Your company is awash in data. In today’s digital age, business data comes from various sources, including customer interactions, sales figures, social media metrics, and operational statistics. E-commerce giants like Amazon track user behavior, purchase history, and browsing patterns to personalize recommendations and enhance user experience. Healthcare organizations utilize data from patient records, clinical trials, and wearables to improve treatments and develop innovative solutions. But what about your business?
This abundance of data presents opportunities and challenges for businesses striving to extract meaningful insights and make data-driven decisions. You’re probably asking, “Which data is most important, though?” That’s a key question to answer, especially if you want to make smarter business choices. Though all data has some value, you want to prioritize the data that will enable you to be faster, smarter, and more competitive. When you do, you can increase the efficiency of your team and hopefully grow your business.
This isn’t just theory. In early 2023, Google Cloud asked Harvard Business Review to conduct a survey for its organization. The survey showed that 81% of the companies that successfully navigated the economic upheaval of the pandemic years were serious about investing in data. A full 58% focused heavily on AI solutions as well.
The point here is clear: to be in the winner’s circle, you can’t afford to ignore your data. Yet you don’t need to treat all data as equally important. Your goal should be to pick and choose areas to harness your data to give you more decision-making confidence. Not sure which areas to concentrate on first? The following four should all benefit from routine data collection and evaluation.
1. SEO Efforts
Trying to outrank other businesses and websites for keywords is only getting more demanding. Even if you follow Google’s general SEO starter guidelines to the letter, you may only get a modest amount of traction. To rank more quickly for keywords and give your SEO efforts a lift, turn to data. Utilizing data-driven keyword research tools and analytics that track user search behavior and competition metrics can provide invaluable insights to refine your keyword targeting strategy.
One way to leverage keyword data is by using it to plan and organize your content. Consider creating content pillars for publishing blog articles, web pages, and other owned content. Content pillars include pillar pages built upon strong keywords. Other pages can then be written as extensions of the pillars, creating an authority-heavy network of interrelated content. As marketing strategy platform DemandJump explains, using pillar-based marketing can grow your topical authority. Rather than trying to come up with keywords on your own, you can rely on a data-rich platform to recommend keywords based on your company’s products or services.
In addition to content pillar marketing, you can also leverage data during other SEO practices like backlinking. Organic backlinks help show your dominance and legitimacy to search engine crawlers. You’ll need a way to monitor them and ensure they’re coming from authority-rich places, though. Therefore, it’s worthwhile to invest in a SaaS platform or application that can monitor your backlinks in real-time. That way, you have more control moving forward and be able to keep making smart SEO moves based on numbers, not instincts.
2. Financial Data
Financial data should form the backbone of strategic decision-making for any business. Utilizing this type of data effectively helps business owners gain insights into revenue streams, cost structures, and overall financial health. If you want to turn a profit, you really can’t ignore these numbers. By leveraging tools for financial analysis and forecasting, you can make informed decisions to optimize profitability, manage cash flow, and allocate resources.
For example, examining financial data trends can help you identify areas of high and low performance within different product lines or services. This allows business owners or CFOs to strategically allocate resources to their most profitable ventures while reevaluating underperforming areas. You’d avoid wasting money and time by ensuring you prioritize your money makers. There are many tools you can use to make keeping track of this data easier. Tools like QuickBooks can track expenses, revenues, and cash flow in real-time.
As an added bonus, financial data analysis also aids in risk management and strategic planning. By carefully examining historical data and market trends, you can forecast potential risks and opportunities. This allows you to take proactive measures to reduce risks and capitalize on emerging market trends. Overall, leveraging financial data ultimately leads to sustainable business growth and profitability. If you’re not closing examining these numbers, set aside time to do so.
3. Customer Service Approaches
Another area where data can be your best friend is your customer service department. For instance, a predictive data software solution can anticipate problems before they arise by spotting trends. This makes you more able to put measures in place to avoid costly problems, such as foreseeable customer returns.
With improvements in generative AI, the customer service data you amass can be more than just numbers. Consider generative AI transcription software as an example. This type of software can be trained to understand customer language and interpret tones. CMSWire reporting notes that customer service representatives who rely on generative AI in a “copilot” capacity feel like they’re able to be 14% more productive. Plus, they’re less likely to want to leave, which is a boon for your company if you’ve dealt with constant agent turnover.
Happy, satisfied customers are those whose issues get handled right away with a minimum amount of friction. If you’re struggling to keep buyers from churning, putting money into being more data-driven in your customer support workflows makes sense. By harnessing data to predict customer needs and behavior, you can proactively address issues, personalize experiences, and preemptively provide solutions. This helps foster stronger relationships and loyalty, ultimately reducing churn rates significantly.
Take a moment to walk through your customer journeys to begin. You’ll soon find areas where data innovations (and maybe generative AI products like agent assistants and chatbots) can address gaps. Once those gaps are filled, you should experience less customer dropoff. At that point, you can start to make changes aimed at improving your existing customer service now that you have a baseline to work from.
4. Employee Engagement Strategies
If you’ve been following Gallup’s yearly employee engagement polls, you know that active worker engagement has dropped to 32%. At the same time, disengagement is up to 18%. To avoid having teams of unhappy staffers, use data in creative ways to improve the employee experience.
Case in point, you may want to elicit employee feedback through anonymous surveys or small-meeting focus groups. With the insights you glean, you can begin to build a database that reveals the engagement level throughout your workforce. Be sure to pick out a few key performance indicators to measure, too, such as historic turnover rates and absenteeism rates.
In time, you’ll be able to get a benchmark reading of your employee engagement. From that point, you can begin to take measures to nudge it upward. As an example, you might begin to routinely recognize and reward employees to see if it produces a measurable effect. Remember: Engaged employees are more loyal and are better suited to be champions for your brand. With data, you can better understand how to keep high performers from leaving and help them reach their full potential.
Informed Decisions Benefit Your Business
Every day, you and your team members are going to have to make big and small decisions. Being able to use data as a guide allows everyone to move ahead with more assurance and keep your organization on the right track. Data keeps everyone on the same page and provides insights you wouldn’t otherwise have. It’s worth taking your time to explore and understand the data you have available.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Karolina Grabowska; Pexels; Thank you.