Data reporting: the first step to knowing what to even ask

13 October 2020

Data collection and data reporting are both key to understanding where your company's focus ought to be. Learn more by clicking here.

Kompass International

By Kompass International

13 October 2020

Running a business can feel a lot like shooting at a moving target in the dark. How do you know which marketing efforts will connect with customers and which products will be most successful? Your business rides on you being able to make the right choices, but how do you pick the right path without any data?

Data reporting can take your business from a haphazard guessing game to an efficient, streamlined revenue-earning machine. Read on to learn how to ask the right data reporting questions and get your business on a better track.

Identify useful insights for your business.

One of the first things you need to do when deciding what questions to ask for your data reporting is to identify which insights your business will find most useful. These will be different for every company; there is no golden bullet that works across the board. You’ll need to call a meeting with the leaders in your business and figure out which insights will work for you.

Start by discussing the core functions that make your business work – how you attract new customers, how you interact with existing customers, and what keeps your repeat customers coming back.

Look at which areas of your business need the most improvement and generate the most significant percentage of your bottom line. Follow these significant factors down until you get to a specific insight that could improve your business functions.

Pick strong standard KPIs.

When you’re deciding which insights would be most useful to your business, it’s a good idea to use reliable standard key performance indicators or KPIs. KPIs are the standards by which you measure your business’s success.

Some common KPIs may include your quarter-to-quarter revenue growth, overall employee satisfaction, average customer review, or new client growth rate. KPIs like this can help guide your company in deciding which data insights are going to benefit most.

For instance, if your most important KPI is your quarter-to-quarter growth, you may want to look at what customers in your industry spend the most money on. If your top KPI is new client growth rate, you may want to analyze which methods of contact are most effective in getting clients to sign up for new service in your industry.

Decide on your data source.

Once you have a solid idea of what insights you want to gain, it’s time to decide where your data will come from. The insights you just picked should have a massive impact on the data sources you choose. If you need to know about customer buying habits, you may want to use significant public data sources such as Google Analytics or CRM data.

When you’re deciding on data sources, don’t overlook those in your own company. Your business should be learning from past successes and failures. Your finance, marketing, product development, customer care, and order fulfillment departments may all have insights that can help you make smarter decisions.

Set data quality parameters.

It may seem like all data is good data. Even if a piece of information is negative, doesn’t it still give you some insight into how to avoid that result in the future? But you need to make sure your data is coming from reputable sources and that it answers the questions you’re trying to ask.

When you’re getting started on data reporting, decide how you’re going to control the quality of the data you’re using. Whoever’s analyzing your data will need to spend some time cleaning up the raw data they get before running any reports. Remove any data from unreliable sources and remove any apparent outliers from your data sets.

Decide on statistical analysis techniques.

You can use several different statistical analysis techniques to turn the data you gather into the insights you need. Some methods are most popular among data analysts: regression analysis, cohort analysis, and predictive and prescriptive analysis.

Regression analysis estimates the relationships and correlations among different variables. This lets you see how much revenue goes up when you put items on sale versus when you list items at full price.

Cohort analysis lets you compare how different groups of customers behave over time. For instance, you can track your customers’ groups from the time of their first purchase until the present to see how many, on average, make repeat purchases.

The predictive and prescriptive analysis takes a look at past data trends to predict future possibilities. For example, if your sales have dipped in the summer for the last three years in a row, this technique can help you expect how far your sales will fall this coming summer.

Identify the final users of your analysis.

When you’re putting together your data reporting plan, you must keep in mind who will be using this data at the end of the line. You need to tailor your data reporting to those parties and how they comprehend data. Your data insights won’t do you any good if the end-users can’t understand how to employ them.

Take a look at your end-users’ technical and analytical skills when you’re formatting your data. Think about how they’ll interpret insights and what presentations will give them the most actionable ideas. Think about how much time this team can spend sifting through data before it begins to take away from the time they need to spend doing their actual jobs.

Get a good start on data reporting.

Data reporting can revolutionize how your company operates. You can find the most efficient ways to run your business, draw in new customers, and develop successful products. But knowing what questions to ask and how to structure your data reporting will be crucial to your success.

If you’d like to discover more ways to refresh your sales and marketing data, check out the rest of our site at Kompass. With global data analytics information and advice, we’re your route to business growth and worldwide. Check out our solutions today and start finding a better direction for your business.

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