Are you an entrepreneur or business owner struggling to increase your revenue? If so, you are not alone. I understand how difficult it can be to figure out how to make more money, especially when you don’t know what you don’t know. I share my personal story of how I increased my revenue by tracking data and outline the steps I took to do so. You’ll learn the benefits of tracking data in business, why it’s important to track total revenue, sales, and expenses, and how to set up a system to track profit and pay yourself. Don’t miss out on this chance to unlock your business success and increase revenue!
Now, I have to admit, this has not been one of my best areas. When I look back over, you know, the years that I’ve been in business, there have been times when I’ve been really good and there have been times when, frankly, I stuck my head in the sand and I’ve been known to say that Ostrich leadership doesn’t work. And the same is true for tracking in your business. So on today’s episode, I would love to take a moment and let’s talk about some of the things that you may consider tracking in your business. Now, granted, everyone’s business is at a different place.
So again, take the things that make sense for this year, but then also start to think about what are the things that I may want to track in the years to come. Now, here’s one of the reasons why this has become so important to me, and that is because I remember the years, and I do mean years with an S when I wasn’t really tracking a whole lot in my business and I couldn’t really understand why I wasn’t seeing the results that I wanted to see. Now, granted, part of that is the activity that you’re doing, your strategies and all of that, but sometimes it really is just basic things to help you in tracking in your business. For example, no lie, I was wondering why I could not get past a certain threshold as I started to look. So first I had to track, right, started tracking what my monthly revenue was, how much money was actually coming into my business.
And I started to notice that I wasn’t getting above a certain amount each month. And it would be crazy stuff sometimes like a contract or an invoice would be delayed to actually get signed or be paid in the next month. It was just some really strange things going on. But first I had to start tracking it. So prior to that, I was not tracking that consistently.
It would be kind of all willing nilly, but I set up my system and I actually started to track how much revenue came in each month. And if you want a tracker, if you’re not already doing that, head over to Sell like a lady.com. Go to Resources, and we have a tracker there for you that you can grab and you can do what you need to do with so that you can at least start tracking how much money is coming in each month, right? So that was the first thing that I started to do. And when I started doing that, I noticed that, again, I wasn’t getting above this monthly threshold.
So I went to my council at the time like, I don’t know what’s going on. I’m doing the things, we’re making progress, money is coming. But I’m really noticing that I really do have a ceiling here. And we went through some different exercises around mindset, but again, it was some of that with some simple stuff like, again, just what are you seeing? And again, what else are you tracking?
So we started to kind of shift those things and almost immediately I know it wasn’t, but it really did feel that way done, right, it just went away in terms of now I have this new income ceiling and a new threshold. I bust through that with Hallelujah and now bringing in more and more and more revenue each month. Right. But again, that only came because that was something that I started tracking and then I was able to be strategic about whether it was a mindset thing, whether it was a business systems thing. So, Nadiaa, do you need to look at your systems and maybe shift how you’re onboarding your new clients?
Because, again, sometimes, like I said, it was just an invoice. It had that invoice been paid when it should have been paid, that particular month would have totally exceeded that income threshold. But because it didn’t, it rolled over into the next month. Right? So, again, when you start tracking these things, you’ll then be able to start to see a lot of trends that just really will help you to make business decisions.
So once we started doing that, so now we’re tracking regular revenue over the years. I can now go back and I can look at what quarters, right? So one thing that we also started to notice was that Q One was typically the worst quarter. January was the worst month. I don’t know why.
It just became one of those things. You look at the month and you look year over year over year, and then you start to see, okay, quarter by quarter. And then it was like, okay, January is the interesting month, we’ll call it, right? And so it was like, okay, we had a couple of decisions that we could make. One is we could just make sure that Q Four, that previous year would be strong enough, if you will, revenue wise, to carry the company through and make no changes or make changes so that we position in January or Q One to be a month that’s more revenue generating.
And you have to remember, our business model at the time was really mostly not really mostly oil, gas, mostly, with majority, big majority of sales support for other companies. So a lot of that income was commission based. And then we did a little bit of training, very little. So it was like, okay, we can shift some of the training around. We could adjust how much.
