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4 Steps to Empowering Your Team to Make Data-Driven Decisions

If the last few months have taught us anything (besides quarantining being the ultimate recipe for cabin-fever-crazies), it’s that nothing is certain. While it’s impossible to plan for every event that disrupts our daily routine, it is still critical to plan. As a leader, you already likely understand the value of delegating responsibilities and empowering people to do their best. However, one of the best ways to prepare for any type of disruption is to cross-train your people. When you ensure others are equipped to take care of business, everyone wins. More importantly, your business won’t suffer when your top data analyst jumps ship to pursue her life’s dream of opening a neighborhood micro-brewery. To help you prep for the next business disruption, we’ve gathered four steps you can take now to empower everyone on your team to make data-driven decisions.

Step 1: Make Data-Analyzation a Team Effort

According to Google, “75 percent of marketers say a lack of education and training on data analysis and analytics is the biggest barrier to making more data-driven decisions.” If your marketing department or operations team is large, you may want to send a general invitation to everyone gauging interest in cross-training in data analysis. Then, you can choose your team from the pool of interested candidates.  If it is small, then make the pursuit of data analysis a required initiative.

If you aren’t sure where to begin, there are a number of great online courses that can help your team master the basics of data analysis. A few places to consider that offer a variety  of classes and certifications include: IBM, LinkedIn Learning and EdX, which hosts a selection of courses from leading universities, like Harvard, MIT, etc. Most online courses for business people are self-paced and enable folks to complete learning modules within six to 12 weeks.

Step 2: Establish an Easy-to-Follow Process

Once everyone on your newly minted data team has a grasp on the lingo and basics of data analysis, it’s time to introduce them to a systematic data analysis process that sets them up for ongoing success. Here is a four-step version we recommend following:

  1. Make a List of Everything You Want to Know. As you brainstorm questions to ask of your data, be sure to include overall company goals, as well as problems you would like to solve.
  2. Determine Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). If one of the goals on your list is to replicate the success of a marketing campaign, begin by asking questions, such as:
         a. What KPIs are most relevant to the problem/goal?
         b. How can each KPI be changed, improved or manipulated?
         c. What outcome will mark the endeavor a success?
  3. Collect Data, Monitor KPIs and Share Reports. Take inventory of all of the martech tools and databases to which marketing has access. Note the type of data each collects. To ensure your team is able to make decisions based on a complete picture, connect all data sources via a data integration tool. In addition, use a customer data platform (CDP) with a dashboard to give your team real-time visibility of all connected data. Doing so will enable them to develop a habit of monitoring important KPIs. A good CDP will also empower them to produce and share data trends they are monitoring with push-button ease. After all, if data analyzation is going to become a true team effort, then everyone should have a hand in sharing what they are seeing and learning from the data that is being collected.
  4. Repeat. As everyone on the team becomes more and more comfortable with asking questions and mining data for answers, new goals and questions will emerge. Encourage team members to take the initiative to pursue answers and work together as they monitor KPIs.

Step #3: Choose Martech Tools Everyone Can Use.

Although data analysis is a subject that requires some study and effort, there are a number of martech tools on the market today that boast the intuitive simplicity of a smart phone. Every person on your data analysis team should feel comfortable using the tech in your stack. If they aren’t, they won’t. Most developers offer free online or onsite training for users, as well as handy little tools like quick-start cards. It’s to their advantage to help your team love using their product, so make sure everyone gets trained on every single tool that is used. Lastly, when choosing martech for your stack, make it a priority to choose tools that offer ongoing user support. Post the contact information for user support in a place that is accessible to the team.

Step #4: Reward Team Members Who Make Data-Driven Decisions.   

Research has revealed a deep and measurable connection between employee recognition and retention. In fact, 63% of employees who are recognized are very unlikely to look for a new job. To keep your new cross-trained team fighting in your company’s corner; show them you are serious about developing a culture where decisions based on data are recognized and rewarded. Make a habit of honoring team members for a variety of data-driven actions, such as:

  • Asking a question and monitoring appropriate KPIs for the answer
  • Improving campaign results based on insights gained from monitoring data
  • Advancing the team by regularly sharing reports
  • Identifying a new data trend  

Your rewards don’t have to be expensive, but they should be frequent enough to keep team members engaged. Rewards should also be so desirable that team members are excited about becoming data-driven decision-makers.