This strategy is perhaps not the most talked about, but we all practise it in secret. However, the real secret is using it properly. To introduce the subject, benchmarketing is nothing more than taking the techniques of other brands that are similar to yours and adjusting them to your strategy, modifying them to fit your requirements while always giving them that authentic feel.
This applies to all areas, for example, increasing the organic traffic to your blog. However, as with all aspects of life, you need to have a plan if you are going to succeed, and you’re in luck because I’ve created one for you:
1. Identify the areas you need to improve
Use your critical success factors as a guide to assist you in the identification of areas for improvement, then focus on these areas that are not functioning as well as expected.
This will help you to concentrate on particular areas of your organisation that require improvement. Ensure that you consider factors like cost, quality and service when you are leading improvement processes.
For example, if you have a call centre, share waiting times and abandonment rates with other similar companies to see if they have any advice or tricks for improving your times.
2. Seek out high-performing organisations
Seek out organisations that do well in this area. Use professional contacts and networks to find the right organisations, LinkedIn is a great place for this type of networking.
Stepping outside of your industry may provide some insight into the way you do things in comparison to other industries when addressing the same problem. For example, the healthcare sector has improved many of its processes by borrowing from the hotel, manufacturing and airline industries.
3. Contact the organisation
Make sure that your communications are professional and avoid pressuring the organisation into sharing data. Many organisations have a process in place for sharing reference data and will be happy to do so, particularly for areas in which they are doing well. They will be proud of what they have achieved and will be happy to share this with others.
However, not every organisation will be so accommodating when it comes to sharing performance data, so try to be understanding if you encounter resistance to your requests.
Make it as easy as possible to get in contact with you, and if you miss a call, be polite and respond as soon as possible.
4. Gather and analyse data
Have pre-prepared questions and keep in mind the specific data that you are seeking. When you are compiling data, make sure that you are comparing apples to apples, and if some oranges get into the mix, be mindful of the differences when applying the information you have obtained to your own organisation.
For example, if you are soliciting reference information regarding maintenance personnel, ensure that the square footage of the facilities and the total number of hours of operation match yours. The maintenance requirements of a hospital are very different to those of an insurance office.
The aim is to understand what works for other organisations in order to find pointers that can be implemented in your organisation.
5. Develop a performance improvement plan
Once all the collected data have been analysed, you will have a better understanding of where you are as an organisation and how that compares to where you want to be. Use this information to develop a performance improvement plan that will take you where you want to go.
Identify the personnel who will help you to implement this plan and manage the performance of your employees so you can achieve its objectives.
6. Implement the plan
Implement the plan and ensure that it is included in the objectives of the organisation so the responsibility for each task is assigned. Some plans cover a long period, so make sure that you allocate enough time for yours to be executed.
Be intelligent with this and use the objectives to ensure that everything is achievable. For example, improving scores for customer satisfaction will take time and cannot be achieved overnight. Try not to dishearten your employees by forcing unrealistic targets and schedules on them.
7. Seek out improvements
Once the plan has been implemented, step back and check the data to see whether improvements are apparent.
This is where FOCUS PDCA is used to close the cycle. Once you have built relationships with organisations that share data, this can be a valuable method for maintaining the forward momentum of your organisation and continuing your efforts to improve everything you do.
Professional benchmarketing organisations also exist, which you can join to share data within your industry. Networking at professional conferences is also a good way to identify these types of organisations.
It is surprising what we can learn from others when we take the time to ask. Benchmarketing is an excellent way to pinpoint best practices that will help your organisation to improve.
By Edith de Gananci