There are three words that can make grown people tremble. I’ve seen them spread panic throughout organisations and have staff ─ from the CEO through to sales teams ─ reaching for the aspirin. And those three words are Data ─ Management ─ Strategy.
But there is no need to fear. Data management is complex, but doesn’t have to be complicated. With specialist support and a systematic approach, your data management strategy won’t seem so frightening any more. Regardless of your industry or company size, the five steps below will help you to achieve your goal ─ and as the benefits make an impact ─ see your data management strategy as friend, not foe.
Choosing the right one is the first step ─ so choose wisely. Some of the top questions you should consider are:
- Can we customise the platform to suit our needs?
- Does it integrate with third party systems?
- Will our sales teams be able to access it when they are ‘on the road’?
- Does it have a simple and easy-to-use interface?
- What support is available?
- Leadership from the CEO down to ensure that everyone values and ‘owns’ their data;
- Extensive support on how to operate the system properly;
- A broader education piece on what data brings and how it can make or break the business ─ this should highlight how data benefits the whole organisation from Sales and Marketing to Finance, Operations, Customer Service and beyond; and
- Performance management, QA and self-appraisal mechanisms.
Studies suggest databases decay at around 25% a year – which means 1 in 4 records could be wrong after a year in your CRM. That’s a quarter of sales calls wasted; a quarter of marketing approaches not reaching intended audiences; a quarter of your invoices heading in the wrong direction. So, it will pay for you to work with a data provider that collects and aggregates the best data available. And once you’ve got accurate data it is essential that it is constantly maintained.
Data aggregation and maintenance is a highly specialised area and, data regulations are becoming ever more complicated across the world, so working with a data partner who can provide trusted advice will bring you peace of mind.
Then you can move on to some really clever stuff ─ such as identifying and understanding companies within corporate families. With this knowledge you can maximise cross-sell and upsell opportunities.
Again, a specialist partner will help you here ─ discovering, capturing and linking the data that really drives your business.
From here you can better understand your customers and uncover valuable insights such as:
- Who your ideal customers are;
- Where they are;
- What industries they are in;
- When is the ideal time to engage them; and
- Who are your best prospects and which prospects are most likely to buy right now.
By Rob Eaton, Director of Sales, Avention