Today, big data holds the promise and potential of insights for businesses, customers, markets, and industries. At the same time, the rapidly-evolving information environment has made it harder to make the most of the resources available.
Professional services organizations have learned that “big data” doesn’t always equal “useful data”. Without the tools, targeting, and methodology needed to turn information into actionable insights, “big data” becomes little more than a buzz word.
Acknowledging the importance of big data and knowing how to create from big data are two entirely separate things. Business developers face myriad difficulties when attempting to make use of big data in driving new sales and upselling existing clients. In this article, we’ll examine three key challenges sales and business development teams face when leveraging this unprecedented access to information.
Challenge #1. The Quality
Business developers know how valuable data can be in driving sales. But when putting this into practice, it’s easy to find yourself drowning in data, yet starving for insights.
The reason? Data quality. “Data quality” simply refers to data that is unbiased, accurate, recent, relevant, and reputably-sourced. Quality data is not the derivative regurgitation of three to five similar pieces of content. Curating and aggregating high-quality data means cutting to the noise and bringing business developers the information that matters most. Now, when data is available in greater quantities than ever before, the quality of information has, on average, plummeted. Finding content that cuts through the noise can truly mean searching for needles in haystacks.
Quality data is a necessary ingredient when crafting actionable insights. It becomes infinitely more challenging to take effective action on derivative, uninformative content. Keep in mind, the road to actionable insights does not end at aggregation. Business developers must aggregate, curate (filtering out the noise), synthesize (identifying patterns and key takeaways), before finally articulating insights which inform decisions or propose a plan of action.
Challenge #2. The Context
Contextualizing big data means adjusting the curation of content to reflect the internal and external circumstances affecting your search. In a professional services organization, these circumstances may include (but is by no means limited to) the industry, market condition, size, internal goals, and politics of a client or prospect. When searching for and aggregating content, context is a conduit for intent. If content is the foundation upon which actionable insights are built, context is the blueprint.
Challenge #3. The People
Compounding the challenges of figuring out big data’s content and context is having the right people to help turn it into actionable insights. The “people” dictate the context which, in turn, dictates the content collected. Many sales teams are deprived of the luxury of having market analysts or data scientists on standby to pull content and synthesize information into actionable insights. Even if they do have analysts and specialists on hand, business developers must overcome the obstacle of getting insights into the right hands in time to act; not react. Business developers are often forced to rely on their organization’s technological infrastructure to streamline the process of collecting, curating, and synthesizing big data.
The Reality of Big Data
Big data means nothing—it’s simply a flashy buzzword—if PSOs lack both the tools to collect, curate, and organize big data as well as the people needed to turn that data into meaningful intelligence. That said, the right technology can go a long way towards closing the gap between the demands of the modern business landscape and the capacity of your team to meet them.
To read more perspectives from the Manzama team, visit our blog.
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