Data Power Unleashed

Do you have a data strategy? I ask that question of many organizations. Typically, the answer is “no.” When we start to peel back the onion a little, it’s clear that contact data accuracy is an issue. Organizations were not overly effective before COVID-19 with the quality of their prospect and client records. It’s an issue for many companies now as they start to develop new sales strategies.

Just think about how many times your organization has exhibited or participated in an event and had your sales representative download unqualified lists into your CRM. Did you reduce administrative staff during COVID-19 that were dedicated to CRM activity? How confident are you with new sales plans for 2022 and beyond?

Stepping back and looking at a new data strategy can be a key move in helping your sales team be more productive. Data input leads to great data output. Making decisions using solid data is essential to organization growth strategies. If you were in a room with 20 stakeholders, could you answer all the questions they have about your data?

Analytics are part of our daily lives. Whether you are starting your day with a look at your Dashboard, CRM, Traces, Notifications, To-Do Lists or any other strategic or tactical necessities, you are seeking clean and accurate data.

There is an old saying “If it was easy, everyone would do it” that applies to analytics. Using fact-based data to assist with decision making is imperative in today’s world.  Things change so quickly that organizations must be nimble and find ways to get feedback quick.

Errors are prevalent within any CRM and especially lists that could be 2-3 years old. How many records do you have in your CRM? Do you have a strategy that highlights target markets and those potential clients that have a keen interest in your products and services?

Here are five “must do tactics” to drive data accuracy and improve sales productivity when it comes to driving revenue and profitable growth.

  1. Assume your data is old, not accurate and in need of a renovation. That 1990’s house needs a full walk-thru and you should assume your data base is a fixer-upper
  2. Don’t admire what you had in terms of information on potential clients, active clients, and your own high performing salespeople. You are starting a new journey and need to look at “What If” rather than “What Is.”
  3. It takes about eight minutes to validate a record. Make sure you are dedicating trained research coordinators or outsourcing the task to provide your sales team with accurate client records to solicit.
  4. Marketing is important. Use your stakeholders to help develop messages that resonate with potential clients and why current clients use your company for products and services. Use a human voice to provide distinction on why your organization is different. Identify these voices in your CRM and with one-page testimonials. There is a product called Gather Voices that makes it easy to capture video testimonials.
  5. Use a dashboard that is transparent and that team members at all levels have access to.  Highlight and celebrate your top performers in research, sales & marketing.

Act sooner than later.  Turning data into decisions is a purposeful exercise. Business Intelligence is a key indicator for organizations to increase productivity. What does your dashboard look like?

Dashboards allow report consumers to create a single artifact of directed data that is personalized just for them. Dashboards can be comprised of pinned visuals that are taken from different reports. Where a Business Intelligence report uses data from a single dataset, a Powerful BI dashboard can contain visuals from different datasets:

A Power BI dashboard is a single page, often called a canvas, that tells a story through visualizations. Because it’s limited to one page, a well-designed dashboard contains only the highlights of that story. Readers can view related reports for the details.  Being engaged with data proficiency, analytics agility, and community are pillars that can be part of your data strategy plan.

The seven key thoughts for driving action might include a thought process that asks many questions:

  1. Measure: if you can’t measure it, is it important? Will what you measure drive growth? Will it help you stop doing unproductive tasks? Are you measuring meaningful things?
  2. What are the questions you are asking of team members and stakeholders? Do you ask questions and listen, or do you just assume? How transparent is the access to your data? Self Service Models provide data that an on-demand world can find and leverage.
  3. Is segmentation part of your plan? Do you have strategies for your best clients? What is your new sales strategy? Do you have clients that need to be sunset? Are there target markets or verticals that could be easily accessed?
  4. Do you have stories that can be related to prospects that parallel the problems and issues you’ve solved for others? Can you highlight innovation and new ideas in industry publications or presenting at events?
  5. Are you training team members in Six Sigma, Experience Design and Advanced Sales Skills? Do you have the best performing, highly trained and polished sales and marketing teams?
  6. Where does storytelling fit in with your data driven insight strategies? Data Driven Insights involves everyone in your organization.
  7. What are the platforms you are using to gain customer feedback/ Do you have short succinct surveys, Customer Advisory Boards and Trusted Advisors that are your stakeholders?

How are you approaching your biggest challenges and opportunities? Are you in the Red Ocean or striving for the Blue Ocean? Blue Ocean Strategy – Wikipedia

New Vantage Partners recently reported that 98.6 percent of executives indicate that their organization aspires to a data-driven culture, while only 32.4 percent report having success. A 2018 IDC study also noted that organizations have invested trillions of dollars to modernize their business, but 70 percent of these initiatives fail because they prioritized technology investments without building a data culture to support it. What would these statistics look like four years later after the pandemic?

So what? Does it really matter to have a handle on one’s data? Whose responsibility, is it? IT, Sales, Marketing or Senior Executives? Ask yourself the question and the answer probably is that data driven decisions touch everyone in an organization. Working smarter, more productive and driving more revenue can be a result of fact-based data decision making. “Plan the Work, Work the Plan” is a simple way to integrate data into simple and complex decisions. If you can’t measure it, ask yourself “WHY”?

Gary Schirmacher, CMP

Chief Executive Officer

Total Hospitality Industry Solutions (THIS)

With 36 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Schirmacher has led the team at Total Hospitality Industry Solutions (THIS) since OCT 2020. Previously, he led Experient’s strategic plan development and implementation, as well as industry presence for Maritz Global Events for 25 years. He was awarded the company’s highest honor, the Pinnacle Award, in 2005, and was inducted into the Colorado Meetings Hall of Fame in 2011 with the Lifetime Achievement Award. He served as Chairman of the Meetings Industry Council of Colorado from 2001-2007. Schirmacher is the 2022 Chair for the MPI Global Foundation Board. He is a Past Chair of the Meetings Industry Fund. Gary is a member of the EIC APEX Commission for Business Recovery Task Force. He is a member of PCMA, MPI, IAEE, ASAE, Association Forum and CSAE. Schirmacher is a Past Chair of the PCMA Education Foundation Board of Trustees and a frequent speaker at major industry meetings and events. Schirmacher is a graduate of the Worldwide College of Auctioneering and Owner of Big Top Auctions USA

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