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A powerful questioning technique to identify hidden opportunities

Updated: May 30, 2023

We know that growth is a key ambition for business owners. It is what delivers income, re-investment in the businesses future growth, market share gains and creates an attractive business ripe for external investment or sale.

In this unusual year, businesses are in the pursuit to break even, striving to protect cash reserves, their people and their presence in the marketplace.

But they need to be ready to return to growth next year.

Identifying the opportunities to increase impact across all business functions and determine where efficiencies are for greater productivity need to be considered now.

Embedding a data mindset whereby all tiers of business think about the numbers that underpin the business to inform decision making will enable you to do that. One component of a data mindset is the ability to ask powerful questions around business performance to identify opportunities.

Businesses are monitored by macro KPIs such as sales revenue, profit margin, YTD sales, NPS etc. These provide clear status KPIs on how well the business is performing at a macro level.

A data mindset takes the metrics further.

It is key to unlocking hidden opportunities.

So for each of the business KPI’s it’s applying a “W” questioning lens (and yes, one of these is "H"!):

Why is the sales revenue increasing / decreasing / staying the same?

What has changed in the business or the external environment?

Which customers are buying more / less?

Where are new customers coming from?

When are they most likely to transact?

How are they engaging with our brand?

But don’t stop there. Add context to the “W” questions to make them more powerful. Why do you need to know the answer? How will you use the information or insight gained from asking it? What is going to make the biggest impact on your business?

Drilling down into the numbers and behavioural patterns with powerful questions aids your investigations into performance at a more granular level that can identify hidden opportunities.

For instance -

Macro KPI

CPA. In this example, let’s assume the CPA has increased.

W Questions

Why is the CPA increasing - higher spend, lower traffic volumes, test media, external factors?

What is the profile of new customers acquired?

Where are they most likely to engage with our content?

What is the ATV of new customers?

What is the propensity for a second purchase?

How has our brand engagement changed over the period?

Context - how am I going to use it?

To direct my acquisition budget in the most effective way and acquire more valuable new customers.

So continuing with the same illustration, your analysts then have a clearer view on how to explore and interpret the numbers looking into the individual source and channel of acquisition, the campaign they were responding to, any response incentives, how valuable the customer was after they were acquired to provide an insightful and useful output.

These numbers can subsequently be used to build a scenario model to forecast acquisition based on adjustments you can make in the acquisition journey to increase conversion and new customer volumes.

This style of questioning is core to a data mindset. A bit like a private investigator of performance. It provides the evidence you need to focus on what you need to do to deliver accelerated growth using data in a strategic way.

To discuss how a data mindset could accelerate your business growth, get in touch to request a discovery call today /


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