In the old days, you knew who to contact to make business. There were a few job functions, and a few levels of seniority. A name with job function was usually enough for you to hit the bullseye more often than not. But as businesses diversify and become more complex, this becomes more difficult; and even for the “data-aware”, old habits die hard. I had an interesting conversation this week with a potential business partner I was trying to reach out to. This was an organisation that I had done a bit of old school research on, understood their target market and modus operandi as best I could from their website and LinkedIn, and decided that it was definitely worth investigating further. So with my “sales research” head on, I made the call to their London office with a name & job role in my hand that I thought would give me more information and might be able to progress the idea of a partnership. When researching, I always start with people who can give me the most […]
How a Chief Data Officer Can Make Your Data Great Fresh data is usually pristine. It’s data in it’s clearest, most accurate form – straight from the customer or client. If you’ve put measures in place to cut back on data input errors, such as form validation, you can be reasonably sure that the newest records in your CRM are the “latest and greatest”. If your CRM has been active for some time, you’ll have a number of older records that have accrued. These records are the ones your sales and marketing teams will rely on when it’s time to approach existing customers and sell to them again. Chances are, the quality of these records will be fairly good, but it will have fallen since they were first collected. As data quality slips, data goes from “great”, to “good”, to decidedly “bad”. Waste and Cost Data management is a huge cost to businesses, but it’s the bad data that is the real drain. According to Gartner, the average business wastes as much as $13.5 million sorting out data quality problems every year. Poor management is rife.
I should start by saying that I love data – or more importantly I love the information that data can unveil to an enquiring mind. I am seldom happier than when I am looking for trends in whether salespeople decide to make more telephone calls straight after the sales meeting on Tuesday afternoons, what the average sales cycle is for Widget A versus Thingummy X, and if there is a correlation between customer spend and activity. I could spend hours in there, figuratively speaking. However, I’m afraid I am a walking cliché – a sales professional with a natural disposition to spend as much time as possible talking to clients, and as little time as possible in the “non-revenue-generating” task of capturing the correct and complete data in my CRM system. Salespeople don’t do attention to detail, right? They are the hunter-gatherers who stalk the beast, slay the beast, bring the beast back home and put it on the fire they made. Someone else can do the washing up. If they did attention to detail, they’d work in systems analysis surely? Well […]
Private data is now a very public issue. For the first time in history, people recognise that businesses store their information and they want to know how – and why. They want to know why websites need their email address so badly, and they understand that private photos can be hacked. Privacy and security are legitimate concerns for everyone who hands over information about themselves. But some businesses don’t share that opinion. Or, if the business understands the value of data, it has yet to do anything about protecting it. Your business may have all kinds of excuses for this. Your CEO may think that data management is too expensive, or that workflows are too ingrained to be changed. You might think your business is too small to be hacked, or too big to be affected by a breach. But no matter how many excuses you have, your customers are getting smarter. They know the value of data, and they want to trust you to understand it too. Data Risks Data silos contain all kinds of data; some […]
Can’t live with it? Can’t live without it? Has your relationship with data seen better days? When the business is ticking over nicely, and data is fresh, everyone’s content and happy. They can get on with their work, free from the burden of decrepit databases and phone numbers that never connect. But then the honeymoon period ends, and the relationship needs work. It’s getting harder to email people. You’re always getting names wrong. And half of your mail comes back as returned to sender. Like Elvis’ love letter, your mail need not be sent back with an ‘address unknown’. Just as Valentine’s Day gave us all good excuse to nurture relationships and ensure their longevity, it gives us the opportunity to reflect on the way we relate to data, and whether we spend enough time on making sure it’s working for us. Invest in the Best Last weekend, the world spent around $13 billion on Valentine’s Day. We shopped for 180 million cards, bought 196 million roses and spent $2.2 billion on jewellery. Over a year, businesses spend a fraction of that amount on data quality initiatives – a […]
