend”.
All it means is how much money do you get in return for every pound spent on advertising. You calculate it as the Value of Sales / Cost of Advertising . Google should calculate it for you if you have it setup correctly.
Any acceptable figure depends on how much margin you make on each sale, but it is immediately apparent that any figure less than 1 means that you would be better off giving away your products away.
The goal of performance management is not to simply expose and humiliate staff and suppliers, though at times it will. It is to enable continuous improvement to your business.
Whether you outsource online marketing services or deliver them internally the process is the same. You should be looking at the results, reviewing activities and adjusting your plan.
If the team delivering the service is good at what they do, this process should be relatively easy to implement.
But it’s not just about them, you have to get your management style right.
Play too soft and your teams will hoodwink you. Play too hard and they will never tell you the truth. Either way the result is the same, wasted time and money.
We can help
If you want to implement performance management in your business, then we can show you how to review and improve important activities, such as Google Ads, Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation.
If that sounds interesting, call us today on 01932 450654 or email using the form below.