Developing your first benchmarking study can be daunting, but the end result is a benefit you can’t afford to ignore. Benchmarking yields invaluable data about your members and delivers meaningful information to your members for better business decision making. But with so many possible directions to go and so many different metrics to measure, where do you begin?
One of the best places to get started is to have frank discussions with your members. Ask them what their concerns are in operating their organizations. What information would they find valuable? Would they like to see how their financial situation as a whole compares to their peers or simply compare their compensation practices and pay rates? Maybe they are more interested in looking at their operations from a process or best practice perspective? Depending on the size of your organization, one-on-one conversations with members may be enough to gather the information you need or you may want to conduct some focus group meetings or even develop a task force to help define your study. It may seem ridiculously simple, but ask your members what they want, deliver just that and they’ll be pleased.
As you start these discussions with your membership you’ll likely find some common themes in the information they need. The following questions are a good start for getting an overall financial and operational benchmarking study off the ground:
Profiling Questions are used to define who the member is and provide a means for each member-user to filter and compare themselves to others.
- Location (region, type of community, population density, etc.)
- Number of Employees
- Annual Revenue
- Primary line of business/type of organization
- Accreditation status
- Customer type
Financial Questions allow members to see how their peers are making and spending their money and can provide great insight into new ideas to apply within their own organizations.
- Revenue Components
- Billing Terms
- Total Expenses
- Total Occupancy Cost
- Total Payroll Cost
- Total Cost of Goods Sold
- Total Marketing Cost
- Capital Expenditures
Staffing Questions gather compensation and staffing data that will let members determine if their compensation is in line with their peers.
- Compensation components
- Employee benefits provided
- Billing rate if professional services are provided
- Use of contracted/outside services
Marketing Questions provide insight into the promotional tactics and practices of other member-users.
- Marketing budgets
- Marketing practices
- Marketing return on investment
Facility Questions compare the options and costs of housing an organization.
- Rent or own?
- Number of locations
- Size of facility
As I mentioned, the preceding questions are recommended for an overall financial and operational benchmarking study however your study may take a different direction depending on the survey objectives of your organization.
Dynamic Benchmarking has made the process of developing and delivering these basic questions simple and easy for both you and your members. Whether you need a 20 question survey that focuses on key performance indicators or a complex survey of business practices, we provide guidance and expertise for developing a meaningful benchmarking solution. In most cases, users can answer up to 200 questions in as little as 15-20 minutes! Contact us today to learn more about getting started with online benchmarking.