And that’s where we’re now at this stage, is adjusting the percentage of income that comes from done for you, sales versus training and consulting. So we readjusted like the percentages. So those balanced out. But again, looking time wise, we also had to make those adjustments. So I’m sharing this level of detail with you because as you look at your own business model.
And I understand not everyone’s business model is like ours, but looking at what adjustments do we need to make and how do we best position the business so that the cash flow is cash flowing when we need it to, right? And we’re able to make sure our team is supported, we’re able to make sure we can make investments when we need to make them. But a lot of that you won’t be able to do without the data. And that is why tracking is so important. So if you haven’t already written that one down, you definitely want to make sure you start to track total revenue.
And that is just cash coming in. So that’s my definition of revenue, just cash coming in then to track total sales. So I get this question a lot. Okay, Doctor Nadia, wait a second. You just said revenue and now you’re talking about sales?
Well, many of us offer our clients the opportunity or the option to do payments. Not all of us, but many of us do. And so with that, that means that you’ll make a sale. So for example, this is say 30,000, right? The sale is 30,000.
That’s a total that that client will pay you over the period, whatever that payment period is that you’ve extended to them. And so with that, that’s a total sale. But say they decide to do a payment plan and to keep the math simple, they’re going to do a three pay of 10,000. Not bad, right? So at that particular time, depending on when you’re tracking it, your total sale was 30,000, your total revenue was ten at the initial point of sale.
And then of course, because you have great clients, they’re going to pay the other 20 as agreed upon your payment terms, right? So maybe three months, they’ll pay the total and that’ll be it. So you’ll track that revenue as it comes in, once that particular client makes those other two payments. Now of course, if your payment terms are different, you’ll make those adjustments, right? So now you have that in there for you to be able to look at and to be able to track.
And it’s really important because you’ll also start to see if you’re having any challenges with collection, right? So we don’t like to talk about this a lot, but it does happen to where people will say, I’m in for this $30,000. They may start making the payments and then for whatever reason, they don’t finish the payment. So again, as you’re beginning to track this, you’ll have it in black and white where you can see what that number truly is and that amount. Maybe it’s something that you want to be concerned about, or maybe it’s a thing that happens here and there and it’s not a big issue.
Thankfully for us, it hasn’t been a huge issue. But because of the clients that I support, I’ve learned over the years to definitely pay attention to that. Because of course in our business that does trickle down, right? So you want to just pay attention to that, start to track it, and then once you have that data, you can decide if there are any changes that you want or desire to make. Now, one thing I have seen some clients do, because for whatever reason or they found either it was personal preference or they found that this would have been an issue, then they have adjusted their payment terms.
So for example, they have a twelve month, 1518 month program. And normally they may have allowed people to make payments over the 1215 or 18 months. And when they’ve done the data and they looked at the data as they’ve done their tracking and they’re like, I don’t like this rate of where we are having people fall off. Then they’ve decided to shorten it. So they still extend payment options.
But instead of allowing twelve payments for a twelve month program, maybe they only allow ten. They may require a larger upfront initial payment. So instead of it being divided equally, there may be a big lump sum due at the beginning with smaller monthly over a shorter period of time. We have some they’re like, no, they’ve been contracted with a third party company to then be the lender. So that person is required to then go through and get the lump sum amount from this third party.
They then are paid the full amount upfront and then their clients pay the third party over a certain amount of time based upon whatever they work out. They’re not in it, it they just get the money. They don’t have to worry about collection and they have to worry about any of that stuff. So again, you have options. But a lot of times you won’t know what makes the most sense until you do the tracking.
You start to really track it. You start to look at your business, you start to look at the decisions that you need to make in your business, the investments you want to make, your team payroll. Like all of those things make a huge difference as you start to make these decisions based on how you want to do your collection. And again, your sales systems are really important. A very big part of this, right?
So you want to look at that.
Another piece is expenses. How much money is going out. Now this one, sometimes when I bring it up it feels like duh. But I tell you, I kid you not, there’s so many times people do not know how much money is going out. And a lot of times it’s not the big things because we usually will keep the big things.
