How does your data speak to you, especially when it comes to translating trends and insights of one of your most crucial business functionalities, Sales.
Data is everywhere and without a doubt every organization collects a whole lot of it. Prospects mined, opportunities recognized, lead conversions, sell-through rate, product or service performance, new customer acquisitions, margins and commissions, sales growth… the list of usual metrics goes on and on. It’s truly a flood of numbers and information. In addition to the terabytes of historic data, every CRM in use today is inundated with inputs of fresh data feeds on a daily or an hourly basis.
But let’s be honest, it’s easy to collect data but a lot harder to collect it right. Far too many times we drown ourselves in pools of data that display the repeat offender values for our review, without actually giving us those crucial insights that can make a real impact on our sales numbers. Therefore, it is essential for us to take a step back and somewhat begin this journey afresh. Not from scratch but from a perspective of putting some key guidelines in place that will enable us to get to the next stage of sales insights evolution.
Data Harnessing: Ensuring that your organization is capturing the true potential of data requires as much of a long term, large scale benefits view as the immediate returns’ strategy. While some aspects of ‘immediate returns’ analytics planning is fairly straightforward and considered as relatively easy pickings, it’s tie-up with the long-term picture is always complex and needs deliberate planning. It is also essential to evaluate the sources for collection of the data being harnessed. Most data used for sales insights will have originated from your organizations internal collection points, but some may also need to be gathered through interconnecting partner or client systems to gain a more rounded picture. Finally, it is crucial to focus on the 3 V’s of data: Volume, Velocity & Variety.
Data Reliability: Insights are only as accurate or realistic as the data that they rely on. Sales data collection, especially in CRM systems, often overlook the value of enforcing base minimal data entry guidelines by the members of staff contributing towards this effort. It is not uncommon for the frequently over-inundated team members from entering the necessary data in its entirety or in its accurate form. This problem can get further compounded if the entry of data is not noted on timely basis, which may have a direct negative impact on the response period insights that could be derived from such data. To maximize the returns on investments, it is therefore crucial for the entire team to be aware of the targeted future state landscape and understand the reasoning behind capturing the data in all its entirety in a timely manner.
Data Maturity: Perhaps one of the most crucial aspects of attaining success with your organizational data management strategy is to put in place the necessary processes for optimal data maturity. A complete data centric view of every operational process and decision-making event within the organization can provide a blueprint for such planning. Often ignored everyday decisions may still be hiding data can help better insights through their linkages and/or dependencies. Formalizing policies that enable and encourage treatment of all organizational events as potential data collection points, coupled with steps to ensure its reliability, assists in piecing together the larger landscape of running your business operations as a successful logic driven unit. The singular proven focus remains — Better data, Better decisions.
Needless to say, use of data for accurate analysis and insights extraction is an equally important aspect of business decision making. However, attempting the latter without establishing a structure and process for seamless and expansive data collection would be akin to putting the cart ahead of its driving force. It’s bound to fail even if we try putting all our behind the same.