Data is the lifeblood of modern business, it’s said. While that’s true, it’s not specific enough. It takes a little more imagination to think about how data impacts individuals and teams within those businesses. There’s a real revolution underway to empower and inform teams of all sizes with data of all kinds.
Photo credit: Samuel Zeller, Unsplash
Let’s look at what a data-driven team can look like in multiple contexts as well as some of the steps required to build that kind of environment.
Successfully marketing to any subset of the population requires access to high-quality data. That data might include:
- Market and competitor research to see what’s working and what’s not.
- Social media analytics to gauge interest in new products and services.
- Website metrics to see who’s visiting you and what they find appealing.
We’re far beyond shotgun-fire marketing campaigns. Leveraging high-quality data from legitimate marketplaces to get your message in front of receptive eyes could unlock a substantial ROI.
Actionable Step #1
Google recommends several steps for making teams more data-driven, including marketing teams. One idea is to make your analytics team itself more “distributed.”
That means placing data specialists in each department or team for maximum accessibility to data and for more timely and humanistic interpretations of that data as it becomes available.
Now you’ve got a marketing team that works more closely with data specialists to fine-tune your messaging and branding. Next comes making sure your sales team has the right insights to keep all the attention your marketing team is generating.
That means focusing on webpage “stickiness” – how long people view you before clicking away – and supercharging conversions. So how does data help you close the deal?
One way is to use data as a coaching tool. There are several ways this concept may apply to you, depending on the business you’re in and your specific needs at the time:
- Collected data on customers, prospects, and general web trends can help you improve the educational quality of the content on your website. That means answering common questions before customers need to ask them.
- Data on sales team success rates, analysis of the time the calls were made, and even the tone of voice used during sales calls, plus other factors, can all help you better understand why standout salespeople flourish and what the others can learn from their example.
Actionable Step #2
If you want to use data to sharpen your approach to sales and “closing the deal,” you need to hire a diverse team. Bringing multiple perspectives and backgrounds to the table gives you a richer set of data to work with to see what works and what doesn’t in a sales environment.
As far as technology goes, don’t underestimate the value of the cloud, and specifically cloud-based enterprise planning tools. The right technology helps keep data flowing and out of silos. And, as Google notes, integrating marketing and advertising teams with technology makes it 59% more likely that companies can successfully optimize the customer experience.
There’s almost no end to the ways product design and development teams can put data to work in their processes. One of the most exciting is a concept known as the “circular economy.”
This is where companies continually gather data from customer interactions, third-party and aftermarket activity, and even from active products in the field. They do this to better understand how their products are used by customers after the sale has concluded, including general use, modifications, repairs, returns, and more.
One electronics maker, Philips, notes that circular economy practices can help design teams zero in on lower waste manufacturing, plus design easier-to-repair, longer-lasting, and easier-to-use products.
This serves multiple functions, including keeping products out of landfills for longer, finding ways to make products more appealing and easier to use, helping companies work with the aftermarket more effectively, and assisting with prioritizing new feature development.
Actionable Step #3
Find non-intrusive ways to solicit user data when you can.
It’s a sad day when a concise, easy-to-read Terms of Service sheet is the exception rather than the norm. Most of us don’t read these but click anyway, even knowing these things are riddled with “gotcha” clauses for the purposes of gathering information.
That information might even be benign and used for purposes like we’ve seen here, including for product development. But customers want to know how their data is used. Moreover, the law increasingly demands transparency on it.
If you want your product design team or any other team to have high-quality data straight from the source, be honest with your customers about what you gather and what it’s used for. And think about ways to incentivize them for it with free stuff, discounts on products, or even “data dividends.”
You get useful intel, and your customers feel like they’re an even more important part of the brands they care about.
Time to Put Data to Work in Teams
There are lots of ways for data to inform and streamline business today. But the real potential isn’t evident until you dive into your teams’ daily responsibilities and learn more about how they work and how data can help them do a better version of it.