analytics journey

Five things that make or break a data-driven analytics journey.

Companies that want to work in a more data-driven way should consider these five things before embarking on their journey. Whether it’d be marketing, hr, finance, or sales… The foundation has to be solid. To measure is to know; hence not knowing exactly what you are measuring doesn’t propel a company forward on its journey, au contraire.

Imagine a company that wants to identify so-called high potentials. What it means to be a high-potential could be drastically different in Europe as opposed to Asia or America. That’s why an unambiguous, shared language is required, so definitions are clear.

Ideally, a baseline is established. Without one deciding if trends are positive or negative becomes more of a guessing game. Also, data should be measured continuously. A one-off measurement can never represent the context and nuance that it needs.

If a company can only rely on analysts to reveal insights, there is a chance a lot of other valuable insights remain uncovered. The data should be accessible to the right people and presented in a comprehensible format.

Apples and apples or apples and oranges? Without the ability to compare, the data remains isolated. Comparisons in time or benchmarking with industry standards help with orienting where the company is.

Garbage in, garbage out. The adage doesn’t surprise anyone. Yet, dubious data input happens relatively often in analytics journies. These five pillars revolve around laying the right foundations, and quality is an absolute must.

Those five pillars once again; shared language, baseline & continuous measurement, comparing, and quality.

sell evangelism

Either the person you are selling to has a need, can clearly vocalize that need, and actively seeks a solution. Or, doesn’t know she has a need, and needs to be convinced first.

In the first scenario, you can enter in sales-mode.

In the second scenario, you have to go in, in evangelism-mode. Meaning, a whole lot of convincing has to take place for the lead to convert into a paying customer.

When your lead isn’t ready to buy (at all), consider leaving it there. You can always reiterate in a year or so.

No is better than maybe.

control the weather

Sales is like the weather. You can’t control it. You can take actions to influence the climate, but that doesn’t happen overnight.

Being in sales means taking no for an answer repeatedly.

As such, handling no’s takes resilience, lots of it. Not being able to control all outcomes requires acceptance. Nourish both to improve selling skills.

stop convincing

One of the worst things that can happen in a sales conversation is convincing the customer after they’ve indicated they’re ready to buy.

Hot leads might already be convinced before a sales meeting. There is not much left to do but to clarify the details and seal the deal.

Cold leads might need a lot of convincing. If you manage to do so throughout a meeting, the art is knowing when to stop. Overloading the customer with compelling information after the customer signals buying intentions is detrimental.

More (convincing information) isn’t better. It might confuse the customer. Know when to stop.

no no no

There is a limited amount to the rejections one person can take. To make sales and perform well, one must create an armor-like shield.

Typically people need some confirmation now and then. A pat on the back or a mini-win that empowers.

Many jobs, outside of what is strictly considered as sales or business development, entail sales-like activities. More specifically, persuading people. When a nurse has to administer medicine to a patient, and the patient refuses, the nurse has to persuade the patient. Even though they might experience resistance, they will succeed eventually. Which feels like a win. People in sales have to be willing and able to go for prolonged periods without wins.

Persuading people to buy a product will inevitably be met with a lot of no’s. Brush that dirt off your shoulder and on to the next.

paranoid absence

Businesses host (internal- meetings with different people from different departments discussing their products and services. Nothing extraordinary here. During those meetings, they might discuss a variety of topics. For now, let’s stay within the realm of the products and services the business externalizes.

When products and services are offered for sale, there has to be a customer on the receiving end. How many times is there a customer in the meeting room, though? If it isn’t a focus group, but a good old regular meeting, there is almost never a customer among the attendees.

Obviously, having a firm empathic understanding of the customer is the job of some of the people within the company, especially the people in marketing and sales. However, without the voice of the customer in the room, the risk of concluding with critical assumptions is substantial.

Keep your customers close.

ticket weight balance

Score one big deal or a hundred small ones to meet your targets for the year?

Big tickets may have longer lead times than small ones; however, the effort to land a big client or the equivalent (expressed in revenue) for numerous small clients may be relatively similar.

What, if there is such a thing, is the ideal balance then?

Like a gearbox to a car, you need the smaller cogwheels to get going. Shift up once you reach the red line.

follow up

Even the best boxers rarely knock their opponent out with one punch. Instead, matches are won by sustenance. Landing a combination of punches repeatedly is (partly) how a fighter prevails.

What’s true of boxing is true of business.

Landing a new client or account doesn’t happen with a one-off stunt. The sequence must be clear prior to engaging with the client.

Follow up and – through relentlessly.

something to be desired

The hunt is sweeter than the kill. Because our imagination thrives on absence, we often don’t feel as fulfilled as we had anticipated when we finally get that object we so desired.

The risk increases depending on the emotional engagement, better yet, the lack thereof, with the actual object. It’s hard to form long-term emotional connections with things we possess. Post-purchase disappointment often kicks in hard when fantasy becomes a reality.

That’s why deferred gratification is often so rewarding. Resisting a temptation today in favor of a later (perhaps more significant) reward tomorrow.

Even though these principles are well known, they are poorly applied today. When you buy a new car, a rather significant purchase for most of us, nothing happens after signing on the dotted line. That’s basically adding fuel directly to the raging buyer’s remorse fire. After some months, you get a message from the dealership. You go to pick up your car, drive it off the lot, and that’s it. Good riddance.

Whether it’s a once-in-a-lifetime purchase or an ordinary commodity that gets bought all the time, leave your customer with something (extra) to be desired.

bend nor folio

Selling isn’t optional. Regardless of the type of company, industry in which it’s active, selling is always an integral part of running a business.

Some people seem to excel at selling, whereas to others, selling doesn’t come as natural (straight away).

References, on the other hand, aren’t optional either. Whether it’s a photographer’s portfolio, a corporate company’s case studies, a restaurant’s reviews…

If selling isn’t a particular entrepreneur (and their company’s) forte, the importance of the references increases. A portfolio that the creator can take genuine pride in is bound to ooze out passion. When your heart is all the way in it, it rubs off, selling your work for you almost automatically.

Selling and (the ability to show) references aren’t optional. If one doesn’t come naturally, compensate with the other.