We have entered an era where data analytics is the driving force that separates the world-class distributors from the also-rans.
However, in my career, I’ve learned the hard way the mistakes that you can make in developing a powerful data analytics program for a B2B distributor. It starts with gathering all your data from the various business systems, but the hard part is figuring out how to make it actionable and to create buy-in and accountability.
Here are three keys I would recommend for a powerful analytics program that delivers results.
Keep it Simple for Sales (KISS)
The ever-changing technological landscape can overwhelm your sales team, and you can make it worse by overloading them with too many data points to examine. If you can build an analytics program that is both simple to understand and actionable you can drive the business forward.
I’ve made some poor business decisions as a result of siloed departments and not building a structured system to bring all the data together. Create simple tracking systems that make it easy for the sales team to execute.
Centralize Your Data
Being able to view your business as a whole and take control of your data requires creating a centralized data warehouse that encompasses all of your systems. With the cost of technology coming down it’s easier than ever to build a robust business intelligence (BI) platform that can make all that data easier to understand, digest, and make actionable. Then you can build a data analytics team that is equipped with the business knowledge necessary to ask the right questions and spot inaccuracies.
Keep your mind open and collaborate with all the key stakeholders: sales, operations, finance, and IT. Together you can build a data warehouse that can unlock profits for your business.
Business Knowledge + Data = Growth
My education and experience when I started in B2B distribution were on the data side. I was able to use technical tools to create countless reports and visuals, but because I didn’t have the business experience they didn’t always result in data that the business could use. When I got the opportunity to immerse myself in the business side, I started to learn how to turn all that data into actionable programs. If you are a data expert but new to the business you are working in, it’s important that you immerse yourself. I recommend that you find partners who can help you learn the unique nuances of your distribution business.