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10 Ways Data Can Be Your Strategic Advantage

There’s no dispute that data is a hot topic in business today. From sales and marketing to HR and operations, having the right data enables you to make strategic decisions faster. It gives your business what it needs to get an edge over the competition. And what business doesn’t love a competitive advantage? Let’s take a look at 10 ways data can be a strategic advantage for your business. 

1. Increasing sales and identifying future opportunities  

Sales data shows what customers bought and when. This enables more accurate forecasts of future sales activity. Customer relationship management (CRM), website, marketing and social media data also reveal a great deal. Data can also help people manage time more effectively by providing a view of how many more products to sell, and when to sell them. It’s possible to look at what a customer bought and when and use that data to forecast when they’ll buy again. Plus, these details can help determine whether it’s appropriate to offer complementary products for cross-sell opportunities.  

2. Outperforming the competition  

Data allows businesses to better understand the demands of their customers, which enables them to position their products or services more strategically than competitors. For example, data can help you determine which features your customers want to see in your next big product launch. Having this insight ensures that your audience gets what it wants when launch day arrives. Data also provides insight into who is visiting your website, how your marketing campaigns are performing and who is buying your products. With the right data, creating customized experiences for your customers is easier. 

3. Improving or enhancing products and services  

When customers react to specific products and services, they create accessible and useful data. Painful criticism and accolades alike offer better understanding of what customers want, as well as what potential customers will expect. Reviews and other social media data, product returns, email data such as open rate, click-through rate, and conversion data or delivery data all help form a comprehensive picture. You can apply your insights back into your business and repeat the tactics, practices and enhancements that work, or apply your findings to other areas of the business.  

4. Expanding into new markets 

It’s difficult to determine where to expand into new markets without data. Demographic data can offer a glimpse of the age groups that are active in an established market or a new one. Website data and metrics can tell visitor location, language, search terms and referring sites. There might also be more direct interaction, such as who is making inquiries, making purchases and reviewing products. Meanwhile, website, blog, product and service reviews combined with advertising and social media trends provide considerable data on emerging markets. In addition, data about customer bases, payment, and delivery are instrumental in building an expansion plan. 

5. Attracting, winning, and retaining more customers  

To attract, win and retain more customers, it’s important to know which tactics work (or don’t work). It can be difficult to target the right message to the right group if you don’t know their preferences and habits. Data can show businesses if what they’re doing to increase wins and loyalty is working. Other customer data collected by businesses over time from transactions, surveys, and gated marketing assets can be useful for segmentation. Customer age, income, living environment, household buying habits, average spend on certain goods, job position and other information are useful if you want to reach different audiences. 

6. Improving operations 

Data offers insight on each phase of operations and processes to make diagnosis of weaknesses or errors easier. Data can help operations forecast a multitude of circumstances based on past blockages and issues throughout, ranging from the best-possible result to the worst-case scenario. It’s possible to work backwards using data to identify what’s happening that’s holding operations and processes back, eliminating the doubt and uncertainty of guesswork in the process. When businesses integrate data into their operational processes, they can run more smoothly.  

7. Recruiting, hiring, and growing talent 

A business is only as good as its employees. Data can play a pivotal role in making sure you hire and grow the best talent. The data HR collects can help identify which candidates are the best fit, saving time and boosting the potential of your business. Data related to employee performance can be used to determine bonuses and raises — both integral to keeping morale high and motivation higher. For those businesses that want to develop their current talent (all businesses), data can be used to gauge ongoing education programs to ensure your employees grow and remain at the cutting edge of emerging trends and technologies. 

8. Accelerating planning, budgeting, and forecasting 

If you work in finance, you might know the importance of data for long and short-term planning. The insights you can glean, however, come from beyond just financial data. What you might not realize is that operational data (from both inside and outside the organization) can improve and enhance planning, budgeting and forecasting processes.  

The volume and variety of non-financial data can be a treasure trove of information about future performance. Non-financial data can include information about supply chain problems, HR trends, product quality issues, and even the weather. For example, browsing metrics from a company’s website can indicate the popularity of specific items well before the sales data reflects high demand. When identified and used effectively, this kind of information can be invaluable to forecasters. 

9. Protecting the brand 

Occasionally, the reputation of a business will take a hit. In those instances, social media tools can be used to monitor and view trends around the topic. But the good news is that social media data can also be used to protect and/or repair a brand reputation. The data generated by blogs and social networks can help you identify unhappy customers before their negative opinions go viral. In addition, this data can help you better gauge sentiment and pull a problematic product or service before it becomes a big issue that affects sales. 

10. Identifying areas for improvement 

Opportunities for business improvement are infinite in every business unit and throughout the organization. Data can help you identify policies, products, services and other offerings that are not delivering the best possible business results. Examining data from every aspect can pinpoint where waste or inefficiency should be addressed or where you’re leaving money on the table.  

Data can also help with the key performance indicators (KPIs) used to improve different aspects of the business. For example, what indicators require daily monitoring, a weekly review or monthly analysis? Which KPIs mandate full, immediate attention, and which ones need just a tweak? The data you collect can assist you with categorizing and prioritizing those gauges, separating them from the indicators that don’t require constant monitoring. 

Harnessing the power of data  

There’s so much you can do with data if you have the right tools and solutions. Where your data is located, accessed, and how it’s secured and protected is vital to the many teams within your company — all of which are dependent on your data storage solutions. Want to gain access to insights and reports to share with your IT team to get started? Read the full eBook here

Is your business faced with new data and storage challenges? Reach out to us to learn more about a storage assessment and solutions that help increase the reliability, availability, and efficiency of your storage environments.