Overcoming Fall Planning Anxiety

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Packers 3-0,fantastic! 

Fall Budget, ugh! 

If that’s your reaction to this annual business ritual, have you ever asked yourself why? After all, what could be more rewarding than planning the company’s future?

INSIGHT – One question kept bugging me:  What causes the entire organization to dread the fall strategy season?  After pondering this with a wide range of leaders, it comes down to one word: Uncertainty.

Uncertainty.  Most people don’t deal with it well.  Look at what we asked them to do each fall:

·       Predict the economy and competitors

·       Figure out what leadership expects

·       Come up with growth assumptions they can’t measure or believe

·       Project new product acceptance, spending, and margins

·       Work in finance’s 5th new process in five years. 

They hate it.  Then their bonuses are tied to the outcome.  Way too much!

When it's finally done, the Plan seems to go on the shelf, until bonuses are calculated.

OUTCOME – If we can reduce the uncertainty, we can create more engagement and value for strategic planning.  The answers are in your data.  You’re not asking the right questions.  Here are a few suggestions:

1.     Confirm and measure what drives your business.  Too often conditions are assessed based on different leader’s different guts.  Real economic and market measurements are not directly correlated to real performance.

2.     Know your customer, and their trended behaviors.  How do you segment them?  How’d you win the new ones?  Who’s buying more or more products?  What’s your retention rate?  Real data help identify growth strategies.  Are sales driven by customer acquisitions, new products or new capabilities?

3.     Link sales and profit growth to measurable strategies.  Defining clear business outcomes, how to achieve them and how to measure them will focus the organization on what is most important and drive operational reporting.

4.     Align rewards with critical KPI’s.  What gets measured, get done.  What gets done well, should be rewarded.

This is not easy stuff, and if done comprehensively, can take months.  Fortunately, there are a lot of terrific small consulting companies who can provide invaluable perspective without breaking your new budget.  Data2Profit is one, and I’d be happy to share our unique approach.

We start with your data to create real intelligence.  Nothing artificial.  Call us today to learn more about our difference. 

Be more certain about your plans.  And Go, Pack, Go!

Wishing you continued success,


Amazon® Knows

Do you know your customers as well as Amazon® knows you?

Do you know your customer’s profitability as well as Amazon® knows theirs?

Data is the key to their insights, and success.  Forward thinking companies aggressively turn data to information. Information becomes better decisions and higher profits.  If this is true, why does so much data at so many companies remain securely locked away, never explored? 

I’ve asked this question to a lot of leaders, because I’m passionate about helping companies apply “Big Data” concepts. What could I be doing better?  This is the story of my personal search for new INSIGHTS & OUTCOMES.

INSIGHTS – an accurate and deep intuitive understanding.  

It happens to all business leaders. Strategy isn’t delivering desired “Plan” results. Pull the team together to determine why and what to do next.    Is it the strategy?  Capability? Culture?  The senior team meets and shares ideas based on years of experience.  Decisions are made from the same information they’ve always used. Too often without new business analysis or insights from outside the organization.

I was at the same decision point. I started Data2Profit Consulting confident that plenty of businesses could do more with their data. As an experienced creator and consumer of business information, I believed, and still do, that opportunities abound.  Leaders tell me I am doing the right things; networking, LinkedIn posts, videos, direct emails. Planting lots and lots of seeds. So why was my Big Data message seemingly not getting through?

Here are some of the insights my network of business leaders and trusted business advisors shared with me:

  • Habit Many owners are successfully making a comfortable income doing what they’ve always done.   Data analytics isn’t what they’ve done, so why do it?

  • The Economy is Good Things are going OK and potential concerns are down the road. Why change today?

  • Competing Priorities Capital projects, technology, staffing, new products, and cost savings have more visible impacts and require significant management focus.

  • We’re Human Let’s face it, mention “data” to most people and eyes glaze. If the company doesn’t have a data champion, there will be little impetus to start.

Does the phrase “pushing water uphill” come to mind? What to do next?

OUTCOMES Something that follows as a result or consequence.  

The Insights led to Amazon®.  Over $232 billion in sales. Technological innovation leader. Business disruptor. Built on customer data and a great selling process.   

Amazon® knows your purchase behavior inside and out. Using data about you, they make predictions about what you’ll purchase next, and do a phenomenal job suggesting other products you may want. Their service model makes it easy to buy.

The Amazon® questions came out of a strategy session I had with a couple business partners.  They helped me figure out what I should do differently.

