Data refers to unprocessed information, usually in the form of numbers and text. Data is processed into information that is organized in an easier to understand format, such as data visualizations, reports, and dashboards, that provides context. Insights are then generated through the analysis of the information and drawing of conclusions. While there are many insights you can take away from the data obtained, not all insights will be actionable insights. Insights that drive action are more valuable than insights that answer questions. You must first look at what makes an insight actionable and what steps should be taken to get to the actionable insight.
Analyze the Data
Business analytics is a primary key here. It is vital that your insights align with the company’s key performance indicators (KPIs) and other key metrics. At that point, you can use the data from those metrics to influence decisions on aspects of your business that you control. Through real-time data insights, predictive analytics, and data mining, you can see the trends in your data. These trends, in turn, provide insights that help you track and act on performances so that you can improve product pricing, promotions, customer service, and other aspects of the business you are focused on or have influence over. Insights should not only be aligned to your KPIs, actionable insights must be relevant. By relevance, I mean, the insight must be routed to the right decision-makers or the persons who have control over the respective insight, or it will not be actioned promptly to reach the intended audience. If someone isn’t clear on why the insight is important and how it can benefit them. It will be overlooked. The insights should also be specific and contain enough detail to drive immediate action. The insight must adequately explain the cause and effect to be actionable. For example, the company I work for received a massive increase in revenue within the past two months. Many would think this would be cause for celebration; however, upon further probing, it was discovered that this massive increase in revenue was due to a chain of fraudulent orders. Therefore, at face value, the insights appeared to be showing positive growth in sales, if no further probing was done a conclusion may have been drawn that the promotions over the last two months were the cause of the increase, when in fact it was the fraudulent orders.
Visualize the Data
A good way to analyze large amounts of data to understand it easier is through data visualization. Data is critical to understanding what variables are driving or dampening growth. What may be overwhelming in detail is easier to understand using visualization. We are in a world where images now speak louder than words. When presenting data to the CEO, stakeholders, or teams directly involved or affected by marketing efforts such as sales, they need to be quickly able to comprehend data, so it makes sense to them. For example, If the sales team isn’t closing new business, they tend to blame it on the low-quality leads marketing campaigns are bringing in, while the marketing team blames it on a haphazard sales development process. This rift usually calls for a meeting where cold hard data is the best tool for resolution. To make the data simple and easy to understand, in my company, a dynamic chart is created, showing the percentage of leads to sales conversions. Data is harder to dispute, and so this will cause the sales team to go back and analyze their sales tactics.
The purpose of actionable insights is to influence decisions and change within the organization, and data and information facilitate this. Data can make you aware of issues within your company before it gets complicated and can also help you better your strategies. Using this data wisely is crucial for better conversions and improving your customer journey. Analyzing and implementing insights from data received can lead to tremendous returns on investment for the company. As author Richard Bach said, “Any powerful idea is absolutely fascinating and absolutely useless until we choose to use it.”