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Guide to Leveraging Data to Drive Revenue

Updated: Aug 23

Your goal is in sight, you’ve set yourself a plan to achieve it, departments are aligned with your OKRs, and the flywheel is moving. However, things aren’t quite progressing as smoothly as you planned. Sound familiar? If so, it’s likely that you’ll be losing revenue and missing opportunities - often caused by one or more of the following factors:

  • Mis-alignment between marketing, sales, and customer success

  • Information silos between departments

  • Duct-taped processes causing friction and inefficient processes

  • Technology stack implementation working against rather than supporting the business

  • Decisions being made based on incomplete, incorrect, and unavailable data

An underlying reason for issues such as the above is that organisations tend not to incorporate data as a key driver in their revenue strategy. Not only that, Gartner even reports that 40% of all anticipated value of business initiatives does not get realised due to poor data quality in the planning and execution phases of these initiatives.


Mis-alignment between marketing, sales, and customer success


When setting up your revenue operations, a symbiotic relationship between these departments is not being considered (enough). The glue between these departments is the data.

Think about the prospect to customer lifecycle of your business. This should be clearly defined in your business strategy to ensure that at each stage the right resources and people in your business are being employed to add value, convert, and retain.

In this entire cycle, information about the prospect or customer, the way in which you got in touch with them, the acquisition process, and their level of satisfaction with your product should be collected, shared, and stored for future purposes.

Now for purposes of illustration, let’s take the relationship between marketing and business development. Marketing would involve collecting information about the prospect such as contact details as well as the channel in which they got to your company, along with which pieces of content mattered to them the most. Data such needs to be shared with the next touch point, which is most probably your business development team. Your business development team will need this information to contact the prospect. That way, they can position a conversation more intelligently as they will understand what content the prospect is interested in and when.

In addition, they will also understand how to prioritise their pipeline and create effective cadences. In the other direction, once a business development representative has contacted a prospect, they can relay the information back to marketing. If it was successful – can your marketing department create more initiatives around the same campaigns or content? If not, why is this the case? Can they do anything differently? Or, is it a matter of creating effective nurture campaigns? According Forrester B2B organisations with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations can achieve 24% faster three-year revenue growth and 27% faster three-year profit growth.

This particular tangible asset – data – not only do we often tend to neglect when crafting a business strategy but we tend to consider it in isolation. If we think in this manner isn’t it natural for OKRs – which for the most part should be data based - to also be mis-aligned and created in isolation by departments?

Therefore, from the moment you are crafting your business strategy, data should form part of the conversation. Otherwise, you will inadvertently create a gap between your departments, even when it is well-intended to integrate.

Information silos between departments

Now as departments are managing their own interests, and there is no well-thought-out infrastructure for knowledge sharing, it begins to cause information silos. Information silos affect the way in which decisions are made on business initiatives. We see this happen often when technology acquisition is made without the consideration of how this aligns with other departments and business processes.

Silos cause a lack of synergy, duplication of efforts, and missed opportunities. IDC Research further echoed this, with their report estimating that B2B organisations that have mis-aligned marketing and sales departments incur a cost of 10% or more of revenue per year.

Duct-taped processes causing friction and inefficient processes

Not having data as a key driver in your revenue strategy causes another major issue for your organisation. Business processes are the lifeline of any organisation. This is because it helps streamline activities (along the prospect to customer life cycle) to ensure optimal use of resources.

Now, these activities often get materialised based on the data flow through the entire process. But, one of the biggest issues many organisations face is that when building processes, they do not consider the data capture and movement well enough which then causes inefficiency and friction internally, for your prospect and for your customers. Especially as business processes become automated, data quality becomes the rate limiting factor to overall process quality.

Technology stack implementation working against rather than supporting the business

When it comes to automation and creating a technology infrastructure to support the business, not considering the data flow of your prospect to customer life cycle in your strategy causes many technology stack acquisitions to be mis-purchased, poorly implemented, and so not well adopted. Most organisations tend to start looking at acquiring technology as a means of patching up their data and process challenges. But in actual fact, it was probably not the right technology nor the right time.


Decisions being made based on incomplete, incorrect, and unavailable data

What happens now is that the mis-alignment of revenue operations, the silo-ed information, the duct-taped processes and ill-implemented or patchwork technology infrastructure are causing data to be incomplete, incorrect, and unavailable. As a result, you are now forced to make business decisions around your strategies, forecasting, budgeting and P&L based on bad data; and your business processes aren’t optimised for efficiency to deliver better products or services. Therefore, it can be said that this is holding you back from achieving the growth, agility, and competitiveness that you want to achieve.



The Eight Components of Integrating Data into your Revenue Strategy



If your business has encountered issues such as the above, then it’s time to make data a key driver in your revenue strategy and incorporate data to improve your day to day decision making and transform your business operations.

What data you will gather in your prospect to customer life cycle and how you will analyse it completely depends on what you are looking to achieve. So, you ask yourself the question: how can data help me achieve my objectives? Another important thing to remember is that data strategy is never a stand-alone activity and so should be driven by your overarching business strategy.

You should aim to answer the following questions:

1. What are your business goals and what are the Revenue Big Bets that will get you there?

It is important to be clear here. What objectives and strategic priorities do you want to meet and how is data going to help you achieve this?

2. How do you track and measure your objectives and outcomes?

What are the key indicators that tell you that you are heading in the right direction for each of the big bets that you have in place? Understanding which metrics and key performance indicators are most important to your business is critical to the success of a data and analytics strategy.

3. Have you organised all your internal activities such as Forecasting, Budgeting, Commissions Planning, Quota & Target Setting?

All these activities will need to be defined from a program and process perspective in order to understand what data will be required to be able to manage and drive these effectively.

4. What data do you need to be able to create insights that will drive the business?

Once you have defined and examined your big bets, your KPIs, and your internal activities, you can think about the ideal data that you want and need to be able to drive them. How much of that are you already collecting in the business? If there are any gaps, where and how will you be able to retrieve this data?

5. What business processes do you need to create to help streamline activities and capture the movement of data throughout?

Examine your business processes, and construct one that will streamline your activities and allow for data collection and capture as well as allowing data sharing between departments to happen as seamlessly as possible.

6. Are you ensuring people in your business are sufficiently skilled and enabled?

Many businesses nowadays don’t have a sufficient means of making use of data due to their staff not having the necessary skills. Luckily, this can be addressed by either training your existing workforce, hiring new staff members, or perhaps outsourcing data analysis to a competent third-party.

7. Is your technology stack fit for purpose?

It’s important to ensure you have an infrastructure in place that can support your data and processes' needs. Only once you have decided on what your data strategy and business processes are going to look like, can you assess your current technology stack. Are you using the right CRM and Analytics tools? Can your tools integrate and work the same way you need your business processes to align and integrate?

8. How are you governing your entire ecosystem?

When it comes to governance it is important to govern the entire ecosystem. As you can see your data is key and interconnected to your strategy, the processes and your technology stack. So, consider governing your strategy – with any changes how does this affect your data, processes and systems? Ensure the integrity, usability and availability of your data is coherent with your business objectives.


Conclusion

It’s safe to say that data should always be a part of the conversation when setting your revenue strategy. It ensures that you are building integrative business processes that align your functional department. Doing this will remove risks of information silos; eliminate friction in the process; and technology acquisition will be much more thoughtful and fit for purpose. You can be confident about the data-driven decisions you are making about your business. After all, data enables you to stay competitive, achieve accelerated growth, and become more agile.

So, if you’d like to improve processes and boost efficiency within your business in the near future, then it’s clear that making data a key driver in your revenue strategy is the perfect way to achieve this.

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