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What is a benchmark?

Meta description : benchmarking helps you guide your strategies to achieve your goals. It is about capturing good practices in various sectors, to adapt them in your process by bringing an innovative touch.

The benchmark is used to improve your action plan decision-making. It allows you to measure the performance of your company on all aspects. All the links that structure your company can be  » benchmarker « . Its advantages are obvious. To help you set up an effective benchmark, we will talk about the methodology and tools to achieve it.

The benchmark is a marketing technique born in the early 1980s. It consists of carrying out a comparative study of the management and organizational methods of competing or  » not  » companies. The goal is to take the positive from it to adapt it in its own process. The benchmark is recognized by companies as an effective tool to remain competitive. It differs from competitive analysis by the breadth of the sectors of activity it supports. Indeed, unlike competitive analysis, the benchmark compares performance beyond the competition.

What are the different types of benchmark ?

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The benchmark can be applied internally. The comparison is made between the company’s departments by comparing their efficiency levels. This is a way to initiate this technique in your strategy.

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The competitive benchmark, also called competitive, applies to direct competitors. It consists in confronting the competition. It is complicated to achieve because of the accessibility of information.

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The functional benchmark which consists in identifying the strengths of other companies, not necessarily competitors, in terms of human resources management, logistics or administration. The challenge is to make the overall organization of the company better.

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The generic benchmark also called horizontal which is to seek the best working methods on the different sectors of activity. It is important in this case, to rely on recognized companies on the subject of analysis.

Why do a benchmark ?

Making a benchmark is interesting, insofar as it allows you to compare performance and follow the evolution of the market. Not only at the product level, but also in terms of organization. You can improve your action plan by identifying best practices in terms  of: specific opportunities, customer needs, performance objectives.

The benchmark can intervene when you want to improve your positioning on the Internet, your commercial strategy, or your customer relationship.

How to carry out a benchmark ?


Identification
of
areas for improvement

In this first step, the objective is to identify the areas to improve and the targets to be achieved within your company. The diagnosis can be made from different points of view : production, purchasing, sales, logistics, etc.

Specify and critically evaluate your performance by building a relevant questionnaire. The importance of this phase lies in the fact that it allows you to frame your benchmark. At the end of this step, you will get the indicators to analyze and compare with other companies.

Choice of companies to study

This second step is the heart of your benchmark. It consists of identifying effective tactics used by other companies. The choice of the panel of companies is free : competitor or non-competitor, multinational or start-up, etc. But to avoid information overload, refrain from 5 companies at most. However, it is important to base the selection criteria on the performance of the organizations in relation to the areas for improvement that you have pre-established.

To evaluate them, rely on reliable sources of information such as the press, research results, sales and customer reviews, social networks, government sites for financial statements, etc.

Data collection and analysis

This phase leads you to define errors in your strategy. The ideal in each step of the benchmark is to express the results by numbers and classify them in a table. This makes visualization easier. This method is all the more valid for this step insofar as each criterion is analyzed. A structured work organization is essential.

Statistics are cross-referenced to mark gaps in results and identify indicators that limit progress. In order to obtain the information, it is necessary to collaborate with ‘non-competing ‘  undertakings in the context of exchanges of information. For your competitors, you can review the information via social media, financial sites, web presence, etc.

Structuring the strategy

After compiling and synthesizing the results, it’s time to integrate them. This step is not about  » copy and paste « , it is about drawing inspiration from these strengths to adapt them to your process. The actions are carried out in a specific and concrete manner in compliance with the defined objectives. To do this, develop a detailed plan based on lessons learned.

Communicate results

Sharing information is part of the process. The summary of key findings, conclusions and recommendations is presented to each leader in the form of a report. By highlighting the company’s objectives.

What tools should I use to benchmark?

The benchmark is a tedious job that requires the use of the right tool. It is possible to use an Excel table or dedicated online tools.

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Excel is simple and free with good features like weights and graphical renderings. However, it is less suitable for visual benchmarks that require the integration of screenshots.

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There are many online tools dedicated to benchmarking. They exist in free or paid versions that allow you to realize : scoring grids, sorting by categories of the weightings of the criteria, and graphs. But their main advantages remain automation.

The digital benchmark

Benchmarking is essential in the digital field to identify the best digital tools and web marketing strategies.

The digital benchmark involves studying the content of other organizations, their investments in terms of SEO, their digital strategies, the structure of their sites, etc. The goal is not to imitate, but to adapt best practices taking into account your audience.

Benchmarking is a source of inspiration for your company. It demonstrates the shortcomings, but can also prove that you are a leader in your field..

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