HUNT VALLEY, Md. — Taking a close look at a company’s data and using it in creative ways will likely elevate opportunities to tap into new sources for sales, according to Tom Loveland, founder and CEO of information systems firm Mind Over Machines.

Speaking at the May Knowledge Session hosted by the Baltimore/Washington chapter of Sales & Marketing Executives International, Loveland provided case study examples of how companies strategically “mined” data in search of information that illuminated a path toward their business goals and leading to profits that otherwise might have been overlooked. Data mining can range from intense analytics and repackaging or mashing data, to simply sifting through company email exchanges to identify contacts with prospective customers. A sampling of take-aways from Loveland’s presentation included:

  • A key to success in business intelligence and data mining is a cooperative relationship between the marketing and IT departments. Each needs a common understanding on business drivers and, in most cases, these relationships depend on executive management leading the way by recognizing the opportunities and fostering communication, innovation and creativity.
  • Both IT and marketing must know the business, and each must reach beyond the bounds of their typical functions. IT should step into the role of solving business problems with people and for people, while marketing should know how to use the data to benefit sales, create richer stories that lead to sales conversations, and also use the data to help focus and drive the creative process.
  • Companies must set themselves up for success by positioning themselves to be in the business of collecting data and train their teams to look at their data in different ways. If you are ever faced with a situation that makes you think “there must be a better way,” then treat that as a flag that there may be an opportunity to turn your data into an actionable opportunity, Loveland said.