Data has always been an integral part of business, but with the advent of cloud-based solutions, data storage and retrieval have become even more powerful and accessible.
The ability to interpret data and turn it into actionable information is precious for any business. In fact, in today’s economy and marketplace, companies that embrace data-driven decision-making can gain a significant competitive advantage.
With more access to data, it becomes much easier to make better business decisions as you can better understand your sales pipeline and industry trends, among other things. If you’re ready to crunch the numbers in your favor, here’s a beginner’s guide to leveraging business data for better decision-making.
Unify your data sources
It’s essential to have a single data source containing all your business information. If you currently rely on multiple tools, it can be challenging to access and analyze your data in one place. The best way to consolidate your information is by using a data-streaming provider like Striim.
Companies like Striim offer an array of integrated apps and services designed specifically for sales teams and marketers, including analytics and reporting capabilities. These unified solutions allow for better and easier decision-making using data lineage by presenting everything in one central location.
Use data as a guideline
If you want to leverage data for better business decisions, make sure that you have a clear idea of where your company wants to go and how it plans on getting there. You can then use the collected data to inform your business decisions toward that goal.
It’s essential to understand how to interpret data, and it’s equally important to understand what not to do with it. Don’t make decisions based on only one piece of data. Instead, look at several factors before deciding.
You should also avoid letting yourself get bogged down in numbers. It can be easy to lose sight of what you are trying to accomplish by tracking specific metrics. If you find yourself getting caught up in numbers, take a step back and remember why you started tracking that metric in the first place.
Evaluate market trends in relation to data
One of your primary responsibilities as a business owner is to understand your industry by observing how consumers buy and sell. Keep track of how competitors behave, what kinds of products they offer, and how they market them.
Gather feedback from current and potential customers. Don’t be afraid to ask what consumers like or dislike about their experiences with your company and its competitors. With some careful study, you’ll quickly learn where your market stands and where it’s going next.
This research will help you develop a plan for future growth that doesn’t rely solely on guesswork. If possible, try to visit trade shows in your field or speak with other professionals who may have insight into emerging trends in technology, manufacturing processes, raw materials costs, etc.
Combine collected data and machine learning
Machine learning makes it possible to identify patterns in data that humans can’t see, which can be incredibly useful for businesses, as patterns often reveal insights and trends.
Regression analysis, for example, allows you to understand how certain variables affect your business. Based on past sales, a real estate company might use regression analysis to determine what factors make an area more or less desirable.
A retail company might use regression analysis to determine which items sell best during what seasons. You need enough historical data tagged appropriately to provide a framework for how it should look when properly analyzed.
Predict churn rate and retain customers
Data is one of your best tools for understanding and improving your business. When you start to analyze it, you’ll see patterns emerge. One of those patterns is the customer churn rate, which refers to the number of customers who stop using your product or service over a certain period.
The churn rate is crucial because it helps you identify problems with your business that you can solve before they become more significant issues. The sooner you spot a problem, the easier it will be to fix it and prevent more customers from leaving.
Create impactful presentations and reports
Data provides insights about customers, employees, products, and other aspects of your business. With accurate data, you can create presentations and reports that will be more impactful to your audience.
Whether you’re making a report for your boss or presenting it to clients, having up-to-date information will give you an edge over others who are less informed. The key is to provide what’s necessary and not get bogged down in unnecessary details. If you have a lot of data, start by creating an executive summary and add more relevant detail.
Before you go
Leveraging data is necessary to have a clear understanding of what your company needs to be successful. This process can be time-consuming, but it’s essential for building a solid foundation for your business. If you have access to more accurate data than your competitors do and use your existing data more effectively, you have the edge over them.