In January, Club OS teamed up with Jonas Fitness to host an original webinar, “The Process and Impact of Managing Your Data”. Club OS Director of Sales Jeff Wild moderated a conversation with Katie Ackels, Director of Marketing and Brand Development for Fitness Connection. Before joining the fitness franchise, Katie worked primarily with marketing agencies serving retail and food industry clients, so in many ways, she was starting from scratch in the fitness industry. She discovered that many popular strategies and practices in fitness marketing and sales were generated by employee intuition rather than any hard data. This is common across most industries, with a Bi-Survey.com poll finding “58% of respondents say their companies base at least half of their regular business decisions on gut feel or experience rather than being driven by data and information.”
Katie doesn’t advocate for tossing out best practices learned from on-the-job experience altogether, but rather utilizing the abundance of data available to fitness professionals to substantiate and finetune intuition-based practices. She refers to this as data-driven decision making or DDDM. This blog summarizes Katie’s five-step process to collect and analyze data from Fitness Connection’s 45 locations to bring data-driven decision making to the company’s marketing strategy.
1.) Identifying Your KPIs
The first step is to identify which KPIs, or key performance indicators, align with your objectives at each stage of the customer buying cycle. Katie segments the buying cycle into three broad stages:
- Awareness: The stage new prospects discover your fitness club.
- Consideration: The stage a prospect begins considering purchasing a membership and takes steps to learn more about your services and facilities.
- Conversion: The stage a prospect is ready to buy and moves forward in your sales process.
Remember, KPIs are relative to every member of your team, so ensure you seek feedback from your team members working face-to-face with customers like your managers and front desk staff. They’ll have insights into KPIs that directly track their performance and can give you the best possible view of your club’s success. Don’t forget to ask your internal team members also. You may not be aware of KPIs that matter to your marketing staff, IT team, and sales personnel.
Possible Buying Cycle KPIs:
- Awareness: Here you want to gauge how many eyeballs are on your business at any one time, so you’ll want to track “impressions”, the number of digital touches your fitness club is receiving and the number of external communications like phone calls, emails, and texts being exchanged between your staff and prospects.
Here you want to track your club’s online and offline “traffic”, such as leads, appointments, appointments closed, open rates, click-through rates, and online sentiment (any statement posted online by a customer or prospect across digital platforms.)
- Conversion: Here you will need to track the total number of units sold, but also the close rate. This is calculated by comparing the number of prospects who progressed to your consideration stage against the number of prospects that ultimately purchased a membership.
2.) Sourcing Your KPIs
Once you and your team define the KPIs you want to track and agree they are the best metrics to gauge success, you have to find a way to source that data. There are a number of tools you can use to source data:
- CRM Software: Katie recommends running your club’s prospecting activity through customer relationship management software. It boosts organization, accountability, and easy tracking of vital KPIs. Specifically, Fitness Connection utilizes the Club OS Range Sales Activity report.
- POS software: Point-of-sale data provides invaluable insights into your club’s sales performance. Fitness Connection uses the Jonas Fitness software and collects POS data and revenue stream KPIs directly from its system.
- Google Analytics: An excellent source to pull your club’s web traffic and monitor your media campaigns like online ads.
3.) Establishing Reporting Tools
After you find how you will be sourcing your data and have a standard report to pull for the information, you must decide HOW you will report it to your teams. There are a number of reporting tools that can assist you in organizing and displaying dense data in an easily digestible format. Fitness Connection largely depends on two different platforms.
- Power BI: Katie and her team are beginning to migrate their data over to Power BI, a business analytics service that provides interactive visualizations and business intelligence capabilities to create reports and dashboards.
- Excel: Excel is the primary platform that Katie uses because it allows users to take a more manual approach in formatting and organizing data.
4.) Deciding on a Format and Frequency
Next, it’s important to set an expectation by discussing with your team how frequently your KPI data will be compiled and shared. This could be weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly. By establishing a reporting cadence, you foster consistent and reliable discussions of your business’s progress toward goals.
Additionally, be sure to format your reporting cadence to allow for comparison of reporting periods, i.e. being able to compare your quarter two numbers against the previous quarter’s numbers. Katie also recommends keeping in mind “wobble weeks”. These are weeks that include holidays that move around year to year. A great example is Thanksgiving. In 2018, Thanksgiving fell on fiscal week 46 but occurred during fiscal week 47 in 2019. You’re likely to see a big difference in KPI numbers from one year to the next simply because the holiday moved.
5.) Utilizing Data to Drive Decision Making
Finally, it’s time to utilize the data to drive your decision making. For example, identifying that your online ads have generated double the number of leads as compared to the previous month and identifying what factors may have contributed to your peak in leads. This can drive future marketing strategies, so you can make that unusual spike in leads the new normal for your lead generation.
A few things to note when analyzing your data:
- Look for peaks and valleys. This can help you map seasonality of sales or identify potential weak points in your sales process.
- Take notice of both underperformers and overperformers in your business. The goal is to assist underperformers to meet their numbers and to analyze overperformers so you can replicate their success where possible.
- Always note the caveats. For example, if you have multiple clubs in your location group, one club may be incorrectly entering prospect information which will skew your overall data. It’s important to point out these irregularities and caveats to your team in order to more truthfully frame the data. Also, by noting caveats, you can potentially correct bad practices like staff making errors when entering prospect information.
Want more insights? Watch the full, “The Process & Impact of Managing Your Data” webinar now!