3 reasons why almost no company has its data management in order

Joël van Vugt
May 16, 2023 - Reading Time 8 minutes

If something is everybody's responsibility, it is nobody's responsibility. If there is anything within a company for which this deadpan is true, it is data. After all, in virtually every company, data belongs to and is for everyone. And therefore nobody's responsibility. And that's a problem because different teams are highly dependent on both the quantity and quality of each other's data. In this blog, we hold up a mirror to you with three reasons why virtually no company has its data housekeeping really in order. And how you can make sure it does.

1. Missing processes

A marketing team has no idea of its value if it has no idea how its ROI (Return on Investment) is doing. A sales department is behind by 0-3 when they have to follow up with a lead they don't really know what they're interested in. And the onboarding team hits rock bottom when they have to onboard customers they don't know why they actually want to use their product.  

Data is accumulative. This means that layers are continually added throughout the customer journey. First marketing data, then sales data and finally customer data. The touchpoints by which this occurs are additionally significant. From website visits to quote requests at marketing. And from telephone calls at sales to tickets at the service desk. All together, it quickly leads to an enormous jumble of data.  

To get all that data flowing through your business, it is hugely important to have clear agreements between teams. In other words, make sure there are processes in place that govern what data is collected where and why. You can use a number of principles to do this: 

  1. The next team is always leading. Marketing primarily collects data for sales, sales for the onboarding team and the onboarding team for the service team and again the sales team (cross- and upsell).
  1. Ask each other what data the next team needs to do its job efficiently. Don't collect more than necessary to avoid contamination. A lot of data that one team thinks is great is completely irrelevant to the next.  
  1. Make sure there is one clear place where all that (customer) data is parked and make sure every stakeholder can access it. Usually that's a CRM system.  

By consistently implementing these three points, you will find that your data management will improve by leaps and bounds.  

2. Missing data

After the jumble of data from point 1, missing data no doubt sounds like a contradiction. It isn't. Lots of bad data creates contamination. Less much, but good data makes for good data management and happy customers. There is often still a world to win for many marketing and sales departments. After all, do you already have this data at your disposal?

  • The annual turnover of prospects and leads; 
  • The headcount of prospects and leads; 
  • Their name and address information; 
  • The creditworthiness of intended customers; 
  • The UBO (Ultimate Beneficial Owner) of targeted clients (important to exclude companies on sanctions lists); 
  • The ESG score of targeted clients. ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance. A score that can give an impression of how a company scores on those three pillars compared to companies in the same industry.

Much of this kind of data can be automatically extracted when filling out a form on your website. It is potentially hugely valuable to the various departments within your company. It helps to better break down prospects and leads by their potential value and avoid risk cases early on.  

Check out: Clean, enrich and maintain data with dataxess for your CRM

3. No dataculture

Who doesn't know him? The sales guru who knows how to sell ice to eskimos but forgets all his receipts. They are the terror of every CRM admin and the syrup in every company's data engine. Where the importance of established processes is easy to implement, culture is a lot more complicated. That's because it involves the invisible habits within the company. 

Data, like water, should flow effortlessly through your business

And that's tricky, because whether or not data is driven and tracked is eminently dependent on corporate culture.  

Suppose you are new in the sales department of company X. Naturally, you try to make meters as quickly as possible. The easiest way to do this is to observe your colleagues. How do they do their work? Which approach has the fastest and best results? If data-driven work is part of it, you will undoubtedly adopt it immediately. But if no one is properly recording their information, why should you? You have better uses for your time, right?  

And the very reason that this happens so invisibly and intangibly means that data management in many companies goes haywire. You can have such great tools, collect the most valuable data from external parties and set up the best processes, but if people don't want to or can't follow them, it's no use. 

Changing a culture is not easy in this regard. People are creatures of habit. Once they get used to working a certain way, they don't like to deviate from it. The best way to make this happen is if you show them that it actually makes their work easier, more effective or more fun. And that at the same time you take their capabilities into account. You can't expect a digital newby to build complete dashboards.  

And now?

The secret to building a data culture and getting your data house in order? That's finding the perfect combination between people, processes and data. Is your company collecting data that really adds value? Are there clear agreements about who collects and records what data? Then the chance that you can get the people on the floor on board in a new way of working is really much greater. 

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