Mining Data to Hit Paydirt

I’m a fan of the show Gold Rush. It’s a bit silly and melodramatic, but the process of mining for gold is captivating. So much heavy machinery, strategy, risk, engineering, hard work and investment (or in the case of the show, also posturing for the camera, slamming your hardhat, yelling at your crew, etc.) — all in the epic pursuit of these little hidden nuggets.

While the idea of driving around on a dozer looking for shiny rocks in Alaska sounds undeniably exciting, that’s not in the cards for most of us. But there is another more practical, less hazardous kind of mining which can unearth nuggets that just might help you strike it rich.

Eureka, it’s data!

Image via Splitsider, courtesy of Gus Chiggins, Old Timey Prospector

‘Old Prospector’ Gus Chiggins via Splitsider

There’s Gold in Them Hills (of Information)!

 
Like other sorts of mining, in order to successfully mine data you need to have the right tools and the right approach. If you’re not committed to the idea of collecting data, analyzing it and using it to inform your work — in addition to investing in the tools and staff needed to continually do so — then data won’t help you hit paydirt.

You need to have a mindset that prioritizes data. Whether your focus is recruiting, sales, or marketing, data can help you be more efficient, strategic, and effective.

Before Prospecting…

 
What’s your current database situation? When’s the last time it was updated and cleaned? What fields of data are you collecting (demographics, firmographics, etc.) and what do you wish you had?

Are you segmenting your audience(s)? Are you scoring/ranking leads? Do you know how people tend to find out about you, and how they use your products/services?

If you’re keen on mining data, these are fair questions to start with. But the first thing to clarify is: What exactly do you hope to achieve with data, and how do you plan to use it?

Broadly speaking, data mining can help you uncover new leads, maximize your efficiency, build existing relationships, and give you insights on trends. Or, as adroitly stated in this Atlantic article, data can give you enhanced, advanced-level insight through:

Anomaly detection – Spotting things out of the ordinary to discover gaps, deficiencies, or opportunities

Association learning – Using information to infer other things about people or businesses, like Pandora, Netflix (‘because you viewed…’), and Facebook ‘Likes’

Cluster detection – Pattern recognition to anticipate purchase habits and preferences

Classification – Sorting and segmenting into different groups based on whatever characteristics are important to you

Regressions – Using data to predict future behaviors (predictive analytics)

Do any of these sound appealing or advantageous to you? It’s all possible with data.

Tools of the Trade

 
The data tools you invest in should be dictated by ease of use and what your ultimate aim is. Whether your goal is to recruit drivers, sell equipment, or gain insider trucking industry data, it’s about finding platforms and software that will make your life easier. Data should increase your productivity, not hinder it.

Automation, for instance, is only useful if it streamlines your processes and improves your communications. Your CRM platform should, you know, be helping you build better relationships with your customers.

Technology should help you personalize and interact — not agonize and distract.   

That said, make sure you demo before you purchase whenever possible. You don’t want to be saddled with a platform that drives you crazy or requires too much effort to navigate.

Finding a Motherlode of Helpful Data

 
Studies continue to affirm the ‘demonstrable results’ data can bring in terms of loyalty, engagement and overall growth. A report from last year found that ‘companies that regularly maintain their database can see 66% higher conversion rates than those that don’t.’  

The ability to wring out strategic insights from data will only increase in the coming years, as traditional methods of reaching audiences continue to fade. We’re all miners now in some sense.
There’s a motherlode of information out there on new and existing prospects that can make you more efficient and successful. You just have to know where to look, and get the right tools to extract it.  
 

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