Data is quickly becoming the currency of the 21st century. It seems like every company is constantly trying to get more and more of it, but what for? Despite the negative press around how data is being used, in many cases, data can actually provide business with unparalleled insights into how their business is performing and where are possible growth opportunities. While some companies go overboard in the amount of data they collect, many businesses actually collect a lot more data than they even realize. Here are some useful ways to put your data to work to help grow your business and improve your credit and collection process.
Realize the Data You Have
While you may not think about it, things like addresses, company size, and industry are all valuable pieces of data you should have on almost every company you do business with. Even data such as how many years the company has been in business for or what time of day you are calling them can be useful. You also have all the data on the sales side as well. This means you also have data on how big accounts are, how timely they pay, how frequently they order and so much more. The key is using this data to find patterns and notice trends that can help you may better business decisions.
Finding Trends and Patterns
This is where the real work begins. While huge companies will utilize artificial intelligence in order to sift through millions of documents and other data, this is often not necessary for small businesses. All it really takes is some patience and attention to detail. For example, you could pretty easily find out what is your optimal time of day to make sales calls by looking at your sales data and matching it up to the time a call was made. You could also pretty easily find out what industry you have the most luck with and what industries may not be worth it to even call.
You may find that certain company sizes, industries, or locations are more prone to paying late or defaulting on their debt. This does not mean you shouldn’t do business with these companies, but it can be another tool used by your credit staff to make the best decision. The key to using data correctly is to find pattern and trends that help guide your decisions, not make them. These metrics should not do your job, but they can make it far easier and often better if done right.
Where to go from here
The first step is just figuring out your goal. Are you trying to grow your business? Do you want to minimize bad debt? Do you want to improve your credit terms? Once you know what questions you want to be answered, you can start assembling the data you need and go from there. It is important to note that all data should be gathered with the consent of the customer or from public records and should be handled in an ethical and secure way. If you are curious about learning more, please check out some of the links below.
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