After welcoming words by Anu Laitila from Future Female, the sponsors’  representatives Maria Sangder from Talent Vectia and Mikael Castrén from MKTG Finland steered us to the evening’s theme.

Mikael Castrén from MKTG Finland and Maria Sangder from Talent Vectia

Implementation of data driven leadership depends on organization’s capability to produce insights and requires focusing both to customer and employee experience point of views – knowing what to measure and how to turn that into value or desired results.

As data is abundant, we also need to be mindful of what data to use.

‘Enabling the enablers’

First keynote from Sales Operations Manager Niko Strömberg presented how fact based sales management has been carried out at Outotec. The key is in compliant CRM and sales process.

A must-win battle set on customer focus catalyzed a development journey where some of the winning strategies of top sales organizations became implemented, such as freeing up sales people to sell, developing people and employing structure to the sales process.

To improve sales funnel, CRM compliance was measured against set criteria. Sales people and leaders were trained to share common language; to build sales more systemically and on tracking good sales opportunities.

Niko Strömberg, Outotec

The data was visualized into a multitude of CRM views to drive proactivity and track low-activity areas, such as measuring  sales visits’ activity in a specific focus area or sales opportunities globally. Leadership and ways of working transformed; sales meetings were structured on the level of the whole organization and sales-related roles were redefined. Leadership approach switched from ‘rear-window’ inspection into coaching sales teams on their capabilities such as decision making.

Coaching the salespersons has the greatest impact on the sales funnel. Changing ways of working requires engaging the sales persons to record information to CRM; it can be best achieved by demonstrating the value of the information.

Multiplying ROMI by 600%

Heidi Peltonen from Neste Marketing and Services briefed us on their successful case of a significant improvement of return on marketing investments (ROMI). They have used analytics as part of marketing planning and results speak for themselves. The paradigm from maximizing awareness amongst customers with a set budget has shifted into increasing ROMI by recognizing potential and choosing the right channels – and data is needed to differentiate.

Heidi Peltonen, Neste

Heidi’s lessons in a nutshell:

Lesson #1 is about willingness to improve and learn; not just about data and tools. Regarding #2, Neste compared marketing investments on the baseline of doing nothing and analyzed ROMI or the incremental margin / spend.

Lesson #3 is about repeating the processes until differences start to reveal themselves. Model the ROMI, have patience to get the results with repeats, then optimize.

Lesson #4 is the breaking point; to overcome it, show the results to get buy-in. To maximize ROMI, a shift was needed from yearly plans to marketing actions based on account and targeted according to the customer’s journey.

Finally as lesson #5 we should enjoy the results together to further advance buy-in. Concluding with an example of a creative campaign utilizing data – Finlandia by Forest Machines – Heidi encouraged us to start with analyzing ROMI as a first step.

Leadership as a Service (LaaS) – one leadership model is not enough

Development discussions no longer proved beneficial according to personnel surveys but nevertheless required a lot of resources. People were assumed to have capabilities out of their comfort zone, not enabling them to concentrate on their core skills and true passions. HR director Johanna Pystynen from Vincit told us how they in this context developed need-based leadership models by using data.

First actions such as analyzing the yearly anonymous welcoming questionnaires were taken; what to do with its data, where to find issues needing improvement and solutions? As a preliminary result the existing services were improved, based on guesswork on what could have an impact and proceeded by experimenting. Then approach was switched into customer based focus; that of internal customers ie. employees. A web-shop for leadership services and concept of LaaS was born. Services of the shop are partly offered and produced by employees, fostering community spirit. Service usage, peer review data is observed and benefits to costs compared to see where to focus in further development of leadership services.

Navigating with data – panel discussion

Henna Niiranen from Integrata opened the panel discussion with the issue of data overload: what to do with all the data? Panelists suggested using data as a navigator, exploring incrementally and getting feedback rapidly.

What about making progress based on data? Take a systemic approach and look for leading indicators that can reveal surprising impacts and experiment in different functions of the organization.

How to avoid pitfalls with data? Do not make too hasty decisions when you don’t have enough dimensions to the data and do not isolate data from your core processes.

Is bad data better than any data? It is good to gather data for future needs but understanding context is important for example in the case of old data.

What does the future of data driven leadership look like? Humans have to guide the machines; time is also saved for strategic thinking as machines roll up their sleeves to do the work. Regarding employee experience, AI will be used to predict our wellbeing also in working life.

No matter how data driven future is, humans will still be needed for their capabilities of intuitive thinking, creativeness and experience to interpret the data!


Writer:  Katja Kaihua

Works in CRM development and explores “team building as a service” concepts as part of her service design studies