Taking Control of your CRM Data

CRMs are supposed to be used to achieve better efficiency. By investing time in the CRM, sales teams should be able to identify leads, retain existing customers and successfully recruit new clients to the fold. Your research and development team should be able to use the metrics from the CRM to drive next year’s products, and the marketing team should be able to feed this back into their campaigns next year. Sadly, many CRMs fail to perform well. No system could feasibly solve every problem in your business, but if the CRM is creaking under the weight of dirty data, it could actually be hindering progress. Not an Afterthought We’ve heard estimates of CRM project failure rates between 30 and 60 per cent. And when you consider that the cost of a CRM starts at hundreds of pounds per month, the potential for waste is enormous. That’s not counting the cost of implementing the CRM, including change to systems, processes and workflows. After all of that cost and investment, it can be extremely disheartening to find that staff simply don’t trust their data. The greatest success in data quality comes […]
By |June 16th, 2015|Blog, Data Management|Comments Off on Taking Control of your CRM Data

Data is Immortal, but Not Immune to Decay

Data exists in a dangerous state of near-non existence. Few businesses would risk not having backups in place. With cloud computing becoming commonplace in enterprise, we’ve come to accept that our data will be replicated and stored in duplicate. Even data that is intentionally deleted can often be recovered. When Yahoo! purchased Geocities, nobody dreamed that it would go ahead and delete the entire archive – more than 600 gigabytes of internet history. Despite this, enthusiasts were able to quickly archive the collective work of 35 avid Geocities webmasters – an important milestone in our ability to breathe new life into data that someone else does not want. The Cost of Deletion Deleting data is not just a catastrophe for the user, or the business, or the system itself. Deletion of data also has a cost attached. We’ve all deleted files, essays, reports or emails by accident, and we’ve been forced to spend hours recreating what we lost.  Other consequences also make data loss costly: loss of custom, loss of reputation, or damage to a brand. Often, it is easier to harvest massive amounts of data, and […]
By |June 2nd, 2015|Blog, Data, Data Quality|Comments Off on Data is Immortal, but Not Immune to Decay

Were the Election Polls Marred by Poor Quality Data?

The UK’s general election took place last week, on Thursday 7 May, 2015. It was an election that had been hyped for being ‘too close to call’. According to the polls, the government was likely to be a coalition of one or more, with no party achieving a majority. It could have gone either way.   Imagine the shock when the BBC announced the exit poll results: a landslide victory for a single party – the Conservatives. Election polling companies are reliant on various types of data to come up with accurate predictions. Like any business, they must apply quality control to their data. They must cleanse it, eradicate errors and duplicates, and ensure their contact records are up to date. They need to ensure they don’t call the same person twice, and they must encourage people to give accurate data in response. How could so many companies get it so badly wrong? And was the data at fault, or was there another gremlin in the machine? Precedents in polls This is not the first time that polling data has let down the public, politicians and press. During […]
By |May 12th, 2015|Blog, Data|Comments Off on Were the Election Polls Marred by Poor Quality Data?

Do Your Customers Hide Their Data?

Personal data has an image problem. People are increasingly wary of handing over their details to websites – particularly when they have no intention to engage long term. Many marketers set out to obtain email addresses, yet do very little to ensure the email addresses they get are valid. This is the beginning of a vicious circle for the business they’re working for. Why? Trust has broken down. If customers don’t trust you, they will hide their data from view. Official advice from tech-savvy gurus is to hide your real personal data from the prying eyes of advertisers, by entering false dates and other booby traps. In 2012, this advice was even given by the UK government as a way to protect security and stay safe online. This is a dirty data nightmare for small businesses, and it will only serve to compound the considerable problems we already face with bad data. Where We Are Now According to the Telegraph newspaper, half of British consumers think their data is at risk. They cite data loss, theft and surveillance – all key issues that have hit the […]
By |April 28th, 2015|Blog, Data, Data Services|Comments Off on Do Your Customers Hide Their Data?

Enhance your CRM Data to Sharpen your Sales Pitch

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 […]
By |April 8th, 2015|Blog, Data, Data Management, Data Quality|Comments Off on Enhance your CRM Data to Sharpen your Sales Pitch

How a Chief Data Officer Can Make Your Data Great

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.
By |March 25th, 2015|Blog, Data, Data Quality|Comments Off on How a Chief Data Officer Can Make Your Data Great
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    Data Quality – Supporting Your Sales Team’s Unnatural Disposition

Data Quality – Supporting Your Sales Team’s Unnatural Disposition

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 […]
By |March 18th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Data Quality – Supporting Your Sales Team’s Unnatural Disposition

Value your Customer Data as a Business Asset

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 […]
By |March 4th, 2015|Blog, Data Quality|Comments Off on Value your Customer Data as a Business Asset

Do You Have a Love-Hate Relationship With Your Data?

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 […]
By |February 17th, 2015|Blog, Data, Data Quality|Comments Off on Do You Have a Love-Hate Relationship With Your Data?

Using Customer Data? Start With Clean Data

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 […]
By |January 27th, 2015|Blog, Data Cleansing|Comments Off on Using Customer Data? Start With Clean Data