Actionable Insights: Turning raw data into automated workflows

It's a sign of the times. Everyone has easy access to data on pretty much any company (and anything) in the world today. That's not the problem. The real problem with data is knowing what to do with data. What everybody needs is… actionable insights.

Without insight, sales and marketing efforts are a shot in the dark, no better than cold calling. When your teams can consistently act on hard-earned insights, they can create relevant messages and content to build relationships with the right people.

Turning a pile of unintelligible into actionable insights can make all the difference. That's why in this article, we'll go through an efficient way to draw actionable insights and use them to power your sales and marketing campaigns. But before that, let's start with a definition to make sure we're on the same page.

What are actionable insights?

Actionable insights are the result of analyzing any type of raw data that may help organizations make well-informed decisions. Simply put, actionable insights are the outcome of turning raw data into consumable information that informs direct, meaningful actions.

Key attributes of actionable insights

There are vast amounts of data out there, but this doesn’t mean every insight from business intelligence and analytics tools is equally actionable. Only when there’s enough insight that a proper course of action can be made from it, then the result is considered as actionable insight. The following six criteria will help weigh how actionable the insights you’re drawing from different sources are.

  • Alignment. An insight must be closely linked to key business goals and strategic initiatives to drive action. Take key performance indicators as an example. If you don’t know how to react to a particular KPI, then the metric can’t be considered an insight.
  • Context. Insights don’t happen in isolation. To act on insights, you need ample background to give data proper context. This can be a comparison or a benchmark.
  • Relevance. Not every insight has a similar value for everybody. Insights must be routed to the right person at the right time or else, they won’t receive the attention they deserve. For example, the number of open marketing emails are probably of little value to a sales director, but this metric is incredible useful to a marketer.
  • Specificity. This attribute is very straightforward. The more specific and complete the insight it, the more likely it will be to react to it. It’s as obvious as it gets: knowing your prospects use marketing automation is less actionable than being aware of the exact marketing automation platform they use.
  • Novelty. There’s so much data out there that anybody can benefit of the most obvious insights. If your company spots a new insight and sheds new light on a subject key area, it’ll be easier to act and be more creative, evolving on current knowledge and beliefs.
  • Clarity. An actionable insight is about separating information from raw data, so it’s important it’s clear and easy to correctly interpret. Otherwise, it might get lost in the noise.

Using actionable insights in sales and marketing campaigns

In a world of informed buyers, the most advanced sales and marketing tactics greatly depend on having a deep understanding of prospects and customers. You want to know their situation, their needs and interests, and how they interact with you, your website, and your content. This knowledge is the secret sauce that makes B2B sales relevant. As a result, strategies like account-based marketing (ABM) are built on high levels of personalization.

By using actionable insights, marketers can find their target accounts and recognize patterns to deliver personalization at a scale and develop complex strategies as ABM.

Data analytics and business intelligence tools are now part of stellar sales and marketing teams. The actionable insights you use in sales and marketing campaigns should cover three dimensions: fit, engagement, and intent.

Are we interested in them?

Trying to sell something to people who won’t buy anytime soon will not make you a sales or marketing superstar any time soon. Instead, you want to find, engage and nourish the best type of customers for your business. Therefore…

Rule #1: Find target accounts that match your ideal customer profile.

(If you haven’t defined your ideal customer profile, here’s a template to help you get started.)

Think about what your most successful customers have in common. What are their shared characteristics?

The actionable insights that respond to the fit question will primarily emanate from firmographic and technographic data. You will be looking at different attributes like revenue, the number of employees, or technologies in use. At the end of the day, actionable insight should give you an answer to this core question: Are we interested in these accounts?

Are they interested in us?

Once you’ve determined the target accounts of your interest, you want to consider the current level of engagement to measure and prioritize accounts by their interest. In other words, actionable insights at this stage will reply to the question: are they interested in us?

Here, actionable insights from sources like your CRM data, web analytics, and marketing automation reports will shed light on how your target accounts are interacting with your website, your content, and even your sales reps.

Trigger Events for Outbound Sales

When are they interested in us?

Engagement data determines the interest shown by prospects, but additional actionable insights will improve your timing, anticipating such interest. Intent data replies to this question: Is your prospect showing signs that they’re in the marketing right now for solutions like yours?

Companies at the forefront are integrating third-party intent data into their systems to create automated workflows that let sales and marketing stay on top (and get notified) of what’s happening with their target accounts. Harvesting insights from information like news stories or financial statements allows marketers and sales reps to reach the right persona at the right company at the right time.

Data is useless until you act on it

All the data in the world is worth nothing until you know how to act on it. Thanks to clear, actionable insights, B2B salespeople and marketers can find their target accounts, implement a more tailored and specific approach, and bring ideal timing to campaigns.

Because data comes from many different sources, it is a good idea to integrate different systems and tools. By integrating your systems, you can draw more complete and relevant insights. Plus, you can tap into automation and trigger workflows based on those insights.

Want to see how you can get actionable insights and build automated workflows straight into your CRM with Vainu’s real-time company information? Request a demo to learn more.

Topics: Sales Intelligence

Eduardo Alonso

Scribbler at Vainu’s Marketing team. Taco enthusiast and obsessive record collector. Straight outta Madrid.