When you’re talking about making analytics actionable, those terms may seem like modern-day business jargon. But the words “analytics” and “actionable” were first used in the age of Shakespeare — around 1590, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
The Oxford dictionaries define “analytics” as “the systematic computational analysis of data or statistics” or “information resulting from the systematic analysis of data or statistics”. While the dominant definition of “actionable” has to do with legality, The Oxford dictionaries define it as “able to be done or acted on; having practical value”.
So, when we’re talking about making analytics actionable, we’re talking about taking information that’s derived from systematic data analysis and using it to drive actions that have practical value.
Here are three ways to turn analytics insights into actions that make your company more competitive:
1) Gain visibility and control: People often use analytics to understand what’s already happened, but don’t look beyond “what” to ask “why.” By understanding why certain patterns emerge in your data, you gain greater visibility and control over what’s happening right now.
For example, when you understand why certain factors affect your margins, your sales team is better able to address underperforming products and customers, identify potential revenue opportunities and design more optimal coverage models for your reps.
2) Put analytics in the right hands and functional areas to drive change: To get results, you need a way to deliver analytical information to sales reps at the product and account level. This empowers reps to negotiate from an informed position and use data to have strategic conversations with customers.
Also, when reps have good access to customer analytics, they’re better able to invest coverage resources in high-quality leads. It helps them to identify opportunities with large value and position sales offers in the context of a dynamic market. For example, if there’s a lot of variability in a commodity and price wars break out, you want to quickly reposition your offer in relation to that dynamic market.
3) Build an ecosystem: To get the best results from your analytics, you need the ability to monitor what’s happening and use that data to adapt. As you build this process into your company’s DNA, constantly evaluate the criteria you’re using to ensure they stay relevant: Are you looking at the right variables and assessing the marketplace effectively? By maintaining the quality of this information, you’re developing a competitive advantage through pricing and sales sophistication.
Again, making analytics actionable means taking information that’s derived from systematic data analysis and using it to drive actions that have practical value. That value could be significant; some companies have used these analytics tools to improve their margins by 200 points. This kind of additional profitability helps ensure additional investment in the future and ongoing development of new products and services, resulting in an upward spiral of continued success.