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June 25, 2019

Top 5 Ways Data Storytelling Will Change Your Business

By: Anna Schena

In our last blog post, we explored exactly what data storytelling really means. In case you missed it, here’s a quick refresher: data storytelling takes your data and automatically turns it into plain-English stories. 

Not dashboards, not spreadsheets – stories. In plain language. That anyone can read, understand, and share. Stories that present a clear, concise message about what you need to know about your business on any particular day.

Now that you know what data storytelling is, why should you care? Here’s a few things that happen when you start using data storytelling in your company.

The Benefits of Data Storytelling

1. You learn a ton about your business.

No matter who you are, or what you do, there is something new to learn about your company. Do you know what’s in your company’s pipeline every day? How much business you’ve closed? How many leads you brought in? Data storytelling brings this information to everyone, in a way anyone can understand, every day.

2. You focus on what matters, all the time, regardless of where you are.

You care about different things than your teammate, your boss, and your direct reports. With data storytelling, each employee can read a story about what matters to them every single day. The stories are personalized, and they meet your employees wherever they are—on their phones, Slack, email, and more.

3. You can prioritize your conversations.

When everyone actually understands data, everyone is on the same page. You can clearly see what’s working, what’s not, and where to improve. And you can start that conversation about how to proceed from right inside your stories.

4. You spend way less time explaining what’s going on to other people.

You know your own metrics. You have your methods of getting that information, and it works for you. But as soon as you have to tell other people what matters, things fall apart. They don’t understand your dashboard. They don’t log into your CRM. So you end up explaining the information, in person or via email, when you should be spending time on your work. With data storytelling, the explanation is done for you. Everyone is on the same page, all the time.

5. You make better and faster decisions about how to spend your time.

When you intimately understand your business, you don’t need to stress about what to do next or where to spend time. The data is right in front of you, in a way that you can consume in seconds. This makes it easier for you to make the right decisions faster, which means you can act more confidently, move faster, and crush your goals.

Firsthand Experience Shows it Works

Here at Narrative Science, we use data storytelling to look at data from Salesforce, Marketo, HootSuite, Jira, Jobvite, Zendesk, Mixpanel, and more. I sit on the marketing team – but now I get access to real-time stories about how our sales, marketing, product development, support, and recruiting teams are doing, all the time. And it’s not just me – everyone in our company has access to all of these stories.

It has completely changed how I make decisions:

What messaging should we use next? I check Lexio to see what deals have been added to the pipeline recently and send a comment to our sales team about what messages are working.

What how-to articles should we create? I check Lexio to see who our power users are and send a message to support about joining their calls this week.

How quickly are we shipping new features? I check Lexio to get a story about product development throughput, send a question about the roadmap to our team, and get a response – all from within the story.

And it’s not just me. People across all of Narrative Science are using data storytelling to learn the same things. To start conversations that matter. The result? We are starting to see a change in behavior. There are way less questions about how we are doing, and way more about how we take action. We are moving faster, having more productive conversations, and exceeding more of our goals.

But this is just the beginning. We are just scratching the surface of the potential of data storytelling technology – and I am so excited to be a part of the future here at Narrative Science.

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