Why MSPs Must Turn Down the Data Volume

As technology pros, it's tempting to collect every scrap of information related to your business. Here's why that can be a bad idea.

March 27, 2018

4 Min Read
Volume Down

By Brad Stoller

The rise of big-data analytics and the proliferation of data-tracking tools mean that any business, at any given time, is spinning mountains of information. This data has created a wealth of opportunities for business leaders to glean insights that used to be hidden right beneath their noses.

Though unexplored data pools are enticing, MSPs must be careful not to drown in them.

Telling leaders in the technology space that there is such a thing as too much data might sound crazy, but hear me out. There are times when collecting more data is not helpful and might, in fact, hurt your ability to make the moves necessary for continued growth. To be clear: You should not abandon your data gathering and analysis efforts. You should, however, take a critical look at whether any given category of additional data is worth your time

In Antifragile, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan, argues that too much data creates a “noise bottleneck.” The more information you collect in search of a signal that helps you make more impactful decisions, the more you expose yourself to “noise,” which Taleb defines as “random information that is totally useless for any purpose.”

Noise is always a factor when you collect data — just as turning up a radio receiver to strengthen a signal might also increase the amount of static and distortion, the same is true of data. At a certain point, you cross a threshold of diminishing returns and risk making choices based on irrelevant noise rather than meaningful signals.

In our work as appointment setters, we face this challenge daily. We can track how many leads we source. We can track how many of those leads fit a client’s need. We can track all of the data that’s related to a lead — company size, industry, existing agreements and plans, and management structure. We can track how many calls our sales associates make. We can track how long they spend on the phone. We can track how many of those calls pass each stage of our vetting process. We can track how many of those vetted calls become appointments. We can track how our clients rate the quality of the prospect. We can track the follow-up activity post-appointment, such as email touches or LinkedIn connections.

Internally, we find this data incredibly useful, and we frequently review it. Externally, however, we have found that sharing all of this data with clients creates a noise bottleneck. Partnering with any specialist means that you can take a time-consuming and often arduous task off your plate, freeing you to do more impactful customer-facing work. When you try to ingest all of the data that each of your partners generates, however, you can undermine the very things that make those partnerships beneficial — outside experts managing the bulk of the work for you, making informed decisions based on their industry knowledge.

To get the most return on your partnership dollars, stick to key performance indicators. If an MSP works with us, for example, we encourage them to be candid about the quality of the appointments they receive and their potential value for the business. No matter what sort of specialist you’re working with, you should be able to identify the KPIs that matter.

In the tech space, where data is an everyday part of the work, letting go of data points can feel unnatural or even like you are giving up some manner of control. Resist that feeling. When you focus on the important, useful data, you gain more agency. It’s like turning down the volume on your radio when you drive into an unfamiliar place. Cutting out that noise gives you one less thing to react to so that you can make the decisions that truly matter.

Continue to use data from within and from outside of your business to make smarter decisions, but be mindful of how much you take in. If you drown in the noise, your business will not grow.

Brad is responsible for helping prospective clients understand PT and appointment-setting capabilities through a consultative approach.  Before joining The PT Services Group, Brad was a State Farm agency owner, providing insurance and financial services solutions.  Over the years, he has been a serial entrepreneur, building and developing businesses in real estate and marketing.

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