I wasn’t ever described as a spark in the box in my not so glittering Sunday League football career for the George and Dragon ‘B’ team. Promotion to the ‘A’ team for the left Winger who put more crosses into the Golf Course next door than onto the heads of his team-mates was always unlikely. The disappointment didn’t end there, in later years I would come to learn that ‘B’ didn’t stand for better team at all… but instead stood for bench!

During matches played out on Lincoln’s West Common, I would often look up before taking a corner to find that the penalty box was inhabited by an enthusiastic assortment of local wildlife that had made their way onto the pitch. One time, we even had a stray horse join the game.

I can’t help but wonder what a team we could have been with such an exceptionally quick forward. Especially one with four legs and a genetic superiority for headed goals with his extra-long face! He could have provided a much-needed boost to the team’s weekly performance.

Performance data back then wasn’t much more than a tally of goal scorers, perhaps the simplest form of improving performance through data. [bctt tweet=”We’re going to play our top goal scorer more often, as when we do, we score more goals. This example might sound basic, but it can be used as a backbone for how you can use data to improve business performance.”]

Lincoln City FC heroes, Danny & Nicky Cowley, would huddle up each and every Thursday night with their data analysts to understand how the team could improve. Improve they did, as the team stormed through the cup competitions and up through the divisions under their data-driven tutelage.

Danny Cowley used to speak about the small margins of victory and squeezing every last drop of performance from his team. He’d talk about how as a manager, he needed to see football as a science, so that he could control the outcome and outperform the competition. An iconic goal by Nathan Arnold against Ipswich in the Cup was scored as the team data analysts had assessed the data and let the manager know that Ipswich were susceptible to such a counter attack.

Sport has been transformed in recent years through the inclusion of performance data and businesses are increasingly turning to data to increase their sales, profits and outperform their competitors. It is fast becoming the differentiator between the business category winners and losers.

You don’t need a team of data analysts to get results either. You will already have data within your business that you can use to improve performance, that may include operational, competitor or marketing data.

Three free ways to increase business performance utilising data today
  1. Sign up for one of the many free E-mail marketing service providers and use your customer data for an e-mail campaign. You can be setup and ready to go within an hour using simple to use software such as Mailchimp. Deloitte report that for every £1 spent on e-mail marketing, companies receive £40 in additional revenue.
  2. Setup Google Alerts to monitor both your and competitor businesses. Every time either of you are mentioned online, you’ll be notified and made aware of it. This is a great way to start competitor analysis and get the edge on your competition. One of our clients generated an extra £42,000 in revenue from business they discovered through Google Alerts.
  3. Sign up for one of the many free Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to increase sales and maximise performance. Insightly is a CRM many businesses we work with like, as it’s visual and user-friendly. Review42 reports that businesses using CRM data increase their sales by 29% on average.

Don’t forget, you are obliged to pay the data protection fee to the Information Commissioners Office as a business operating in the UK if you process personal data. You can find out more about this here.

Danny Cowley picture kindly provided by Chris Vaughan Photography

FeedbackFans.com Managing Director - Chris Barnard

Chris Barnard has spent over 15 years delivering exceptional digital marketing performance for leading businesses in the UK, Europe and North America as an independent business consultant.

FeedbackFans provides a unique next-generation managed technology and marketing platform that delivers outstanding and outsized results for businesses in sectors such as finance, retail, leisure, and professional services.

With our unparalleled expertise in creating cutting-edge solutions and environments, we empower our clients and users to thrive in the digital age.

Chris Barnard is Managing Director of FeedbackFans