Like we were working with a coach or we have payroll. Like those tend to be big. But what about the little things? That little active campaign or another JotForm or type former those little systems that we have that year that we’re paying money for each month or annually, because some of us have annuals. Those have caught me off guard and I’m like, Crap, I’ll have to put on my calendar, not even remember, this money is going to come out each year.
But think about, what are those numbers? So you know you’re tracking it, but then also, do you even need it? So I recommend at least annual, at least annually to go through and say, okay, do we still need these systems? Do they make sense? Sometimes we have systems that are doing duplicate work.
It makes absolutely no sense to have them. And so you have to go back and make the adjustment. So, for example, last year we decided to implement and start leveraging Dubsado initially was for our podcast, and it just made it really simple. And the team that we’re working with, that’s what they recommended. However, Dubsado has some duplicate capabilities for some of the other systems that we’re using.
And so this year, some of those systems, because those were annual, we have a note that we won’t renew with those because then we can shift that functionality over to Dub Soto. So again, sometimes you make a decision and it makes sense for that particular piece. And then you need to take the time, if not annually, I recommend maybe quarterly so that you can catch it sometimes faster. And then you can say, okay, we don’t necessarily need this moving forward. We don’t have to renew.
That gives you time to make any adjustments or transfer any data, download any data you need, right, in order as you’re moving forward. So you want to make sure that you’re paying attention to those pieces, because what you’re tracking, again, really makes a huge difference. And you want to pay attention to any money leaks that are going in. And it’s not always on the sales side. Sometimes it’s on the expense side, and we’re just paying money out for no reason, right?
Do you want to take the time to have either yourself or someone on your team to do that at least annually, to take a moment, look at all the systems, all the money we have going out, and then is there anything that we don’t need? Is there any system or process that we implemented this year that has now created a duplicate right. In a different system area? And can we now kind of consolidate? So it just made more sense for us to say, you know what, based on how our systems are set up now, it just makes sense to just say, you know what, we don’t need this.
We can go ahead and consolidate this in Dubsado because it does the same thing. We’re already paying for it, we’re using it, definitely, and we don’t have to pay this money out. So just take a moment to pay attention and make those decisions. Sometimes it makes sense sometimes to consolidate. Sometimes it makes sense to keep both.
But once you’ve had a chance to actually look at it, review the data, make an informed decision, now you can feel good about paying whatever that is based on the expenses that come up in your business. Another thing is profit, right? That went down profit. So you have sales, you have revenue, you have profit. How much money is left over in the business, and then how much money do you actually get to take home as an employee or a team member or the owner of the business?
Right. How much money do you take home? Whether you pay yourself an annual salary, some of my clients, or even myself, we’re salaried where we take on a regular paycheck. Some people don’t feel comfortable doing payroll just yet, so they may have regular draws that they make. But how much money do you actually get to bring home into your home?
Not from your business, but you get to bring home personally for the work that you’re doing in your business. And I encourage you, if you’re not paying yourself yet, figure out a way to pay yourself, even if it isn’t your big salary just yet. Because you do so much work in your business to make your business work, that what you don’t want to do is even if your payroll or your salary isn’t where you want it just yet, that you’re at least acknowledging the work that you’re doing because you don’t want to then grow to resent your business. I’m doing all this work. I have nothing to show for it.
I’m paying everyone else, everyone, and I’m the one that’s not getting paid. That is a horrible feeling. Trust me. Been there, got a couple of t-shirts for that, right? I was like, at one point, it was so crazy.
I was like, wait, what? I get to pay myself. It was insane. I remember having that conversation up to that point. It never really dawned on me that, Nadiaa, I know you’re the creator, the founder, or whatever, however you do work in this business, and you would have never in your wildest dreams have dreamed of going to a regular job and working the way that you work and not come home with a check.
A really good one, right? So it’s like, what is wrong with me? So, again, you’re having that moment as well. Trust me, you’re in good company, and I encourage you to put yourself in the rotation of people that get paid. Okay.
And there’s some other data. As you’re looking at KPIs, as you’re looking at things that you want to track. Here are just some ideas, again, based on your business, based on how your team is set up, things that you may want to consider tracking over this next year to come. One is just the number of qualified leads. A lot of us are doing a lot of different activities in our marketing, and we may have an actual marketing budget.
