Performance Dashboards to make the Metrics of BNI Chapters More Visible
Visualising the performance dashboards for number of BNI Chapters in New Zealand made the metrics more visible and brought a greater focus on improving results.
Business Networking International (BNI) is the world’s leading referral marketing organisation. It helps members grow their business by referral marketing; teaching them how to build long-term, profitable relationships with other quality business professionals.
BNI provides a structured, positive and professional referral marketing programme. The guiding principle is the philosophy of Givers Gain® – More than thirty years of BNI has proven that those who ‘give’ by referring business to their colleagues, ‘gain’ in many ways, including reciprocal business.
Having existed for 30 years, BNI has over 9,000 Chapters (groups of members who meet weekly to refer business to each other) globally. And within excess of 250,000 members, BNI has learnt what performance metrics to focus on.
Five key activities have proven to drive successful referral marketing through BNI:
- Attendance at weekly meetings – attending meetings to present your business and the value it offers
- One-to-one catch ups – Spending time outside of weekly meetings getting to know fellow members so you can refer them to your network
- Referrals – Business opportunities flowing to members from meetings and one-to-one catch ups
- Visitors at meetings – Visitors are the members of the future and as natural attrition occurs new members stem from a healthy level of visitors
- Closed Business – The value of business that members are generating from the referrals they receive
In New Zealand there are over 120 Chapters and growing, one of the highest concentrations in the world. Each Chapter has a Leadership Team who serve a six-month term leading the performance of a Chapter. Each Leadership Team sets goals they would like to achieve in their leadership term for the five key activities.
In addition to the Leadership Team, BNI also has a team of Directors. They work alongside Chapter’s Leadership Teams helping them achieve a high level of performance across the five key activities.
“I wanted to make the metrics of a Chapter’s performance more visible and bring a greater focus to improving results”
Knowing what behaviours drive results is the first half of the battle. Measuring those results and using them to reward / encourage the right behaviours the second half.
This was the challenge BNI Director, Richard Foulkes was facing when he started working with SMEtric Insights. One of the SMEtric Insights’ Associates was a member of a BNI group and they were discussing how Richard could make the metrics of a Chapter’s performance more visible and bring a greater focus to improving results.
BNI had developed a platform for collecting data (BNI Connect). Activity data is entered into it through either a web portal or alternatively, via a phone app.
Some activity data (meeting attendance, visitors) is input by the leadership team, with other elements (one-to-one catch ups, referrals, closed business) coming from the members themselves.
However, inputting this data isn’t always done on a timely basis, and sometimes failed to get done at all
What’s Measured Gets Managed
Within the BNI meeting structure there’s a point where the Leadership Team reports back on the Chapter’s performance. Being able to report back easily in a timely manner that others can understand was a challenge for people who are in volunteer roles.
Sometimes the leadership team was spending too much time creating reports. Alternatively, reporting wasn’t happening as there had not been time to create something for the meeting. Also, there was no consistency in how reporting of Chapter performance was being undertaken.
Lastly, it was not easy for Richard to get a view across his chapters and understand performance from one to the next.
The Performance Dashboards For BNI
SMEtric created a performance dashboard for BNI that measured all of the five activities for a chapter. It also included the specific goals of each chapter and was able to measure how close a chapter was getting to its desired performance level.
This started as a proof-of-concept in one Chapter. Once it was tested and proven to be viable in that chapter it rolled out to other Chapters so they understand their performance on a regular basis.
Dashboards are meant to be interactive and allow users to analyse how different groups are performing against each other over different time periods. However, the Leadership team also needed to be able to present results quickly and visually in a meeting, so a presentation was created each week that allows individual Chapters to reflect back to their members how the Chapter is performing.
What problems went away?
Like many organisations, BNI has a set of core values that drive its activities. The performance dashboards for BNI have enabled Chapters to actively live two of these, recognition and accountability. Having Chapters look at a visual representation of how they are performing on a weekly basis drives recognition of performance (both good and bad) and accountability (of individual members to do the activities that result in successful referral marketing in BNI).
A single visual format of the performance dashboards also helped drive the leadership conversation within BNI. Richard now has an overview of the last week allowing him to have a focused conversation with Chapter leaders and focus on what the next steps are.
Another benefit achieved was an improvement in the timely reporting of data. Each week a Chapter’s leadership team needs to verify and submit data for their Chapter. The dashboards are run at the same time on a Friday evening and if the data has not been submitted it is obvious, because nothing appears on the Dashboard for that chapter. This in turn means it cannot be reported back the next week at the Chapter’s meeting.
Sometimes data is entered incorrectly, which was not easy to pick up. Now, with the visual element of dashboards, it is much easier and quicker to find these errors and correct them accordingly.
Lastly, VPs now have a ‘go-to’ report available each week. Nothing to prepare, it’s consistent, and represents their performance against their targets, both saving them time and making it more likely that performance will be reported back at meetings.
Are the outcomes measurable e.g. hours saved?
Whist the overwhelming benefit is the ability to have a greater focus on Chapter performance, there have also been pure time savings. The Leadership Team could take up to an hour to prepare the activity reports to their Chapters. Now it just turns up as an email attachment each week.
What are the main benefits of the performance dashboards for BNI?
“Whilst the result is fantastic, there is also been huge benefit in how SMEtric can relate data to performance. They have been able to take the data and translate it in a way that highlights what drives success for BNI so we can take action.”
Summary and the Future
“It was great that the team at Smetric were able to understand the data and what it drives, as opposed to just doing the technical elements.”
Will you continue to work with SMEtric Insights in the future?
“Absolutely, I already have many ideas of what else we’d like to see. Now looking towards the next iteration.”
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