Why Data Trumps All When Plotting Your Growth Strategy

Entrepreneurs exalt listening to their gut but first study the data.

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By John Rampton

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Blogs, books, business leaders and countless other resources offer information about building and growing a successful business, but in today's world, data should drive decision-making. I spent this week at Qualtrics' annual Insight Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, where more than 1,300 brands gathered to collect and share information about using fast and actionable data to build, grow and scale business.

Thursday's agenda kept the previous day's momentum going, featuring headlining speakers Barbara Corcoran, Daniel Pink, Kim Scott and Paul DePodesta.

Related: Celebrating the Freedom to Make Data-Driven Decisions

Barbara Corcoran, one of ABC's Shark Tank investors, told attendees that "every good business needs expanders and containers -- those who are visionary, and those who are data and detail-oriented." She believes that fun drives creativity, keeping innovation at the forefront of business. Encouraging attendees to "capitalize on their strengths", Corcoran displayed her visible ability to market and sell products, emphasizing that finding a balance between data-driven decisions and creating reality based on perception will lead to growth.

Paul DePodesta, the mind behind Moneyball, shared his experience applying data to the world of sports. For him, good processes are born from real-time and developing data. Without a good process, business and organizations cannot execute productive change. DePodesta advised brands to stop seeing what they want to see and build new processes from relevant and telling data.

Related: The Data-Driven Company That Accomplished Very Little

Kim Scott, former Apple and Google Executive team coach, bluntly directed the crowd to "give a damn" about employees and people. Creating a culture where it's easier to speak your mind, rather than staying quiet and suppressing ideas and information, leads to better business, both for employees and customers.

Dan Pink closed Qualtrics' mainstage session urging everyone to adopt a sales mentality. With 41 percent of people's time spent convincing persuading others to purchase, follow or believe in your brand, businesses would do well to realize that in some form or another, we're all in sales.

If I learned anything from Thursday's Insight Summit sessions, it's that data drives growth, but insights from data build effective processes and increase innovation.

Related: For the Clearest Market Insight, Analyze Both Leading and Lagging Indicators

John Rampton

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John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor and startup enthusiast. He is the founder of the calendar productivity tool Calendar.

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