It’s time for a personality quiz!
Question #1: When it comes to making business decisions, would you say you rely more on…
- Trial & Error
- Best Practices
While you may be able to come up with a compelling, personal anecdote-based argument for the first two answers, (I mean, we all know the self-made millionaire who insists he’s gotten to the top solely by trusting his gut at all costs) there’s really no reason you should be choosing an answer besides C.
While you may be able to come up with a compelling, personal anecdote-based argument for the first two answers (I mean, we all know the self-made millionaire who insists he’s gotten to the top solely by trusting his gut at all costs), there’s really no reason you should be choosing an answer besides C.
Here’s the thing: Running a successful business requires making A LOT of decisions. And we’re not just talking about major, company-wide judgements about large-scale things like product releases and acquisitions—the fate of your company rests just as easily on the small, seemingly innocuous choices you make, day in and day out. And using data is the one surefire way you have of making sure that every decision is the best one for you and your company.
There is real value in collecting and analyzing data from all of your interactions. Data can help you learn from your past mistakes, reduce costs, predict the future and avoid industry pitfalls.
Remember the quiz you just took? If you chose Analytics, you already know all this. Congratulations on investing time and effort into creating reports that direct the way you run your business—you know what a transformative asset analytics can be! But, if you leaned more toward A or B, it’s time to take a hard look at creating a data-driven decision-making strategy. Once you have such a strategy in place, you’ll find it easier to make the best choices for your company and analyze their efficacy down the road.
Of course, creating a successful data strategy isn’t as simple as just willing it into existence—if it was, more people would probably do it. But it’s not impossible, either. We’ve broken down the three main deterrents to developing a solid data strategy and what you can do to overcome them.
Deterrent #1: You Don’t Think It’s Important
If this is your main argument, you’re probably the “I’ve made it this far, haven’t I?” guy. And we get it—collecting data can be a hassle. Compiling it can be messy. Analyzing it can take precious resources. And unless you’re already utilizing it, you may view it as a waste of time.
However, according to Datapine, “while sometimes it’s okay to follow your instincts, the vast majority of your business-based decisions should be backed by metrics, facts, or figures related to your aims, goals, or initiatives that can ensure a stable backbone to your management reports and business operations.” Additionally, “companies that approach decision making collaboratively tend to treat information as a real asset more than companies with other, more ambiguous approaches.”
Simply put, a data strategy can:
- Reduce report creation
- Increase team alignment
- Build confidence in your decisions
- Save time and money
Deterrent #2: You Don’t Know How to Get Started
When it comes to building a data strategy, getting started is having the battle. We recommend breaking it down into three easy steps:
- Create your “Data Dream Team” – figure out who in your organization would benefit most from data-driven decisions. These will likely be team members who work in sales, marketing, and accounting. Gather them together and brainstorm what information they’ll need to start making a data-based decision. Chances are they’ll each bring different needs to the table, depending on their roles. After all, that’s what you want. You want your strategy to benefit your entire organization. You’ll likely want to have regular meetings with this team as you continue to develop and fine-tune your strategy.
- Figure out your KPIs – once you know what information your team is after, it’s time to figure out exactly how to get it. Create an encompassing list of KPIs and keep them as specific as possible. For example, if your marketing lead wants to know how many people have visited your website, make sure you break that request down into as many small-frame KPIs as possible (total users, bounce rate, average session duration, etc.).
- Gather your data – Some might consider this to be the trickiest part of the process, but it doesn’t have to be. There are so many great data-gathering digital tools on the market. All you have to do is find the one (or several) that fits your organization the best. For instance, Verb’s CRM platform allows users to easily track and analyze each data point related to your field’s prospecting efforts. (Example: if you sent a video to a prospect, you could see whether or not they opened it, how much of it they viewed, and whether they followed any of the calls to action.)
Deterrent #3: You Don’t Know How to Understand What You Have
Maybe you’ve been an avid data collector for years and you just have no idea what to do with it all. If that’s the case, it’s completely understandable. Too often, companies have a data collection strategy that is just a random collection of reports and numbers, without any consistency or analysis.
To combat this, you have a few options. First, you can hire an expert—a data pro whose sole purpose is to gather and analyze your data. There are a few drawbacks to this, primarily that it can be a huge financial strain, especially for a smaller company. Second, you can outsource this task to a data management company, who may or may not have your best interests at heart. Or, third, you can turn (again) to digital tools. Implementing great tools can allow you to receive at-a-glance, auto-generated reports from your data that make it easy to understand exactly what you’re looking at, using both numbers and visual representations like charts and graphs. Even if you’re not a “numbers person” per se, you’ll likely be surprised at how easy it is to utilize and learn from your data when it’s presented in an easily digestible format.
Data Strategy is a Must-Have in Today’s Business Landscape
Hopefully, by now you’ve started to realize that a data-driven decision-making strategy isn’t just a “nice-to-have” in today’s business environment—it’s completely essential. But if you’re still on the fence about whether or not you should invest in your data, consider this: According to renowned marketing executive Casey Carey, “Leading marketers—business leaders who significantly exceeded their top business goals in 2016—indicate that two things are crucial to success: support from the top and a clear data and analytics strategy.”
If you’re ready to become one of those leading marketers, then it’s time to get started developing your strategy.
Need some help? Verb knows a thing or two about data. Our platform makes it easy to see who is looking at your content and what they’re doing with it, so you can adapt and follow up effectively. Want to learn more? Contact us for a demo!