So then we want to look at, based on that particular budget and what different strategies we’re leveraging, whether it’s ads and all different types of ads that you can leverage, whether you’re paying to speak or participate in expos or whatever that is, how are those dollars actually tangible? Returning a revenue ROI. So return on your investment, right? So when you look at that, so first do you have a marketing budget? And then you want to start to look at how is that actually working?
What is the number of qualified leads that’s coming in based on that particular marketing strategy? How many clients do we actually eventually get? And sometimes this isn’t short tracking. Sometimes it’s over a period of time. So that’s why it’s important to also understand your actual sales cycle and how definitive milestones to where you know that a person has gone from maybe a qualified lead to what I would consider that a prospect.
So we separate it out, there’s a lead, and then they have a prospect. And there are things that we will identify based on the actions that that person has taken to where they shift. And then once they’re a prospect, they actually move into our pipeline. And now we’re really tracking those dollars and that thing. So you have to take a moment to think through your own sales system, your own sales process, and say, okay, what does this look like?
So that it makes it easier for you to be able to track it. But if you’re doing things and you’re marketing and you’re not tracking, are we getting qualified leads? And this is why I harp on qualifications so much. Again, for many years, we’ve done majority it’s all done for you sales, right? And so a lot of what we’ve done is supporting clients.
And I can tell when the leads are qualified or not. So then as a salesperson or as a sales team, you want to make sure to the best of your ability and the things that you’re doing in your marketing are bringing in more qualified leads, whether you have a team or not. Because if you don’t have a team, that means you’re the one talking to these people and you’re the one having the sales conversations. You’re the one doing the closing. And it’s the same thing.
I have people that will come to me, and they’re like, Dr. Nadiaa. I have people who are raising their hands, if you will, they’re scheduling or we’re having a conversation, but they’re not closing. I don’t feel like they’re qualified. I feel like they’re tire kickers that leads to a certain level of frustration and disappointment, and we don’t want that.
So, again, as you’re continuing to track, as you’re continuing to pay attention to the activities that you’re doing, you want to then have some sort of KPI, some sort of key performance indicator that this is actually working the way I want it to work. And then if not, then we either need to tweak it. Because again, I know in marketing there’s a tweaking and testing and all of that kind of stuff. But then also do we need to just mix this? Especially we have multiple strategies and you’re paying out marketing dollars.
You may say, you know what, we’re going to take the money that we would have put over here doing X and we’re going to now add that to the Y budget because Y is working far better. And I feel like we put more money behind it, we’ll get better results. But again, you won’t know until you start to track. So along those same lines, cost per new lead, again, looking at your programs, do you have a 197 offer or a $50,000 offer? Again, that will definitely because you have a 197 offer or let’s just say you have a $27 offer.
We have a $20 book, right? So at one point we did, we were doing ads and I’m looking at cost per lead. Are we closing? Is anyone buying it? Because it’s $20, right?
So depending on what that number is, it’s not making any sense for us to continue using this particular strategy in this particular way. If the cost per lead is like $10 and the product is 20, now if the product is or service is 50,000 and the cost per lead is $10 or more, then that’s different. So again, you want to take the time, look at your business, look at your entire sales process, your entire sales system, and do the numbers make sense? Because a lot of times we’re doing stuff, we saw something, we got excited, we heard something on social media or a podcast or our coach. And it’s like looking at the numbers, this doesn’t make sense.
What adjustments do we need to make to make it make sense and to make it work for you? Number of new clients. Again, tracking that the number of new clients. I mentioned this earlier, but time spent in the pipeline. This is one where I feel like we dropped the ball a lot.
And I say we because I am not immune to getting a patient and wanting to skip this process. So one of the reasons why we invest the amount of time, energy, and effort and money into our marketing effort, into generating new leads is because we understand that our buyers are at different stages when they first are introduced to us. Some people are, I know I have a problem and I need to fix it now. Others are, I don’t even know I have a problem, right? Or I think I have a problem, I’m not really sure what it is or it doesn’t hurt bad enough, right?
So they come in all of these different stages, which means they’re not all going to buy right away for whatever reason. There are number a of reasons why people don’t buy right away doesn’t matter. What we do need to do and what we can control and do a better job of is making sure that our sales system is designed to support them through their buying journey, not ours. We have our own buyer journey. We have our own ideas around who people should do what they should do with their resources, but we don’t get to dictate that.
