Sometimes when I’m working on an application for a client, I can get absorbed in the code for hours and hours until I realize that I have 30 new emails stacked up in my inbox and more than a couple of missed phone calls. I’ll always grab the call if it’s a client, because that means I get to talk about the app I’m building, but if it’s a friend or a possible date, I figure I’ll get back to them later.
And yes, that penchant has cost me a few dates in the past. What do you expect? I’m a data geek.
The thing that gets me hot under the collar, however, is when executives treat their data like I treat my friend’s calls sometimes.
In today’s competitive marketplace, data can be the silver bullet. It can let you know when you’re going down a dark alley before you reach the dangerous end of it. It can help you put more money and resources into a business unit that is getting results. Good data, accurate data and fast data can help you chart the course as you travel it, instead of companies having to bet on longer term strategies, hoping that they’ll work.
For instance, if your business depends on outbound sales calls, good data can help you figure out the geographic region that is delivering the most sales conversions, so you can devote more resources to where the lowest hanging fruit resides. That makes your cost of sales drop, and your revenues grow. If your business depends on inbound calls, good data can help you track where those calls are coming from and what is motivating those callers to pick up the phone. If you discover that most of your inbound calls are coming from direct mail pieces, good data can even help you track the demographics of those sales conversions so you can maximize your potential sales with increased focus on those regions or socioeconomic factors.
One of the biggest catch phrases in business today is “Don’t work harder — work smarter.” Well, data is the engine that drives smart. It provides insight and knowledge as to where you are generating your revenue, so you can focus more resources on those areas. Even those who follow the Paretti Rule — which states that in most business 80 percent of their revenue is driven by 20 percent of their customers, with the other 20 percent of revenue driven by the remaining 80 percent of their customers — need data to figure out who is in the 80 percentile and who is in the 20 percentile.
So, love your data. Nurture it. Track it. Do whatever you can to increase your business’ relationship with your data, because good data can mean the difference between laying off staff or awarding those coveted holiday bonuses.