Six practical ways to turn your analytics team into the world’s best storytellers

16 Mar 2018 in Tech

The battle to get companies taking data and analytics seriously is long won. It's rare to find an enterprise business without a team of exceptionally smart analysts poring through their data looking for trends, improvements, and clues for the next steps the business needs to take. But what do you do once you've got your team in place? Analysing the data is no good if you can't communicate what it means to an internal audience that is often time poor, hesitant to stride into the unknown, and without solid analytics backgrounds.

At this year's Customer Behaviour Analytics Conference in London, this was a challenge that was met head on by some of the top analytics leaders at a broad mix of companies. A consistent theme was raised, that data scientists need to know how to present their findings. They need to become storytellers.

1. Speak the language of your audience

It is no good building a team of advanced, highly qualified data scientists if your analytics aren't understood by the rest of the company. If they're not being understood, they're not influencing change.

Analytics teams are increasingly moving away from insights and looking more at data science, and they need people with the skills to undertake those more in-depth tasks. What we need to do next is train these data scientists in answering the questions that businesses will ask, and learn how to communicate our findings and suggestions in a way that speaks the language of other departments. Getting better at this will vastly increase their effectiveness at influencing change at a senior level.

Lina Mikolajczyk | Senior Manager, Channel Performance, Insights, and Analytics, Hilton

2. Start smart to flourish later

Enterprise companies often need to use data gathered over many years and multiple markets to unearth long-term trends that have massive implications for future decisions. If you’re not keeping this in mind when building your analytics solutions, you run a big risk of hitting walls when your operations expand. Leaving you unable to discover major underlying stories at your business.

When creating your data architecture, you need to think about the future and ensure you will be able to adapt. You won’t be able to do everything on day one, but what you can do is ensure you are starting with a solution that scales. Putting those precautions in place early on will eliminate colossal, expensive problems at a later date.

Deepak Nagappan Anitha | Analytics Solutions Manager, Direct Line Group

3. Joining online and offline will unlock answers

Infinity’s own Dan Cook, Head of Analytics, was invited to speak on the benefits of closing the gaps in your data between online journeys and offline phone calls. A key focus is that the research that needs to be done to ascertain what your goals are, and how to achieve them. Closing these gaps in your audience data will shine a light on a grand multitude of customer journeys.

"Phone calls represent a big source of revenue for a lot of businesses, but for some they also come with a cost that needs minimising. The key is knowing what you'd like to do. Calculate how much it costs to receive a call, and how much you make on the average sales call. When you know this, you can start looking at how to increase the high-value ones and reduce the lower value ones. Tracking the customer journey before the call will lead you to answers regarding what is influencing these behaviours."

Dan Cook | Head of Analytics, Infinity

Specific examples across a mix of industries were discussed, with some brands wanting to increase their volume of calls, as shown in our case study with Scott Dunn, and others wanting to reduce the volume of calls to their contact centre such as Sky.

Dan Cook Analytics.jpg Two of the key questions we ask all businesses to answer.

4. Decide how you communicate findings to different decision makers

Data science needs to be embedded in many departments, not locked away from the rest of the company. However, different levels of seniority will need this data communicated to them in a way that’s relevant to them. Communicating your recommendations and insights from analytics isn’t simply about finding the right metrics and language to use, it’s also being sensitive to the time, needs, and understandings of your colleagues.

Taking the time now to educate your analytics team on who needs what level of understanding, and how to deliver it to them, will mean your messages will resonate far more, allowing you to deliver benefits.

5. Keep looking ahead, and get others to as well

Throughout the day, the topic of nurturing an environment where analytic insight can inspire real change was one that was often touched upon. Many suggestions were put forward, but we particularly liked this upbeat one.

When the analytics show positive results, everyone in the business wants to be your friend and hear what you have to say. However, when your analytics suggest something isn’t working, they’re less receptive or they question the data. To overcome this, we need a bit of forward-thinking about how we communicate with the business. Look at positive ways you can inspire them to make certain changes, or aim at certain targets, ahead of time. That way they’ll be on board ahead of you giving feedback to them, meaning everyone benefits.

Sarah Clerkson | Former Head of Customer Intelligence, Sky

6. Begin analytics solutions with clear goals and tests

Having been to a lot of analytics and marketing conferences, we’re fully aware of what an exciting shop window these events can be for ambitious brands. Unfortunately, implementing them all is not an option, but neither is paralysis of choice. So knowing how to research and adopt the solutions that build your tech stack is a vital skill for any analytics professional.

Organisations across both the public and private sectors increasingly need analytics to make sense of big data, to understand their customers and drive improvements in business performance. The key thing is to be agile and innovative, testing and learning from the latest tools and technologies on the market. In this way, analytics professionals can demonstrate value, scalability and ROI for key decision makers and longer term investment.

Pardip Bans | Head of Data Insight, HM Revenue & Customs

Start connecting your customer journeys today

If you can't link your whole customer journey together, you're missing the stories that truly count. How your customers are finding you, engaging with you, and ultimately buying from you. Start a conversation with Infinity to discuss what understanding the full customer journey means to you, and the benefits you would reap from a reliable call intelligence solution.

Product Marketing Manager

Andy Vale
Product Marketing Manager

Andy has spent years obsessively analysing how businesses can unlock value from engagements with their audience. Outside his family, his main loves are Woking FC, his Xbox, and his National Trust membership.

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