Attaining Success Through Data-Driven Decisions
It’s common knowledge that data-driven decisions are smarter decisions. The challenge is figuring out what data to capture and how to use it in a meaningful way.
At Miller-Valentine Construction, we use our customer relationship management (CRM) platform to constantly slice, dice, and categorize data to drive our decision-making. It’s not just about making better decisions for our business, although that’s certainly part of it.
Making informed decisions also adds another layer of accountability to our stakeholders. By using data to drive action and behaviors across all levels of our organization, we are ensuring we have the financial stability, continuity, and resources to support our customers and our Associates.
Here are four ways that we are using data and our CRM to manage operations and make smarter business decisions:
# 1 – Opportunity management. It’s easy to create a strategic business plan. But if you don’t have data to back it up, then gut feelings, arbitrary decisions, and opportunistic pursuits can get in the way. We use preliminary data to compare every potential opportunity against our strategic goals. If the project doesn’t measure up, we know it’s not a good fit, no matter how great it might look on paper. After all, it isn’t a strategy until you say no to something.
# 2 – Relationship management. We all know the risk that comes with one person “owning” a client relationship. When that person leaves a company, institutional knowledge goes with them. At MVC, we use our CRM system to identify and shore up gaps in our customer relationships. For our organization, multiple touchpoints prevent the loss of key business partnerships when someone on either side of the fence leaves. For our customers, it provides business continuity by ensuring there will always be someone on our team who is familiar with their organization, their needs, and our history together.
# 3 – Process management. In a small business, you don’t have a process for something; you have a person. And typically, people have their own way of getting things done. But with growth comes the need to standardize processes and institute procedures. As Miller-Valentine has grown, we have found our CRM to be a useful tool for formalizing our sales process and cementing our strategy. This helps our teams stay up to date with market activity and ensures we are all operating from the same playbook. The consistency allows our internal teams to operate at a higher level because we’re all speaking the same language.
#4 – Resource management. A banner year in sales will only get you so far. You have to deliver, too. At MVC, we use custom-made dashboards to track where our current projects stand, and when new work is expected to begin. We can then use this data to determine if we need to shift resources based on projected activity so that we don’t overextend our field resources. As a result, we can continue to deliver the exceptional customer service our clients have come to rely on.
A Process of Innovation
Wondering where to start? Begin by defining the behaviors you want to drive. Then determine which metrics you want to collect to best support your business strategy. Keep in mind that data collection isn’t the endpoint; you need to make it part of a lifestyle.
It’s not an overnight endeavor. Getting to this level of data management has been a year-long process for us. One of the keys to our success is that we view data management not as a list of tasks to check off. Rather, it’s part of our ongoing journey of process innovation and continuous improvement. As a result, it has become part of our culture—and one more way that we can add value and bring peace of mind to our clients.
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