Have you ever tried to figure out how to increase revenue without increasing your investment? Or maybe how to cut cost without sacrificing your revenue goals? The answer to both of these questions is optimization. This blog post will help you define what optimization is and how it is being used in industry today. It will also serve as an introduction to a series of blog posts on how you can use optimization in your marketing and sales business areas to increase conversion rates and drive revenue.
Optimization – “the action of making the best or most effective use of a situation or resource.”
Optimization has several meanings depending on who you ask. A computer scientist might think about optimizing code for performance, a marketer might think about search engine optimization (SEO), and a mathematician might think about the simplex method. A quick Google search for optimization, however, returns this definition, “[optimization is] the action of making the best or most effective use of a situation or resource.” It is quickly followed by a bunch of links to technical pages. While the definition seems pretty straight forward, the technical nature of this topic tends to scare people away. It shouldn’t. While the math can be a little daunting, most of it is abstracted away with advanced analytics software packages. At its core, optimization is simply about finding the best way forward for your business. More importantly, it is accessible to you for use across many business areas.
Optimization has a rich history of application that dates back to the military in WWII. It has since been used across many domains to include: finance, manufacturing, telecom, and transportation. Many Fortune 1000 companies have the capacity to use optimization to inform strategic decisions. Only recently, however, has technology improved enough to make optimization easily accessible to small and mid-sized companies. Specifically, we at ORM focus on how to deploy optimization for your sales and marketing organizations.
You may be saying to yourself, “I work for a mid-sized company, what can optimization do for my sales and marketing teams?” The first question you need to ask is do you want to increase revenue, or cut cost? In either case, optimization has routinely demonstrated 15% improvement and sometimes much more. You can increase revenue by 15% without additional investment, or you can reduce cost by 15% while still hitting your revenue goals.
Here are two ways you can use optimization in your sales and marketing organizations:
Optimal Sales Resource Plan – Several of our recent blog posts have been about Multi-Year Sales Planning and Sales Efficiency, both of which lay the foundation for sales resource planning. The goal of this optimization is to allocate your sales resources in a way that minimizes cost while still meeting your revenue goals. The result is a plan that tells you how to grow your sales team at the minimum cost, or how much additional revenue to expect from your existing team.
Optimal Marketing Mix – If you have a marketing automation platform, or a disciplined way to track your marketing programs, then you have enough data to optimize your marketing mix. The optimal marketing mix refers to how to best spread your marketing investment to increase conversion rates to qualified leads and to won deals, which drive revenue.
An optimization model will recommend to you a plan that identifies the best way forward for your business. Just as important, is the ability to use optimization to perform what-if analysis. One of the greatest values that comes from using this advanced analytics tool is that you can see what happens if you change your strategy. For example, you decide to increase your revenue target for the next year from $60M to $62M, a sales resource plan can quickly tell you how many additional people you will need to hire, how much those hires will increase your sales cost, and how much you should expect in increase sales margin.
If you want to increase your revenue without increasing your investment it means that you have to do something different. Optimization is what you need to make that change. Do not be afraid of using optimization in your business. Our software makes it as easy as identifying your goals and then clicking a button. Once you embrace this technique you will be able to quickly identify the best way forward for your business.
For more information on optimization, our Optimization for Sales and Marketing white paper offers insight as to how it can cut costs and generate revenue in your marketing and sales organizations.