Using your data to make smart business decisions

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It has never been easier to collect customer and business data; in fact, some might say it has become too easy as there becomes a danger of collecting more data than you know what to do with. In addition, the use of cloud storage has made it easier to store more data without reaching a storage capacity. 

However, amongst your masses of data, not all of it will be useful and some could be poor quality so the question is, how to you obtain data that is useful and data that can be used to make smart decisions and implement strategies? 

What is data and what is it used for?

Let’s start at the beginning and establish what we mean by data. There is a common misconception that data means numbers and statistics, but data can be any form of insight such as customer feedback, competitor activity, sales information, website usage, employee information and much more.

High quality data can be essential for several reasons:

  • Improve decision making
  • Identify opportunities and stay ahead of the competition
  • Improve business performance
  • Offer better customer service
  • Enhance employee satisfaction
  • Make internal processes more efficient

According to Forbes, 59% are using their data to improve decision making and research by Deloitte revealed that 49% say data has helped them to make better business decisions.

What type of data should be collected?

When it comes to data there is masses of data that you can collect but we believe the main categories are customer, sales, marketing, internal and external.


Some argue that customer data is the most important data your organisation can collect as customers are the lifeblood of your business. There is so much customer data that is available that we could probably write a blog post on customer data collection alone! But, some of the key questions to ask yourself when reviewing your customer data are as follows:

  • What products did your customer look at before they purchased?
  • What was the final deal size?
  • Have they had any support enquiries or complaints?
  • Did they compare several products before purchasing?
  • When are they due to renew or re-purchase?
  • Lifetime value – how long did they stay with the business and why did they leave?

The collection of personal information such as contact name, number and email address are vital, and early segmentation is recommended so you can target your customers with appropriate messages. Segments could include industry, budget and location but the segmentation opportunities are endless.


Sales data can provide a highly valuable source of insight into your business and can help make decisions surrounding price, distribution, and new product development.

  • What product is the most popular?
  • Which products have the highest/lowest profit margins?
  • Do certain products have longer or shorter lead times?
  • Are you meeting your sales objectives, if not, why not?
  • Look at your sales funnel – what are the weak points in the sales journey?
  • How long does it take to convert a lead into a sale?

Getting a clear insight into your sales data can help you set sales targets, work on sales forecasting to help manage your cash flow and implement strategies to drive business growth.


The rise of digital marketing has made it easy to obtain almost anything you want to know about your prospects and customers and how they are engaging with your marketing activity. In fact, 34% of businesses now rely on this approach to improve their data-driven marketing.

  • Website analytics: what are users looking at on your website? How long are they spending on the website?
  • How engaged are your social media followers and what content do they engage with?
  • How many respondents open your email marketing messages and what links do they click on?
  • What keywords do your search engine users search for?
  • Are you targeting the right prospects?
  • Have you got your timing right when targeting prospects?


When we consider internal data we are looking at HR data, and analysing this data is important as employees should be at the heart of any strategic decision making.

  • Which areas of your businesses have seen the most accidental injuries – why?
  • Employee retention – how long do employees stay with your business and why do they leave?
  • Attendance and absence – how many days off are employees taking, when is it occurring and why?
  • What is your projected future workforce and how will your decisions impact that?
  • Recruitment reports – how long does it take to recruit new staff and how much does it cost?
  • Who is performing well and who is a future leader?
  • Identify areas of training and development for employees

Employees are often at the forefront of your business and the point of contact for many customers so it’s important to keep your employees satisfied and motivated. Your internal HR data can provide a large insight, but you could also collect additional data by conducting regular satisfaction surveys among your workforce and completing personal reviews.


You should never be so focused on your business that you forget to keep an eye on your competitors.

  • Who are your main competitors and what is their market share?
  • Has a competitor bought out a similar product at a lower price?
  • What are their differentiators and their strengths?
  • Are there any areas they don’t do so well?
  • Explore market trends and explore gaps in the market.

Knowing your competitors inside out will help you identify any opportunities where you can outperform them.

Next steps…

Collecting data is the easy part but navigating through it and extracting the valuable elements to help you get a true insight into your business is the hard part. Knowing which areas to explore can be a minefield but breaking your data down into the five key areas we have explored is a good place to start, and from here you can manipulate it further and get the insights you need to make smart business decisions.

To learn about our award-winning reporting software, or to see a personalised demo for your business, please get in touch today.

Posted On: July 21, 2022