Insights teams are facing unprecedented demand from their organizations. Businesses have begun to shift their focus from data availability, processes, and governance to garnering insights from the vast amounts of data that they now have access to.
The role of the insights professional is a unique role that requires data or subject-matter expertise, analytical skills, technical skills, and the ability to communicate insights that are directly relevant to business decisions and outcomes. With this focus on data, insight teams can often be put on the back foot by their stakeholders, who bog them down in data mining, data requests, and report requests.
The thing is, a good insights function should be empowered to uncover the actionable insights that are relevant and valuable to the business context, goals, and objectives.
So how do you shift the way that your team is perceived, interacted with, and most importantly, deliver more value?
Step 1: Excel at your core responsibilities
Ensure that your insights are answering questions that your stakeholders have presented in a way that they can make sense of and relate directly to their work. This works to establish engagement with your insights and establish a healthy feedback loop on the type of insights that are impactful and how individuals like to consume information.
Establish a steady stream of insights that are accurate and reliable. One of the first hurdles you will likely face as an insights professional is an element of distrust or questioning of the data and insights. Ensuring that your insights have been reviewed (data, analysis, and presentation) will help to build trust with your stakeholders and also help you to consider how the end product looks from another person’s perspective.
Speed to insight is an important element in delivering value. Delivering insights quickly can open up a whole new type of operational intelligence. The more timely your insights are, the easier it will be to make decisions as issues arise and take action before they become even bigger problems.
Producing impactful, quick, and reliable insights will lead to other business units wanting a piece of the work that you have established. Hear about how one of our customers has done exactly this here.
Step 2: Continue to build trust and relationships with your insight consumers
Once you’ve established a strong and reliable insights product, it’s time to further develop trust with your stakeholders, which will inevitably lead to greater engagement. This part of the (sometimes long) journey to building trust is all about building relationships through lines of communication. As you develop these relationships, it’s important to gain an understanding of the practical actions that can/are coming about as a result of your insights, what your insights are being used for, and the conversations that are occurring at the leadership level or among other business units.
Step 3: Take the insights function to the next level and put your team on the front foot by leveraging technology
Technology can help you communicate the value that your team provides by establishing a new capability. For example, you may deploy a feedback analytics platform (like us!) that enables you to build an analysis framework around your voice of the customer program and then make that data and insights available to other teams.
Technology is key to building team assets such as reporting templates and workflows, which allow you to do your job quicker and more effectively.
Being able to do more faster will free up your time to ‘sell’ and ‘socialize’ your insights and proactively dig further into the data to find the unknowns and get ahead of arising issues.
Step 4: Expand the impact that your team is having
Look for opportunities to apply your team’s expertise and capabilities to other areas of the business. This could mean disseminating your insights to more teams or individuals in the business via email or an alerts system, establishing new touchpoints for you to provide your expertise via new relationships, or applying your insight tools and assets to other business functions such as operational areas.
If you are in a position to take the above steps, you and your team will be recognised as the authority on customer insights and respected for the quality of insights uncovered and shared.
How to build the right team
To achieve the full potential of what insights functions can deliver, the first challenge is often finding the right people.
Insights teams are often required to respond to business events, new data, and customer issues as they arise. The availability and speed at which we can get feedback on what is happening in our businesses (via data) is greater than ever.
Insight roles have emerged as ones that require a blend of traditional analytical traits, such as attention to detail and logical reasoning, with the ability to adapt to a changing environment, understand the wider business context, and communicate with influence.
Below is a mix of skills to consider when hiring your next insights or voice of customer (VOC) analyst:
Strong analytical skills: They should be able to analyze large data sets and draw meaningful insights.
Attention to detail: They should be meticulous and detail-oriented, as small details can often reveal big insights.
Data visualization skills: They should have the ability to present complex data in a clear and concise manner using charts, graphs, and other visualization tools.
Technical skills: They should have a good understanding of various data analysis tools and software, such as Excel, Tableau, Kapiche, Python or R.
Story-telling skills & creativity: The ability to communicate with influence via story-telling and to think outside the box to come up with new and innovative ways of approaching problems.
Communication skills: They should be able to present their findings and insights clearly and effectively to various stakeholders with influence.
Curiosity: They should be naturally curious and have a desire to delve deeper to understand the subject area and the wider context.
By following these checklists, insights analysts and managers can excel in their roles and continuously improve the value they provide to the business.
By maintaining a steady stream of reliable insights, building trust with stakeholders, leveraging technology, and expanding the reach of insights, the insights function becomes a valuable asset to the organization.