Office, the high street shoe retailer, has had something of a lucky escape when it comes to its data quality. Last week, the Information Commissioner’s Office decided not to levy a fine on the company for a massive data leak, although luck had its part to play in the outcome In May 2014, hackers gained access to Office’s servers and stole customer information relating to more than a million past customers. Sensitive data, such as postal addresses, was exposed, and the hackers were also able to steal passwords from the database. Fortunately, none of this data appears to have been used for malicious purposes. For many businesses, the consequences of a hack are severe. Fines, bad publicity and compensation payments can have serious consequences for profitability. This is why master data management is a key concept in information security, and achieving a state of security and consistency is critical. Lucky Escapes The reason the Office hack was so serious was because the database was so large, and so old. It contained out of data, ‘dirty’ contact information – records that should have been deleted […]
What is CRM – A Holistic Approach to Customer Relationship Management In a recent blog article by Salesforce, they explain what a CRM system is and the impact of using a CRM system can have on businesses. “CRM helps organizations be more effective and efficient in their day-to-day tasks and assists them in reaching long-term business objectives and goals”. They go on to explain how technology for CRM systems has improved over the last couple of decades, allowing businesses to have access to powerful, comprehensive and affordable CRM systems. The purpose of the CRM systems is to facilitate more efficient communication with customers and leads, helping all participants complete transactions quickly. Even the most technically advanced CRM cannot achieve its goals if the data it holds is inaccurate. As we are all becoming aware, the data held in CRM systems is becoming one of the “Largest Assets” for businesses. Unless this data is maintained and treasured, businesses are at danger of their CRM systems failing and even the most technically advanced CRM cannot achieve its goals if the data it holds is […]
Customer relationship management (CRM) has moved from specialist term to buzzword, and now, into the core of business. According to a blog by Sugar CRM, about 15 million people used some kind of CRM system in 2012. The same blog says that large businesses were more likely to adopt CRM software first, since the potential benefits are so much greater. Gartner is well known for its predictions, and its analysis of the market is clear: the appeal of the CRM is growing, and smaller businesses are able to adopt the technology thanks to affordable pricing and cloud hosting. Gartner predicts that CRM software will grow at a rate of 14.8% through to 2017. That’s a lot of data being collected – and a huge potential for expense. Harvest Time The maturing CRM market is a reflection of our desire for data. Data lets us understand our customers, communicate more effectively with those customers, and segment them for more effective marketing. This is why many businesses harvest massive amounts of data about their customers and store it in their CRM, then leave […]
The champagne has been drunk, the mince pies are eaten and we’re packing away the Christmas baubles for another year. After a well-earned rest, thousands of businesses are returning to face the challenges that the New Year will bring to their business, and that means refocusing efforts on quality, usable data. But the world of IT rarely stands still, and 2015 will bring immense change that will intensify our use of data and change our dependence on it. New Years’ Resolutions Many of us put a few projects to one side last December, pledging to deal with them after the festive break. If you brushed your dirty data under the carpet before shutting shop, January is a good time to bring it out into the open for a spring clean. But before you begin, think about the way your use of data will change. Each year sees advancement in data and technology. This year, we’re looking at some big changes that will force businesses to broaden their scope and scale up their data quality assessments.
In 2013, UK households spent £22.3 billion on Christmas. This includes £599 per family, on average, spent purely on gifts. Clearly, there’s big money in this season, and every business is out for its slice of the pudding. The data you collect this Christmas will fuel your efforts in the year to come, and the quality of that data will influence your successes and failures. As such, it makes sense to collect that data properly, nurture it correctly and store it responsibly. As the years come and go, your data is certainly getting older, but are you getting any wiser? By next Christmas, almost one quarter of your database will be eroded unless you put a regime in place. Defining Quality, and Consequences We know data is of a good quality when it is fit for purpose. We need to have full confidence in it, and we need to be able to trust that data to support our profitability this Christmas and next. We need […]