At the risk of full strategic transparency, here is the action plan Data2Profit will be executing to continue our growth:

  • Highlight the Competitive Risk of Inaction This is the Amazon® threat courteous.  They may not be your direct competitor, but someone else is.  How will you respond as they get smarter about their customers, then yours?   We can jump start your data journey

  • Talk About Sales-Growing Behaviors How many small-medium sized companies really think about, let alone quantify, the behaviors of their customers and sales reps. But what else has a greater impact on top line sales?   We can characterize behaviors using data from your sales and CRM systems.

  • Create Partnerships Other consultants and service providers share a common interest: help customers make more money.   We’d love to explore opportunities to collaborate, so let’s talk.

  • Offer Educational Speaking Engagements Interactive presentations can touch on a wide range of data-related topics, from analysis and integration to cultural implications. We want people to leave with tangible ideas, without it being a shameless Data2Profit commercial!

  • Update the Data2Profit Message  Thanks to a lot of folks who have visited our website and provided candid feedback. We’ll be reworking the story to better demonstrate how we can add value to our customers and partners.

We’d love to hear your thoughts. And help you start your own INSIGHTS & OUTCOMES experience.

Wishing you all continued success,


Insights and Outcomes - Data Analytics Simplified

My daughter once saw one of my spreadsheets, shrunk-down and stretching across two monitors.  Her reaction?  “Dad, I have no idea what that is, but it looks awful and I never want to do it.”  What she saw was the creation of new information that drove better decisions, increased sales and generated profits.  What she saw was Data Analytics.

Too often people’s eyes glaze at large amounts of data.  Combine “data” with “analysis”, many tune out because, let’s face it, they’re not wired to like work with large numbers of numbers!  And they don’t understand.  

Let’s simplify Data Analytics.  At its heart, it is a discovery process applied to data that creates new insights and potential outcomes.  Let’s take a peek at those definitions to see how they relate.

  • Insight – the capacity to gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of a person or thing

  • Outcome – Something that follows as a result or consequence.

Data Analytics transforms a company’s data into new insights.  It creates better information and recommendations that lead to improved performance.  

How Data Analytics Leads to Better Outcomes.

To some degree, every business uses data analytics, even if they don’t call it that.  Building on what’s there, broader Data Analytics capability leads to better outcomes in a number of ways:

  • Analysis is efficiently repeatable – That really cool special project that took 3 weeks to complete really WOWED! the team. It can readily be updated and expanded.

  • Business Analysis becomes timelier – Leaders want monthly results sooner, so accounting is always challenged to close the books earlier. Analytics gives you the capability to deeply explore why you got the sales and profits you did. Faster.

  • Data is connected across functions – Marketing looks at share, customer information, product sales. Sales looks customers, products. Finance looks primarily at sales and profit dollars. Data Analytics connects all the dots.

  • Information is easier to understand – Done well, analytics turns numbers into pictures that are much easier to understand.

    Once you start using data, it’s hard to imagine how you made the decisions you did without it!  If you begin thinking like that, you’re on your way to creating a data driven culture. 

What’s Different a Data Driven Culture?

The traditional company business review tells WHERE ARE WE?, usually compared to a budget or prior year results.  Each function discusses results based on what they “know”.  Analytics answers WHY?, with insights based on facts, not intuition or a leader’s tummy.  An experienced Data Analyst uses the insights to recommend WHAT TO DO? to improve outcomes.

After all, every business wants better outcomes.  More Sales.  Productivity.  And, yes, Profits.  

Building a data driven culture is rarely a stated company goal.  It happens organically, especially in the early stages.  Typically starting in finance, someone begins to pull a lot of data into a big excel workbook.   Or someone is finally given a project to look into a specific problem.

 IT eventually gets involved with on a reporting project basis.   Inevitably, more information requests need more reports, more reports lead to more information requests.  Momentum builds from there, sometimes rather haphazardly.  

Eventually enough data is built into the strategic plan.  KPI’s become the focus of performance management processes.  More information gets reported throughout the company.  However, even in this scenario, discussion seems to stop with “where are we”?

Challenges to Building Data Analytics Capability

Data Analytics.  Big Data.  Business Intelligence.  Artificial Intelligence.  All of these have been around for years.  Story after story highlights how companies deeply analyze data to understand broad market trends, customers and consumers, operational efficiencies, quality, costs, etc.

So why haven’t so many companies, of all sizes, succeeded in creating cross-functional Data Analytics capability?  From my experience, they’re missing some fundamental building blocks:

  • Senior Cross-Functional Data Champion – a decision maker who recognizes the value of understanding how measurable activities across company connect and drive performance.

  • Efficient Access to “decent” Data – the processes to download, cleanse, stage and analyze data can be overwhelming in the beginning. Even simple tools can help make analysis repeatable.

