Lately, I've been thinking that we have too much data. We can collect data all day: Web site stats, sentiment analysis, survey results. The thing is, if we never act on what we're collecting, then it's just as bad as not having collected the data in the first place. For instance, one of my jobs is as a professional speaker. I've never yet prospected my email newsletter list for whether I could find speaking gigs there. When I finally took some time to look, I was stunned by the quality of companies I could reach with my messages.
I'm betting you will find similar success, if you start looking at your own information.
Your Email Database
Have you ever gone back to trim out the dead wood? Have you ever looked through to see who hasn't been contacted lately outside of mechanized means? Take a look there, and make a quick list of 10 people to contact TODAY. There's a method to this advice: if you do more than 10, you won't do anything personal. If you don't do it today, you probably won't do it. Give it a try. I promise you'll get at least one positive result from the effort.
Your Customer Database
Have you looked at your database of customers lately? Have you shuffled around how you look at them lately? Sort them by dollars spent. Sort them by hours of customer service consumed. Sort them by difficulty level. Sort them by their market segment. It's amazing what you can come up with these ways.
I often find something from just the simple "sort" feature in most database apps (or in Microsoft Excel). For instance, I've started sorting my database by state when I'm going to speak somewhere professionally, and I send out invitations to people located in the state or province where I'll be. Bingo. Magic opportunities to talk business or to just share some face time.
Why leave it to just your current clients and prospects? You're on Twitter, but have you spent an hour lately on Twitter Search? Go there, plug in a few search terms that would relate to your product, your company, your service, your locale, and see if anything actionable jumps out. I've never not had someone report success after searching around Twitter for an hour. Never.
Your Web site Stats
What you can get from Google Analytics or a tool like HubSpot will teach you about how people interact with your Web site. Are they not spending much time? Do they not click on the links you need them to click? Are you getting much response to your calls to action? It's all there in the site data. Even if it's gobbledegook to you, someone will be able to help you figure it out, and you'll be surprised by what you uncover.
Not Revolutionary, But Necessary
It's not rocket surgery, as my friends in Boston say. But at the same time, it's one of those things we don't do. We don't just spend some time in the data, even an hour, and we don't use those insights to figure out what else we can be doing. I think there's value in this, and when we don't give it a try, we're missing a chance to grow. What do you say?