Five Questions to Improve Your Revenue Operations

Contributed content / By Angela Earl / 7 February 2019

Data-driven decision-making can increase marketing success, but it can also feel overwhelming at times. Marketers should learn how to best filter and use data to improve their efforts. 

Too much wrong data can quickly shut down decision making. Organizations try to gather all available data and become overwhelmed all too often

Gathering data without a purpose can result in teams ignoring dashboards and reporting vanity metrics and data that have little effect on the organization. As a result, teams are paralyzed, and decision-makers are left with only their intuition. 

Understanding which questions your data needs to answer will empower your teams to capture only useful data. Knowing the reason behind the data will also help align company goals and support data-driven decision making. 

Asking these 5 questions can prevent your team from getting stuck, help you align data and decision-makers, and support your organization's goals.  

What Business Outcome Am I Trying to Influence?

“Data-driven” has become a normal term in marketing lingo, and the majority of marketers today are striving to make more data-driven decisions. 

A Google study conducted in the summer of 2018 indicated that increasing the number of data-founded decisions was the number one objective of a majority of marketers. Nevertheless, despite having more data today than ever before, marketers still only base part of their decisions on data while the remaining decisions are left to intuition, gut feeling, and emotion:

27% of marketers said that all their decisions were data-driven
 
Published on MarketingCharts.com in July 2018. Data Source: MIT Sloan Management Review / Think with Google

By understanding the business goal you are trying to influence, you can narrow enormous amounts of data down to a manageable size ideal for monitoring and analysis.

This doesn’t mean you should abandon brand awareness. Instead, remember that top of the funnel results should be correlated to predefined business results. 

What Decisions Could Be Made With This Data?

Analysts commonly proclaim that data should tell stories; however, stories alone won't improve operations or grow your organization. Stories need to clearly tie to customer action. 

A majority of marketers believe improved decision-making and understanding are the most important benefits from data, according to the 2018 Digital Analytics & Data Governance Survey by ObservePoint.

2018 Digital Analytics and Data Governance Survey
 
I’ve met with a lot of sales and marketing leaders that have outlined a set of KPIs they want to track and visualize on a dashboard. Sometimes these KPIs are something they’ve always tracked; others are because they read a blog or listened to a podcast that outlined ‘top KPIs.’

Oftentimes, these metrics are primary components of compensation or bonus plans, yet the reason for the metrics can’t be clearly articulated. 

When drawn into conversations about measurement and data analysis with our clients, my team at Haatzama Marketing will first seek to understand what actions each data point can influence. This knowledge is then used to filter out the noise and focus only on the most useful data.

What Teams Will Use This Data?

Most teams seemingly strive for alignment, but few realize it. Yet alignment is a major contributing factor to growth among B2B organizations.

Companies with aligned sales and marketing strategies grow 27% faster than those that don’t. 

Sales and Marketing Operations Quote
 
Further, organizations that have these aligned teams also have 24% quicker revenue growth. 

Someone I mentor came to me for advice. She explained how the majority of her time is spent cleaning up data, but she feels like the effort goes unappreciated when she is trying to make a difference for her team and the organization. Despite spending countless hours cleaning up fields to enable segmentation, feed reports, and display on dashboards, it was clear in her team’s meetings that no one was using any of it. 

If you can relate to her situation, your efforts may not be reaching the people who can benefit from it. 

Collaborating upfront with stakeholders will uncover what data will help them in their roles. Set up interviews with individuals with a goal of understanding their daily routines and workflows. 

Look for manual steps that could be made more efficient by data or automation and ask if your coworkers think changes could help them. 

While it may seem simple to say, the simple step of asking instead of assuming is often skipped. In the name of efficiency, much time is spent and wasted because we didn’t ask the impacted users up front.

What System(s) Provide This Data Today? 

It’s no surprise that marketers are struggling to maintain a centralized, system of record for all data. As your team begins to identify the most useful and actionable data, note where the data originates from and where it is stored. 

Knowing where your data is coming from is essential for data to be useful and trustworthy. Understanding if the input is coming from another system with its own format or being input manually by team members that may need training will help you implement practices to guard data quality, which in turn will ensure the data is ready when you need it.

Where data is kept, and which users and systems have access to this location, will greatly impact your ability to report and display this data.

Disparate data will need to be cleaned and consolidated before analysis can start. 

Centralizing your data will help ensure its ready and available when you (or your teams) need it.

What Are The Possible Consequences to Not Having This Data?

Even with a clearly defined list of data, the work to prepare the data may seem daunting. Knowing what’s at stake will allow you to prioritize your data collection and management and help you identify the best place to get started.

Move the highest risk items to the top of your list and work your way down to the lower risk items as time and bandwidth allow.

In addition to prioritization, insights about the risk of not having the data will help you justify time or budget needed to properly collect, collate, or clean this data in preparation for the reports and dashboards required to power the decisions you’ve outlined.

Communicating these risks to the rest of the organization will create alignment on the priorities. It will enable teams to work together to tackle the most urgent needs first and de-prioritize the less important ones. 

Transform Your Revenue Operations 

The answers to these questions, and perhaps others specific to your organization, will guide your team to success. If you are unsure how best to market with data, then consult a top digital marketing agency for help. 

The most important part of collecting data is implementing it effectively. Ensure your team captures the data that supports data-driven decision making and then puts it to good use. 

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