As we close out 2018 and reflect on conversations we’ve had throughout the year, a few things remain consistent – across the board, employees are being asked to do more with data. Sales teams are being asked to use analytics for finding new revenue streams. Operations departments are being asked to increase profits and improve margins through data-driven efficiencies. To get all of this accomplished, companies are continually looking for new, deeper dimensions in their data sets and faster methods to take advantage of them.
Cortera has found that the companies most successful in using data to achieve their goals, start with questions surrounding the applicability of data rather than the amount of data available. Their questions may flow in a similar order to “What am I trying to achieve?” followed by “What insights would help me achieve this?” and then “What data points would provide these insights?”
Let’s take Sales for example, “How can I find new revenue streams?” clearly sets up what the team is trying to accomplish. Insightful questions might include:
- Who are my best customers today?
- Where can I find more like them in current markets?
- Are there other industries with companies of similar characteristics for expansion?
- What do they buy? (borrowed from the consumer space to identify data points deriving these insights)
- When and where do they make purchases?
- How and when do they pay?
Purchasing behaviors have driven consumer marketing strategies for decades, only to be further amplified by the continual improvements in consumer data. Today, businesses are also able to take advantage of B2B purchasing behaviors to drive commercial sales and marketing strategies.
From an Operations standpoint, “How can I increase profits and improve margins?” involves several touch points across the supply chain. The questions start with decisions on trade credit, such as:
- What is the risk associated with extending trade credit to this company?
- What should the credit limit be?
- What knowledge of this industry do I have to negotiate terms?
- How do I know they will pay on time? (insights to manage the relationship)
- What if their financial situation changes?
- What industry trends might impact us?
- How do I mitigate risk of a disruption in cash flow?
Key data points in delivering these insights include: business credit scores, risk monitoring tools, behavioral modeling and analysis of industry trends.
It is amazing how far some of these resources have come in terms of capabilities. Much of this analysis is available today via self-serve tools, enabling companies of any size or skill set to make data-driven decisions in minutes. Companies aren’t required to have a data scientist or weeks of wait time in order to conduct the analysis. The predictive capabilities derived from behavioral models and risk scoring can help you identify the best opportunities while mitigating risk upfront. In the meantime, utilizing automated risk monitoring services on a daily basis enables you to identify default potential in time to react and protect your business.
Once your questions have been addressed through a data-driven insights analysis, the best practice is to continually monitor the performance of your decisions. This can be accomplished by portfolio scoring assessments done each month or quarter. This process will help you analyze your expected outcomes and identify areas for improvement. For more information on this topic, call 855.667.8594 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.