Like it or not, data fuels the engine of your business. Your sales teams need it to prospect, cross-sell and upsell. And your marketing teams need it to create viable campaigns so your sales team has a message to sell. With that in mind, what exactly are you doing with that ever growing pile of information? Do you have someone to keep it fresh, or does it sit untouched, unmaintained and just plain unloved?
No matter what, you need a plan for organizing the monolith that is your database. SiriusDecisions estimates that in a typical B2B company error rates are as high as 25%. That means that if you have a team of sales reps working with that data, 25% of their efforts are wasted. At the same time, it means that 25% of your marketing departments’ messages cannot get through and likely are falling on deaf ears. That’s pretty wasteful. In an economic climate like ours you have to be lean and mean. Wasting 25% of your sales efforts and marketing messages just isn’t in-line.
Ok, so the baby (your database) is ugly, but how do you fix it? Set up error reporting so that you empower your users to point out the problems (see Cleaning Up Your Marketing Database). Then assign some ownership, giving someone the responsibility to oversee, fix and police your database to ensure positive change. You have to have a continual focus on data quality, because constant improvement will lead to gains across the board. If you need proof, SiriusDecisions estimates that B2B companies that address the root cause of data errors can realize a 25% increase in converting inquiries to marketing-qualified leads.