The second day of Dallas Startup Week featured a presentation from Raja Manzoor and Sree Ram from Microsoft. Manzoor and Ram showcased how easy it can be to draw insights out of your data, especially when you pair it with a free tool like Microsoft Power BI Desktop. However, to apply their techniques to your particular situation, we need to use a simple 3-step roadmap to guide us to those insights.
Set Your Goal.
Roadmaps are great, but you have to know where you are trying to go to make them effective. Without a destination in mind, any place will do. Fortunately for us, we likely have a place in mind, e.g. increased sales, more customer leads or increased downloads. With a destination, we can now start to conceptualize how we can get there using our data. As Peter Fader, the Frances and Pei-Yuan Chia Professor of Marketing at Wharton notes in his paper, Leveraging Smart Data for Business Success, “Asking the right questions guides organizations to the right data”.
Find Metrics to Guide Your Journey.
Our desired outcome will dictate which metrics we will need to use. While an automobile technician can access hundreds of diagnostic metrics from your car’s computer, as the driver, you are really only concerned with the major indicators: Speedometer for how fast you are going and fuel gauge so that you know how much gas you have to reach to your destination. Likewise, if we understand our desired outcome, 3 to 5 metrics should suffice to guide us.
Here are some of the different metrics you can use, depending on your goal or desired outcome:
New Leads or Current Pipeline, which can be viewed using a CRM tool like Salesforce or a Chrome/Gmail extension like Streak.
Conversion cycle rate
Sale or Deal Size
App installations is a metric that can be easily seen using Google Analytics
Conversions, e.g. form completions, phone call conversions. Conversion tracking is a great feature to use within your Google Ads account to track how well your ads are performing
Referrals from Social Media, which can include using tools like UTMs to track specifically which post drove the most users to your website
3. Monitor Your Metrics.
Now that you know the destination and have the metrics to guide you, you need to continually monitor the metrics to make sure you are heading in the right direction. For example, if you see that app downloads are declining, it is time to see what could be causing the issue, e.g. poor customer reviews causing the app ranking to decline on the platform. In the case of an app, it could simply be time to begin running mobile ads to promote your app.
Following this framework will help you cut through the data clutter and save you time. In the end, it will aid you in effectively achieving your goal, such as increased sales or downloads.
More Advanced Monitoring
To dive deeper into drawing insights from your data, you can use more advanced tools like Microsoft Power BI, which connects to many different data sources that include databases, spreadsheets, and online tools like Google Analytics. Moreover, Microsoft Power BI is free to use with the Desktop edition and creates a single one-stop shop of your data that includes intuitive visualizations.