It’s a well-known fact that data is the way of the future. In fact, data is often likened to being the new ‘black gold’ of the business world, but much like oil, it’s only valuable when it’s gathered and managed correctly.
Businesses that invest in their data systems and know how to leverage the data that’s available to them have a huge advantage over competitors who don’t.
A recent report by Validity Inc., The State of the CRM Data Management, revealed some interesting commonalities among respondents who reported ‘high’ to ‘very high’ confidence in their organisation’s data.
These 8% of respondents, or the ‘Elite 8’ as we like to call them, have greater confidence in their data, produce more accurate sales forecasts, and achieve higher lead-to-customer conversions.
Another thing this group shares is that they all follow the top three best practices when it comes to data management.
Here we explore how the Elite 8 get it done.
Elite 8 respondents were all fortunate to have the support of C-suite leaders in their data management projects, and it’s evident that this leadership buy-in was instrumental in their success. So how do you go about recruiting the C-suite to the cause?
If you’re looking to engage company leaders in a robust data management strategy, you’ll find the most compelling argument will be demonstrating how poor data quality can negatively impact the business.
To give one example, by not addressing the issue of duplicate records in your CRM, you risk annoying customers with double-up communications.
In addition to frustrating your customers, this will result in your emails being categorised as spam; damaging your company’s sender reputation and impeding the delivery of your communications, or if duplicate records are fulflled through the post or routed through a call centre, the costs of fulfilment become significant.
Poor data practices can also result in companies breaching the law and risking significant fines. Remember, there’s nothing that will get the C-suite’s attention faster than highlighting a business or legal risk.
Data governance process
The second characteristic shared by the Elite 8 is an established data governance process that ensures the organisation’s data quality is addressed as an ongoing concern and managed continuously.
This approach demands a company-wide commitment, and not just the occasional clean-up in the hope that it will eliminate problems in the long run because experience tells us this doesn’t work.
Good data governance means that the pursuit of data management is an ongoing daily effort that is prioritised, respected, and executed across all departments.
Data processes should also be adapted in response to any changes that occur within the business that may impact its integrity. With leadership support for a company-wide data-governance process, data driven decisions can be made that benefit the whole business.
Cross-functional management team
Strong data governance also requires investment and accountability from representatives across all departments in the organisation — from sales, marketing, IT, and finance, to tech support and product development — or indeed any department that interacts with your CRM and contributes to the organisation’s data.
Creating a cross-functional management team for your data governance and management strategy is key to keeping the project informed and on-track.
By putting all these brains in the one room, you’ll gather intelligence from various perspectives on the life cycle of the data, how it is collected and managed, and identify business risks that may be speciifc to a particular business function and not been considered by others.
Not only that, there is a huge cost attached when only certain individuals and departments are a part of this process as important insights from other areas of the business will be overlooked.
These department stakeholders will also help to ensure that their teams uphold the integrity of the organisation’s data so that all departments can leverage it for their own, and the organisation’s, success.
Businesses have nothing to lose (except perhaps bad data) and everything to gain from getting their data management strategy right.
A cross-functional, company-wide approach to managing data will not only improve customer relationships and create more effective sales and marketing campaigns – it also leads to uncovering valuable insights with the potential to increase revenue and growth.