The Data-Driven Leader

July 16, 2020  |  Posted by in Leadership Development, Sales Enablement, Sales Planning

Every business operating today knows the importance of data. Accurate data allows companies to garner information about their customers’ buying behaviors and base important business decisions upon analytically derived insights rather than basic intuition or experience. In other words, data is the key to helping companies innovate and discover the “next big thing” when it comes to pleasing their customers and getting a step ahead of the competition.

But many companies and leaders struggle to capture and use data effectively. According to a Harvard Business Review article, much of it has to do with the fact that at many traditional (i.e. not digitally-native) organizations, data simply isn’t prioritized at the leadership level even though the leaders at these organizations recognize the transformative impact data can have on the growth of their business. So why are leaders not prioritizing data, and what can they do to change the tide and create a data-driven culture at their organization? Here are two major factors to consider:

Go beyond simply purchasing and deploying the technology solution. Many leaders believe that merely purchasing a software or hardware solution will make their company more data-driven. While having the technology will certainly lead you in the right direction, it will be of no benefit to your organization if you are not using it properly. In fact, misuse, neglect, and lack of a planned process or direction surrounding the use of your technology can set you back and create a “dirty data” problem that defeats the purpose of capturing data in the first place. And, it creates a bigger problem for you when it comes to making decisions and gathering insights from inaccurate and inconsistent data. Planning out your company’s technology usage ahead of time (before it’s deployed), incorporating it into your existing processes, and then communicating how it should be used throughout your organization is key to being data-driven.

Lead by example. As a leader, it is up to you to ensure you are prioritizing accurate and consistent data capture. If your team members see that data is not important to you, then it won’t be important to them and your organization will never have the data it needs to grow. Leaders should ensure their attitude and actions demonstrate the importance of accurate data and analytics. Make it a point to show your team how you capture data and the insights that result, and frequently ask them to update you on the data they have captured in whatever technology system you use. Whether you’re a sales leader who leads a CRM for your sales team, a human resources manager who leads an HCM for your human resources team, or a marketing manager who leads a marketing automation tool for your marketing team, it is up to every leader within an organization to demonstrate the consistent and proper use of their system to their team. And taken a step further, it’s up to everyone at the organization (from executives to leaders to individual team members) to work together to ensure proper data capture, integration, and sharing of data among their systems to create the best environment for data-driven insights.

The most driven leaders recognize that, in today’s world, data and technology are a part of everyone’s job. They make certain they implement processes on their teams that result in consistent and accurate data capture, and they lead by example to ensure their business has the data and insights it needs to grow into the future.

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