Revving Up a Data-Driven Team: Fueling Your Culture

Revving Up a Data-Driven Team

Part 1: Fueling Your Culture

For marketers, the course is clear: Their organizations must become data-driven in order to succeed. The good news is that your leadership has already bought into this idea. 91% of senior executives who responded to a recent Forbes Insight survey agreed that “data-driven marketing is crucial to success within a hyper-competitive global economy.”

Perhaps even more encouraging – 85% of the respondents felt senior leaders support and advocate for data initiatives.

And yet, only 44% agreed that in their companies, “marketing is fully data driven, achieving significant business outcomes.” Only 49% felt that the statement would be true two years from now.

So while data analytics may have support and prioritization, it isn’t yet paying off for most businesses.

You may be stuck at this crossroads, trying to make your team and organization more data driven. You may be wondering how exactly to make this change.

Our five-part series will show you the way. Because in fact, there isn’t a single approach that will work for everybody. (If it was easy, you would have implemented it by now.)

Part 1 covers culture. While this step will take time, the good news is that it doesn’t haven’t to be costly.

Making Preparations

  • Agree on common goals. You’ve hopefully already developed measureable goals for your group – a revenue target, a growth metric, etc. If you haven’t, you need to. Otherwise, you won’t know what you’re using your data to measure.
  • Acknowledge the past – and put it behind you. You likely have team members frustrated by their previous BI experiences. The data requests that took days or weeks to get fulfilled. The analytics tool that took a year to implement – and then nobody used. Maybe the tool was too difficult, or didn’t deliver on its sales promise. All of that needs to be honestly recognized. But then put those feelings aside. Your team needs to go into a culture change realistic but open minded.

Getting Started

  • Get your early adopters on board. When a new process or tool gets introduced top-down, it comes with skepticism and reluctance. Instead, ask your most innovative employees to try out the new way of doing things. Get their honest feedback. As they find successes, they’ll be eager to share their findings with their co-workers … who in turn will be excited about using it themselves.
  • Open access to everybody. Data analysis is no longer for a few technical specialists. Everybody on your team needs to be comfortable with BI – and that includes your leadership.
  • Allow time for self-discovery. As your team is learning, it’s going to take a little time for them to become data savvy. Encourage them to explore and go beyond the specific reporting they used to get. They likely have a wish list of data requests they never thought anybody would get around to providing. Let your team members be curious – and see what they can discover.

You’re On Your Way

  • Make – and keep – a routine. And then go beyond that. Establish a rhythm when data is reviewed. Hold team members accountable. But also make data review so ingrained in your company culture that you’ll stop a meeting to uncover a metric. (This is easy enough to do with a user-friendly BI tool.) Business owners should expect to know their numbers – or be prepared to access them quickly.
  • Reward findings. Even when they reveal ugly truths. Insights should be popping up everywhere. Make sure you recognize that! If somebody has figured how to generate more revenue – develop a way to thank them. This could be a special mention at a team meeting, a “Data Wizard” hat, or a spot bonus. It won’t always be the home run of generating $1M in revenue. Just like bug bounties, awarded for finding defects in a system or website, acknowledge those who find waste or uncover data integrity problems.
  • Make data-influenced decisions. Don’t just admire the charts and other visualizations you’ve developed. Make sure your team develops plans based on their newly acquired knowledge. And then acts upon it.

The road is now mapped for transforming your team culture:

  1. Acknowledge the past, and set goals for the future.
  2. First introduce your new analytics tool to early adopters, then share it with everybody.
  3. Get into a rhythm of reviewing data and making decisions.

In our next installment, we’ll discuss how to shift your organizational structure to become more data driven.

Bert van Dijk CC BY

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