Okay? But what we can do is better support them through that buying journey and understanding how long people truly spend in the pipeline. And most people don’t know. They don’t know how much time they spend in the pipeline. They don’t know how much is waiting in the pipeline.
They just don’t know. So what do you mean, Dr. Nadiaa? We’re really typically really good with the initial to somebody, whatever our process is, and they initially come in and we have that initial whatever presentation, meeting conversation, great. But if they don’t buy immediately, they get lost in the sauce.
Right? And so what happens is we just forget about them. We don’t have the support or the systems to set up to support them moving through their own process to get them to the yes. If they’re a yes or a no, they’re no. Right?
And what that means is a lot of times we forget to follow up for people who aren’t ready right now, for people who something came up. Like recently I was having sales conversations about a particular product and service, and then I had a death in the family and I was like, Wait, what? I wasn’t present. I wasn’t able or ready to make a decision in that moment because I was too emotional. And so again, people are there.
So what happens once you move through the grief, you move through the emotion, you’re ready to get back on track. Is your sales system designed to meet that person, to pick up where you left off in a respectful, non manipulative, non, overly aggressive way that’s going to support them through the buying decision? This is something I really want. I really do plan to circle back with them and support them, but also in going through my own process a lot because it’s based on the work that I do, I’m like, okay, Nadiaa, we’re in your own sales system. Are we just not 100% there yet where we really could do a better job?
When people have life thrown at them, right. And they need to take a pause from that particular conversation so that we can support them through that. Sometimes it’s not like sometimes we just don’t have the resources yet. We didn’t realize what this investment was going to look like. We need a moment.
And what a moment could be six months, a year? We need some time to pull the resources together. We see the value of this. Do we know that this can move us forward? So again, does your sales system support them through moving through that so that when they get to the yes, and they’re ready to move forward, you’re the person that they get to work with, they have the opportunity and privilege to work with you.
You’ve been doing all this work up to this point, so making sure that you understand your sales cycle and again, when you have a better understanding of your sales cycle and I know some of those, not all, but some, not everyone’s going to have a death in the family at that exact moment, right? But some of those are outliers and some of them are not. And so understanding that will help you to make different decisions based on your understanding of your own sales cycle, your own sales pipeline. And when you don’t have that critical data and you don’t understand that, it makes it challenging. Because sometimes it’s not that your ideas or your strategies aren’t great or that they aren’t working, it’s that you don’t realize they just need more time.
And you won’t know that until you start tracking that data to have a better understanding of what’s going on in your business and in your sales cycle. And then you’re like, oh, we just need to keep going. We got done three more months before we can really start to see any real movement in our business. And so that’s definitely true, depending on the type of clients you sell to, depending on the price point of your particular offer for whatever it is, you really need to understand that so that you can make those decisions. So you’re not over here trying to sell a 60 year service and you’re basing your results based on someone that’s selling a $27 tripwire.
Two completely different processes, two completely different sales cycles, your pipelines are going to look very different and you need to understand that. So again, as I mentioned about your pipeline, knowing the number of deals that you have pending, why are they pending? Whether that’s with you as a sole salesperson or with your sales team, is there any support that you can give the team or anything for yourself, right, to help you close those deals? Why are they pending? What’s going on?
So having those regular check ins with your team is really important. What other training or support might they need? Are there any materials that you can create that are more part of your marketing efforts to help, again, to really enable the buyer to make a more informed decision quicker so that we can actually shorten the sales cycle, if that’s possible? So again, when you understand all of this information, all of this data, and again, I want you to also understand that some of this data will come after years. It’s only now that we’ve been doing this for years that I can go back and start to see the trends and then notice.
Okay. The numbers tell a story. Oh, this year we did something different that impacted our numbers this year, right? So again, as you’re tracking, that’s why tracking is so important and why I really want you to make a commitment to whether you only track three things this year or you track twelve. Find the things that make the most sense for where you are right now in your business and where you want to go.
