Making Your Data Actionable, Evaluation Leading To Action
Have you been capturing lots of data? If you are like many lumber yard dealers, you may be wondering how to best leverage all of this information? I like to think of data in terms of your Customers, Products, Channels or Markets. Let’s start at the beginning without getting too technical and focus on your customers.
Is your customer data clean and in a usable format so you can do some analysis? When I say clean, I mean that you aren’t missing lots of information in the data fields; you don’t have duplicate records that may look like another customer providing inaccurate information.
For example, you could have records for John Smith & Sons, John Smith, John P Smith, Jack Smith, John Patrick Smith, and J. Smith in your data base, but they are all the same customer. Can you tie all these records together? The data specialists would call this performing data hygiene and as as part of the process deduping. Preforming data hygiene can tie all of this together, fill gaps in your information and provide you with “one view of the truth”.
The goal is to correlate data variables that enable more of a predictive forward looking view, and to develop quantifiable strategies based on a deeper understanding of your customers. Think about it this way, even if you have a great understanding of who your customers are and how they behave at your lumber yard; there is an entire universe out there that they interact with. For example, do you know the share of your customer’s wallet you are getting; what they do with your competitors?
Some things to consider in leveraging your data:
- Do you have an actionable data set?
- How much do you know about your customer…I mean really know who they are?
- Do you have an ideal target customer profile? Do you have more than one profile?
- If so, how does the profile of the customer you have, line up with the customer you want?
- Are you doing analysis to identify the most meaningful characteristics that distinguish one group from other?
- Can you categorize customers based on buying behavior and overall value to the business i.e. profitable vs. not profitable?
- Are you able to make predictive, fact based decisions concerning your customers?
- What different strategies would you develop if you could project the likely outcome?
If answering these types of questions seems complex for your business it is really not. Today having actionable data is considered foundational in order to remain competitive. The good news…if you need help, there are many 3rd party providers that can get and keep your data in an actionable format at a reasonable cost. In my experience, the incremental revenue and or savings from this type of exercise more than pays for itself!
This article was written by Jack Leary, Vice President and Partner at Impact 180 Consulting Group & Lumber Contacts Inc. Feel free to contact Jack at, firstname.lastname@example.org.