  • Dedicated Resource – it has to be a priority for someone in business and IT. If left to the last 10-15% of someone’s time, progress will be limited.

  • Data Creator/Consumer Experience – An experienced Analyst with extensive business leadership can identify the nuggets of value among all of the interesting trivia analytics can create.

Putting these in place creates the “will” and foundation to start the Data Analytics journey.  Analytics is not something that happens quickly.   There will be challenges in changing work processes, technology and company culture.  Data2Profit can help be your guide.

Unlocking The Power Of Your Data


We turn data into problem solving information, greater sales and higher profits

  • Are your sales growth strategies based on customer purchasing behavior?

  • Are your gross margins being driven by pricing, costs, customers, suppliers or mix?

  • Are your financial reviews driven by data from other functions?

We create Real Intelligence! Nothing Artificial!


Leaders may answer WHY? and WHAT TO DO NEXT? from their “gut”. Data2Profit answers based on facts unlocked from data.

“A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.” - Marshall McLuhan, Canadian Communications Professor

We improve decision support and put actionable information in the hands of those who need it, how they need it.


We focus on three platforms to increase the value of your data:

Integrate and Align Data - We build a data driven culture by embedding analytics into strategic planning, performance management and operational reporting processes.

Capability Building - We identify what is critical for you to know, then build the processes, systems and employee skills to deliver it.

Business Analytics - We complete strategic, cross-functional exploration of your data to connect dots and create new insights providing deep understanding of your results.


“Once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it.” - Chip & Dan Heath, Authors of Made to Stick, Switch

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Data Analytics Capability Assessment

Business Intelligence provides new insights to your company’s performance and opportunities to improve productivity and profits. It is the foundation of a data-driven culture. How close are you to unlocking the power of your data?

Go through our assessment and rate your confidence in your company’s data functions. If you score 8 statements at 8 or higher, then Congrats! If you score fewer, Data2Profit Consulting can help you start your Data Analytics journey and turn all your unused data into profits!

Data Analytics Helps A Home Builder Build Profits

By building data analytics capability, one home builder plans to increase profits and productivity. Since completing their first home in 2005, they now build over 600 homes a year. Expecting an industry slowdown in 2019, they began a journey to understand their financial performance, construction processes and customer behavior, and become a data driven culture.


Each department had their own data, but the company needed help to understand what they could and should do with it in a more integrated way. By 2017, they’d begun building a data warehouse, and a new process to manage all the IT project requests! Their needs were clear, the path forward was not.


Data2Profit Consulting combined construction management, home buyer option selection, customer demographics and financial (sales/cost/profit) data into one comprehensive analysis. For the first time, management saw the impact that option selection timing had on customer closing dates and profits. Changing demographics drove a tend to smaller homes, also impacting profits.


Insights & Outcomes

  • Surprising Range of Variability in revenue, cost and profit became visible (see chart above)

  • Over 12 months, profits were 1.2 million lower due to declines in profit per sq. ft. and home sizes

  • 45% of Option Selections occurred past the mid-point of construction

  • 50% of home closings were delayed more than one month from original target

  • 3 Point Plan provided a prioritized approach to integrate findings into future business results

Regular business reviews monitor results, but deep down do you understand why you’re generating those results? Unlock the power of your data and contact Data2profit today by calling 920-948-3355 or email Lynn at lcorazzi@data2profit.net. 

How Data Integration Helps Food Manufacturers

A food manufacturer leveraged data analytics capability to grow sales, improve customer retention and improve sales team productivity. They decided that marketing and sales would be more data driven, and over several years invest resources to build the data systems that provided greater visibility to customer behaviors. 

The Situation 

New systems created new reports, which created sales team confusion. Without clear priorities, user adoption was inconsistent. Available data had not been incorporated into business reviews or goals. While new customers were continually added they just filled a leaky bucket as customer retention was a drag on overall volume growth. Other measures were tracked without direct tie to results. 

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The company focused on integrating key business measures into strategic planning, performance management and operational work processes. Market data-driven goals for product growth, customer acquisition and retention were built into strategic objectives, progress reviewed monthly. Operational reports were reduced to those supporting objectives. The same measures also became the foundation for sales compensation and trade partner incentive programs. 

Insights & Outcomes 

- Complete alignment of business objectives, measurements and reporting across key stakeholders 

- 7 consecutive years of record volume growth by adding net new customers 

- Reduced customer losses by 40% through behavior-based customer contact strategies 

- Higher user adoption of new tools improved sales planning and productivity

Regular business reviews monitor results, but deep down do you understand why you’re generating those results? Unlock the power of your data and contact Data2profit today by calling 920-948-3355 or email Lynn at lcorazzi@data2profit.net.