At Zoho, we believe in eating our own dog food. Our CEO spoke on this topic with Ramon Ray of Smallbiztechnology.com. We have had posts before explaining how Zoho Creator is put to good use in Zoho Corp. In this post, we’ll see how Zoho Reports is being used by our Sales/Marketing teams for tracking sign-ups, marketing spend and sales numbers. This will be useful & relevant for any company/startup that offer software as service (like what Zoho does). As you know, successful businesses effectively track their daily numbers.
Let’s start with the daily sign-ups. The data comes from our Zoho User Management system. Zoho Reports, thanks to its Data Import API, allows us to get the new user sign-ups and sign-in (existing user logins) data into a reporting database automatically (it’s scheduled to import data everyday). Below is what our Daily Sign-ups report looks like.
Note: The data in the reports are mocked up and are not real numbers.
You can see the troughs are during the weekends when sign-up activity is low. The highs are due to the service being featured in famous sites; say, TechCrunch (Mar 7, 2009), Hacker News (Apr 23, 2009), Digg (Jul 8, 2009) etc. To make that chart a bit more readable, let’s make the sign-ups appear week/month-wise. Let’s see how the weekly sign-ups have been in 2010.
When you look at 2010 alone, with the set time period as weekly, you get to see the detailed trend for this year. Sign-ups show a growing trend, which is obviously good for business.
Let’s now compare the sign-ups of last year and this year.
That gives you an idea of how in 2009, the total weekly sign-ups trend has actually been higher than in 2010. Why this happened can be explored and corrective actions taken. It’s good that the trend is almost catching up with 2009’s and have a high chance of continuing to grow in the coming months.
There is the other number that you will be tracking too – Sign-ins (how many people login to the service daily). This is a very strong indicator of the stickiness of your service and the potential to make revenue (the more indispensable you become, the more successful you become). Like with sign-ups, the sign-in data comes from our Zoho User Management System as well. Let’s now compare how the monthly sign-ins compare with sign-ups.
Not bad. As we get more new people to sign-up daily, some of them are finding value in our service & continuing to use it, resulting in the upward trend of sign-ins. Since the upward trend isn’t that steep, we can explore further what more we need to do to make the service more sticky & useful for the new comers.
Let’s now see how much the spend is to get all that traffic – the marketing expenses. Web start-ups typically spend to get traffic from SEO (appointing an SEO agency to tweak your web pages) and SEM (advertise
via search engine related campaigns like Google Adwords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, Microsoft adCenter, banner ads in web publications etc).
And to know how effective your marketing is, you should be comparing your marketing figures with that of sales. We take our sales figures from Zoho CRM. You may be having it in a spreadsheet or in some third-party app & that can be imported into Zoho Reports easily.
That should give you an idea of how the marketing spend has affected sales. Not bad at all, as a fraction of sales is being spent for marketing and as the marketing spend increases, so has sales. You might want to explore why the dip in marketing spend in December 2009 didn’t affect sales (actually, it grew).
As you can see, all the above data – sign-ups/ins, marketing spend, sales – are from different systems. Sign-ups/ins from the web app, marketing spend from SEM providers & other marketing channels and sales from your online store, spreadsheets or CRM. Let’s see what value Zoho Reports brings in for you.
- It allows you to collate & centrally maintain data from disparate sources in an easy way.
- It helps you to create all sorts of reports & dashboards easily through a drag-and-drop inteface.
- As you can have multiple people handling marketing and sales, Zoho Reports’ collaboration features enables you to work together as a team, in data analysis and creation of reports easily.
- It helps you to easily share the reports and dashboards online with your business colleagues (no emailing of reports as attachments!)
- Intuitive Reports and Dashboards help you & your team see how your business is performing and take action based on visual analysis of different trends.
You can put all the above data in a single Marketing/Sales dashboard. The one we have explained is just a basic example. And of course, it is not just for web start-ups. You can analyze your physical goods sales data, downloads of your software products etc (marketing & sales data of any business can be analyzed). You can further classify your Marketing campaigns into various categories (online, radio, print etc), and Sales according to different reps/regions. You then get a clear picture of how effective each of your marketing spends are and how your Sales department is performing.
We would love to hear from you, our real customers, on how you use Zoho Reports for your business analytics and reporting. Mail us about your experience/usage at support at zohoreports dot com.
Sign up now to Zoho Reports for free and start tracking your business numbers, in a much better & easy way.