Because then you have real, actual data to help support the decisions you’re making. And you’re not just making these willy nilly decisions because it’s emotional or it sounds good. You have factual data from your own business to support you in making financial decisions and making investments and determine who you hire. It makes a huge difference. And then finally, I’ll just close out for this particular episode, is your actual close ratio, whether that’s yours or your teams?
Again, paying attention to all these different aspects of it. How is your team, where are the leads coming from, where they’re able to close them quicker versus when it takes longer rates? Are there partners that you’re partnering with if you have strategic partners or JV partners or affiliate partners that are better than others, right? Some do what they say they’re going to do, some don’t do that. Again, these are all things, depending on how your business is set up, that you will want to start to track.
And as you’re tracking it, it will help you to eventually make informed decisions. Whether you continue on that same path, the data looks good, we’re going to continue on this path, or you’re like, okay, we need to make some adjustments so that we can start to see different results. And it’s really true. If you have a sales team, you’re thinking about hiring a sales team that you have KPIs. So you understand some of this data before you hire your sales team.
Because sometimes you hire people, you have zero data. You have zero understanding, really, of how things work. You’re going off a gut hunch, but you haven’t fully looked at the full picture by looking at all of your numbers. And then you hold your team to a standard that does not make sense based on how your business is set up, based on the strategies that you’re implementing, based on your current systems and where you’re going. And so in order to really hire a solid team to really support them, to do well for you to operate and just knock it out the park, it’s really important that you understand how your business works.
And then it’s also important that you are able to communicate to your team that these are the things that we’re going to be tracking. This is the feedback that I would love to get from team. Because we see one thing and people react to us one way as the founder, they may not react the same way to our team, but our team is going to see things differently as well. To be able to take their feedback and their input and to make adjustments as well based upon that. So it’s really important that as you’re continuing to grow, as you’re continuing to scale, as you’re continuing to move in your business, that you want to have a good understanding of these different numbers, understanding that some of these are going to be new.
You’re going to need to give it some time, set a time limit. 30 days, 90 days, six months. Right? And then you just start to track it, see where you would like it to be. Is that reasonable?
What adjustments might we need to make? Or you may say, let’s just give it a little bit more time. Let’s see kind of how this goes so that you have a better understanding of the numbers and of that big picture before you start making drastic shifts in your business that will help you to keep from going from here to here to here. And you can really start to implement systems and processes and strategies and really have a better understanding and grasp. And you’re not trying to jump on all the latest trends in your business.
You’re able to really just have a steady business that can weather any economic storm because you have a better understanding of how things work for your business, for your ideal clients, and how your team can best support them moving forward. Okay, I know this is a lot. Go back, listen to it, because I’m telling you, this is a game changer. And the better we’ve gotten at tracking, identifying things that we need to have an understanding of, it enables me to make more informed, better informed decisions. It keeps us out of that, oh, my God.
Oh, my gosh, we got to implement something now. It keeps you out of creating this instant cash. It keeps you out of that frenzy to the best of your ability. Yeah, we’re going to get stressed. Yes, things are going to happen.
But the more that we can get this under wraps and really create solid strategies in our business, have a better understanding of how our businesses work, it keeps us out of that hype and that frantic energy that really just does not serve us well. And if you’re like Dr. Nadiaa girl, we need to talk, because all this stuff that you were throwing at me is just a lot. I would love to talk with you. Head over to our website, The Doyenne Agency.
You’ll see a place where you can schedule time for us to have a conversation. Would love to be able to talk with you about your sales system. If you’re ready to hire a team, you’re like, oh, gosh, we need to talk about whatever that is. Would love the opportunity to do that. And we do have a sales system diagnostic.
It’s a great way to just have a better understanding of, because you may be like, I don’t know what? I don’t know. Right. I get that a lot, too. We can start there.
It’s a great place to start with the diagnostic, and then we’ll make sure that link is in the show notes. But you want to go ahead and schedule one of those, where we sit down, I get a chance to take a look at your business, what’s going on. I can diagnose one of the areas that I see where things can be adjusted, and then we can also then have a list of recommendations, whether that’s working with our agency or with one of our trusted partners. We would love to be able to serve you in that way. So thank you again for joining me for this episode of Straight Talk About Sales.
I’ll see you again next week. Take care. Bye.