The Enduring Importance of Data in Improving Your Go-To-Market Performance

I've been helping senior B2B go-to-market executives for almost 15 years. In that time, there have been countless business cycles, technological evolutions, and strategic shifts. Yet, amidst this constant change, one principle has remained steadfastly relevant:

"If you can measure it, you can improve it."

This mantra has guided G2M's approach to configuring HubSpot and onboarding and training marketers, sales and service people on how to use HubSpot to grow their business. We focus on two key things: 

  • How you get data in.
  • How you get data out.

Here are the top 3 universal elements we focus on for each:

Getting Data In

The foundation of any robust data strategy lies in how you collect and store your information. Here are the key elements I've learned to prioritize:

1. Build A Central Repository: The Single Source of Truth

Your data must reside in a central repository that is continuously updated. This repository becomes your single source of truth. Over the years, I've seen how disparate data sources lead to confusion, inefficiency, and decision-making paralysis. A unified data storage system ensures consistency, accessibility, and reliability across the organization. At the very least, your marketing, sales and service data MUST sit in the same central repository. Frankly, to not do so is madness. I can guarantee you are leaving money on the table if you aren't doing this.

2. Structured Data Design With Flexibility

Investing time in developing a data design and structure that accommodates the diverse needs of your organization is crucial. This flexibility allows for the seamless integration of data across various functions such as sales, service, and marketing. A well-considered data architecture supports current requirements but also accomodates future demands. With clear design, rules can be applied to ensure their application. For example drop down fields in website forms, or mandatory information sales people must enter when creating a deal.

3. Clear Data Management Rules

Establishing a clear set of rules for who manages the data structure and how any changes are implemented and how data is regularly cleaned is essential for maintaining data integrity. This governance framework ensures that modifications to the data architecture are controlled and documented and it doesn't descend into a free for all. 

Getting Data Out

The value of data is fully realized when it's transformed into actionable insights. This transformation is facilitated by reporting tools that adhere to three principles:

1. User-Friendly Dashboards

Dashboards should provide snapshots of the current state of play, offering a quick and comprehensive overview of key metrics updated on the fly. These visual representations are invaluable for decision-makers and team members alike, providing immediate insights without the need to dive into raw data.

2. Understandable Graphics

The power of well-crafted graphics lies in their ability to simplify complex data sets, making them accessible and interpretable by users at all levels. Good graphics means enhanced comprehension, facilitating informed decision-making across the organization.

3. Customization Capabilities

Each business has unique needs, goals, targets and KPIs. Reporting tools must be customizable to meet different user requirements. This ensures that insights are relevant, targeted, and actionable. The goal is to foster a culture of continuous improvement. Use a tool that doesn't require a degree in data analytics and coding to use! Ensure your tools report builder is easy to learn.  

Beyond Tracking: Data as a Learning Tool

Too often, businesses fall into the trap of using reporting solely as a means to track and manage performance. Whilst accountability is clearly important and a key use case for reporting, this approach can instill a sense of fear and reporting being seen as a "big stick." However, the true power of data lies in its capacity to serve as a learning tool. By asking, "What is the data telling us?" and "How can we iterate and improve?" the focus shifts from performance monitoring to ongoing improvement.

Data, when leveraged effectively, shines a light on how we can do better. It encourages a culture of inquiry and experimentation. Leaders should aim to foster an environment where data is not feared but embraced as a catalyst for learning and improvement.

By prioritizing a central data repository, structured data design, clear governance, rules, and user-friendly reporting, data becomes a tool for learning, improved performance and innovation.

Let's continue to measure wisely and improve ceaselessly.

Topics: b2b marketing b2b sales business growth reporting customer service