Thursday, June 29th 2023

Leveraging Data Management to Scale Your Organization.

Written by: Darren Fay

This blog post was created as a reference for my speaking session at the RevBrains Revops Mastery Conference, where I spoke about "Leveraging Data Management to Scale Your Organization." If you would like to watch the recorded speaking session, you can access it here.

The ability to scale your organization is all about capacity and capability.

There are a few essentials to develop to set your organization up for scalability.

The 5 I’d like to talk about today are Planning, Funding, The Right Staff, The Right Systems and Technology, and the Right Processes,

Planning: Refers to creating and maintaining an up-to-date business, GTM, and strategic plans, as well as forecasting.

Funding:  Procurement of funding is needed to invest in the execution of your business, GTM, or strategic plan.

The Right Staff: Each business will always have its unique staffing needs. However, one consistent staffing need in all successful organizations is having high-performing individuals in seat. Leveraging performance metrics is critical to doing so.

The Right Systems and Technology: Having systems and technology in place allows you to collect and organize your data efficiently, to be leveraged to gain insights about your business. 

The Right Processes: Establish steps and tasks to achieve efficient, effective, and reliable end-results.

What do all of these Essentials have in common? 

They all require DATA to develop or maintain.

PLANNING leverages data to build and maintain business, GTM, strategic plans, and accurate forecasting. You’ll need FUNDING to leverage your data to develop investor highlights, supporting why potential investors should invest in your business. Investor highlights will include the problem your product or service solves, the traction you’ve gained in the market, your long-term plan, and its potential. Having THE RIGHT STAFF in place could mean something different for each organization, but it requires tracking different performance metrics to ensure their staff aligns with their needs. THE RIGHT SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGY are needed to collect DATA for analysis to review performance metrics and KPIs. Lastly, THE RIGHT PROCESSES must be in place to ensure the data you collect is accurate and maintained.

Having a Data Management Practice in place in your organization helps ensure that the collection, organization, and access to your data supports productivity, efficiency, and decision-making.

Accessing your data in a productive way efficiently supports your ability to make impactful decisions, create meaningful plans, highlight your success to investors, and retain the right people.

Data Management practices allow you to establish some of the most critical data fundamentals needed for valuable insights: 

Let us walk through a scenario that we’ve all been through:

A leader comes to you and requests adding a field to your CRM to track the upside in your pipeline. Based on the heavy workload many RevOps professionals endure, the easy option would be to complete the request and move on. On the surface, it seems appealing. You can complete your task and get back to other priorities, but putting something as simple as a field in place without data management principles leads to additional tech debt and confusion in the field.

To set up a proper data management practice in your organization, you need roles and responsibilities to support it. The Roles associated with the Data Management models align with a RACI model:

The Requestor: The person requesting the solution or identifying the problem. This could also be a stakeholder. (Consulted).

The Data Owner: The person responsible for running the evaluation, scoping, and providing a solution proposal (Responsible).

The Steering Committee Members: The people responsible for determining the impact of changes to their area of responsibility and approving the proposed solution and stewardship plan (Accountable).

*Steering committee members will also include the requestor and the data steward.

The Data Steward: The person responsible for creating a data stewardship plan and ensuring the data is accurate and maintained following the agreed-upon plan.

Informees: The people that could be needed in the maintenance process or need to be notified in the situation that they could now or in the future need to leverage it.

Now that we know the roles needed for a successful data management practice, we must outline an effective data management process. 

Every data Management process starts with a Request, problem, or need. In this stage of the process, it's important to get four critical pieces of information:

A problem statement outlining what pain they're trying to solve for, the desired outcome (try to tease out the desired impact), the date they'd like a solution in place, and a proposed solution, if possible. 

The next stage is the Document phase. This phase outlines the start of your information collection for the request, scoping, solutions, and approvals. The Documentation phase will continue not only through the execution of the deployment of your solution but will also be a living, breathing document to capture future optimizations.

Once you have kicked off your documentation, you immediately start the Evaluation stage. In the Evaluation stage, the data owner identifies the steering committee members and evaluates the request to determine if an existing solution exists to meet the desired outcome. If an existing solution is appropriate, the data owner will submit the proposed solution to the steering committee for approval.

Whether an existing or new solution is needed, a plan will need to be developed. In the Plan Development stage is where the data owner will scope, coordinate, plan the work, and gain approvals.

The Solution stage is simply where you execute the plan developed in the planning stage. This may require the coordination of multiple people or departments.

After the solution is in place, we want to inform all the correct people. The Informed stage is where we communicate and enable all the people that could be impacted by or use the work that was just finished.

Now that your solution is in place, your next two steps are to Maintain and optimize your process. In the Maintain stage, the data steward will be responsible for ensuring that the data is maintained and accurate.

As time goes on, the process will need to be re-evaluated. The Optimize stage is where the data owner will be responsible for ensuring that the process remains aligned with current business needs. If it is not, the data owner will either optimize the process or deprecate it.

Now that you have learned what a data management process looks like, what impacts should you see on your ability to scale?

Written by: Darren Fay