5 Steps to Consider for a Holistic and Actionable Data Strategy for BPMs

These five steps are "mile markers" to consider as you build or refine your data strategy. While the details behind each step are different for everyone, considering these five steps will help validate that you are going down the right path during a very difficult and complex process.

  1. Self-Awareness: Define your data strategy
  2. Types of Data (Internal and External): Determine data that fits your strategy
  3. How to Leverage the Investment: Everyone can benefit
  4. How to Make it Actionable: All departments
  5. Predictive Analytics: See the future

Step 1: Self-awareness.
It's time to define an actionable data strategy.

I won't bore you with the details regarding the evolution of Big Data and Predictive Analytics. What I will say, though, is that we are out of excuses in the building products industry.

  • All B2C and most B2B industries have proven Big Data and Predictive Analytics to be a necessity.
  • Access to data is at an all-time high. Internally, BPMs have adopted and made significant investments in ERP, CRM, and Marketing/Sales Automation solutions. And externally, the construction industry has a number of credible market data providers.
  • Ownership and management require data to validate all strategies now more than ever. It's not just your marketing strategy (as you'll learn from Step 3).

It is important to understand how your company and its departments view and use data. This will help you define the scope of your company-wide data strategy. Yes, I saidcompany-wide data strategy.

Multiple B2B Big Data research studies suggest that more and more managers are asking their marketing teams to assist in overall company growth using data. The same studies cite a considerable "lack of understanding" at the management level in how best to utilize big data and predictive analytics for company growth.

Point being: As a marketer who does have an understanding of data and analytics, you have an opportunity to be a driving force in formulating company-wide strategies as opposed to being given a siloed strategy to work within.

A few simple questions will help get you on your way:

  • How do your company and its departments view data?
  • Are some departments different than others or are there overlapping and consistent views?
  • Do your views on data align with your company's mission and goals?

When you ask these questions, consider the following four qualifying statements and what each says about where you are today as it relates to data:

  1. "We need data to help make smarter decisions." More than likely, you do not have a data strategy at any level. You know data is important, but you're not sure of the extent and cleanliness of existing data, nor do you have a clear picture of what external data sources are available to you.
  2. "We have data, we just need to make it actionable." You feel confident in the integrity of your data, but you may or may not actually have a data strategy in place. And you aren't sure of the best ways to put your data to work.
  3. "We need to show ROI from our data." You are actively using data to support your marketing campaigns, but you may or may not have a data strategy in place. And you're struggling to connect the dots between data and company growth (market share, leads, and sales).
  4. "We need to leverage predictive analytics across the entire organization." You are actively using data to drive marketing campaigns and you can validate your data investment, but you may or may not have a data strategy in place. Now you are looking for ways to integrate your data into all departments to have an impact on overall company growth.

What do all four statements have in common? That a company-wide data strategy is not in place. Recent industry surveys suggest that well over 80% of all B2B marketers do not have a formal, company-wide, data strategy in place.

So, where do you start? Aside from working with a strategic partner with experience building data strategies, here are a few things to consider:

  • Put someone in charge
  • Identify your company's "data culture"
  • Identify existing data and undergo a data audit
  • Establish "data needs" for each department
  • Map out how to make data actionable for each department
  • Create processes and procedures
  • Write up a formal plan and get buy-in from all levels

Next step: Investigate what data is available internally and externally to meet the needs of your data strategy. This is where the journey becomes very different for everyone. If you are looking for a partner to help with your data strategy, please feel free to call or send an email to learn more about Steps 2-5.