This article, our latest on data-driven innovation, was originally published in Chief Executive (yesterday).

According to a 2014 IBM study, three out of five mid-market executives have gained a competitive advantage from information and analytics.  But with all the noise in the market about analytics, and unclear ROI from investments in data initiatives, it can be challenging for CEOs to right-size investments in analytics and create more data-driven organizations. One helpful practice to focus efforts is to simply “get real” by finding other companies similar to yours and looking at analytic approaches that have worked before making big investments in people, technology and processes for data projects.  Here are a few examples of companies doing it right:

  • FleetRisk Advisors helps trucking and logistics organizations and commercial fleets improve their performance. They have access to mountains of data about their drivers and vehicles.  Predictive analytics has helped the company achieve a minimum of 20 percent reduction in the overall accident rate and an 80 percent reduction in severe accidents.  Identifying risk factors–especially those that contribute to driver fatigue–has helped them provide a more reliable service for their customers, protect valuable cargo, and most importantly, keep drivers and other road-users safe.
  • Plymouth Rock, a automobile insurance provider, faces an increasing competitive market from national brands known for low cost services. They needed to focus on a specific niche, with messaging that resonated to the market.  By doing a series of online multivariate tests targeted to educators, they increased online quotes 300% and reducing cost-per-quote by 33%.  Personally, my experience with multivariate testing is similar and these kinds of results are very achievable with affordable new technologies.  Multivariate testing tools enable marketers to quickly test hundreds (or thousands) of versions of a web page and find winners that produce quantifiable gains in key metrics.
  • Iron Mountain. They assist organizations across 36 countries and five continents with storing, protecting, and managing information. With complex client needs and countless ways clients use to interact with Iron Mountain, account management tactics were more reactive than proactive. By incorporating a predictive data model, account managers are now alerted if they have clients at risk of leaving, and they’re given specific recommendations within their CRM system to help retain the client.

The number of cloud based solutions that help companies achieve results similar to the ones above are proliferating, yet according to the IBM Study, only one-third of midmarket companies have adopted cloud technologies to achieve data-driven insights.  Here are some tips on how to bridge this gap and “get real” with data-driven initiatives:

  • Take inspiration from other companies in the market who have similar challenges as yours. Charge your team with “getting outside” and proactively seeking out examples from other companies worth emulating.
  • Start small. Before investing in a big data infrastructure, have a specific use case in mind and conduct focused experiments to solve particular problems.
  • Identify key data gaps. It’s vital that your organization “know what you don’t know” about your sales prospects, current customers and markets.  We recommend a structured process to proactively identify and fill key data gaps.  This can yield golden insights and dramatic gains in sales and marketing effectiveness.

For additional perspective or guidance on how your company can “get real” with sales and marketing analytics, drop us a line at 917-373-74351.