So how is data usable?
1. The data is collected under up-to-date requirements. Too often data is being collected because of requirements set up long before. Since the time when these initial data collection routines, systems, dashboards, etc. were built, your sales model or sales growth model may have changed, and probably your business/sales strategy has outpaced your data collection.
Recommendation: analyze the requirements that your data is trying to fulfill. If they don’t line up, time to start over and determine what data should be collected for the current needs.
2. The data is realtime. Data that doesn’t show a current enough picture is dangerous. At the least, it causes decisions to be based more on hunches than on objective data.
Recommendation: look at the main metrics you rely on and ask yourself if you are actually filling in the missing time with your intuition. Would the data be better served if it were more realtime? Then work to get it so.
3. The data is aligned with strategy. Is the data you are looking at helping you to make a decision to further your strategy? If not, do you have a hierarchy from strategy to performance indicators to metrics? Can you trace the metric to the strategy you are targeting?
Recommendation: write down your strategy, tactics and the expected performance to reach those tactics and then ask if the metrics answer the question, “Does this data show me what deviations from performance standards are occurring?”
When data provided for Sales Performance Management is not usable, it forces management to rely on hunches or imagine the data to fill the gap.