How to Build a Data Practice
Revenue Operations (RevOps) teams are tasked with owning the entire go-to-market tech stack, unifying marketing, sales, and customer success processes into a set of processes and tech to support the entire customer journey
While centralizing the ownership of that journey onto one team has its benefits, it also presents some real data challenges. Managing a large sales tech stack (often with 15+ tools) means managing a pretty large and siloed set of data sources. Sales tech tools are not known for their reporting, and so getting customer insights from data across different tools can be a real issue.
This new ownership of the entire sales tech stack leads RevOps leaders to look to centralize their data and report on the performance of the business – often building their own analytics functions.
At QuotaPath, we’re in the process of building our own data practice. Here are some tips I’ve learned to help you stand up an analytics practice.
Tip 1: Document what you are trying to measure and what success looks like
While the goal is to pull actionable insights as fast as possible, building a data practice isn’t something you want to rush. Before writing your first line of SQL or building a dashboard, consider what metrics actually matter to your business.
Sit down with a pen and paper and jot down the key metrics for your business. What metrics are the most important? How do you gauge current performance and predict future behaviors? How do you define success and check the health of your business?
An easy place to start is your company’s financial plan.
At QuotaPath, our financial plan looks at our entire pipeline. We have targets across marketing qualified leads, opportunities created, demos, qualified opportunities, and wins. We also look at upsells, downgrades, and churn and how that affected annual recurring revenue.
With that data model in mind, we were able to sketch out the key metrics we wanted to look at to measure our business.
Next up, find the data.
Tip 2: Identify your data sources and plan to migrate data into one place
Like many companies, QuotaPath uses a number of sales tech tools from which we need to pull data. Salesforce, HubSpot, Intercom, Stripe, Chili Piper, Amplitude, and more all house different types of data to help us measure our business. But pulling all those analytics into one place is easier said than done.
The essential list of things to consider:
- How will you pull data from all those sources?
- Where are you going to store the data?
- How are we going to visualize the data?
There are several different answers to all those questions. None of which are wrong.
QuotaPath decided to use Mozart Data and Portable, which enable us to pull data from different systems (using Portable and Fivetran), store the data in Snowflake, and visualize the data in Mode. But you’ll need to find solutions to pull, store and visualize data in the way that works best for your business.
Tip 3: Build a data migration process – from ingestion to modeling to visualization
For RevOps teams to build a true data practice, you’ll need to ingest, model, and visualize your data. This is going to require multiple people with different skill sets, such as an analytics engineer to ingest and model the data and an analytics manager to visualize the data and present actionable insights.
If this type of work is not in your wheelhouse (or your budget) there are plenty of outsourced options where you can find support at any step of this data process.
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses as a leader and seeking out additional expertise is what will push your data team to the next level.
Tip 4: Democratize your data
People in your organization need to see the data you’re working with. The company’s performance shouldn’t be a secret! But there are several key questions before you hit the share button. How are you going to share data? How do you explain that data? How do you make sure people are using the data correctly?
At QuotaPath, we make sure everybody’s on the same page through a weekly business review. In this WBR, we talk live about the performance of our business (referencing Mode dashboards) and discuss everything like outbound performance, PLG signup, product adoption, renewal rates of customers, and more.
Presenting the data and discussing it in a large group helps us better understand what’s going on and what we’re going to do next.
But your answer can be different.
Some companies might put out a deck that guides people through the analytics and what the goals are. Others might hold small-group meetings or meet with group leaders to focus on individual concerns.
Whatever your solution, the democratization of data is key to business success.
It’s up to RevOps leaders to build data dashboards for teams to get context and learn more about what’s going well — and what isn’t. Smart, tactical data analysis is how RevOps teams cut through all the noise created by a wave of numbers to find what’s important in driving the business forward.
About the Author
Ryan Milligan is the Senior Director of Revenue Operations at Quotapath. He previously led marketing and RevOps teams at Homebase and solved customer acquisition, revenue attribution, and customer segmentation problems as a member of Wayfair’s Data Science team.
Check out his other recent article for Pavilion on how to build your first compensation plan.
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