May 16, 2018 Dharmesh Singh

Data Is The New Oil – Only If You Can Capitalize On It

Example of data degridation

I was thinking about data, and an Economist article that I read a while back that had compared a new data center to the oil wells of the last century. The article was making a point that in the current environment data is the new currency and that companies able to monetize the data were going to be the leaders of the future. If you have not read it, you can find the link here. .Nothing earth shattering in hindsight for us in tech but something to ponder over still. Does having access to data alone makes the data worthwhile or is it only useful if you can capitalize on it?

I am asking the question in the context of the data sitting in CRM systems. Companies have been acquiring data for years and they are always hesitant to purge it and mostly never clean it. There is another article from Deloitte Insights that has shared an analysis of how incomplete and inaccurate is most of the personal data despite having reams of marketing data being collected as we all go browsing and shopping online.

Biznology has done a study that shows that B2B data decays on an average of 5% per month or 70.3% per year. Think about it – 70% of your data on accounts and contacts decays in one year. Most CRMs have data that has been sitting around for years. There has been no clean up done nor is there any sort of governance process to manage the lifecycle of this data.

Companies not investing in proactively managing the lifecycle in their CRM systems are adversely going to impact the way their organizations engage with the customers. If 70% of your contact data is old in a year, then chances are 7 times out of 10 you are responding to a “dead” contact.

We were working with an organization that has invested in tools like lean data for routing leads yet they have to manually route leads to the right person since the underlying data is unreliable. Same is the case with another customer who wants to drive a more coordinated engagement between marketing, sales, and support by engaging the account and the contacts associated with the accounts in the context of their journey with the company. They have the data on the accounts and contacts – its not been cleaned nor has there been any effort to put a governance structure around managing data. Result: low ROI on the campaigns.

Companies owe it to their sales and marketing teams and to their customers to get a better handle on the data that they have within the CRM systems. Cleaning data without a specific goal in mind is not the best use of anyone’s time. Here are a few things for you to consider:

  1. Set Goals about what you want to achieve: Consider the various tools ingesting data into CRM system and run a full inventory of them to see if all are indeed needed. Identify what data do you absolutely need to have to meet the needs of marketing and sales teams and ruthlessly set rules to purge everything else. Understand how your marketing automation data flows into your CRM system for example.
  2. Make rules for purge and storage: Once you know where the data is coming into the CRM system work across teams to create a “store” or “purge” list. Purge on contacts is super important, you will be surprised how often people change roles, companies or get promoted. Simple flags like no activity over a year, no email address, bad phone number etc are candidates to purge records

Investing in establishing Data Governance Policies.

At fullcast.io, we believe that cleaning and purging is not the solution to get a handle on this problem. It is the first step however in order to drain the swamp. As you set about putting rules for the purge. You need to invest in establishing policies around data governance. When the data faucet gets turned on you need to have automation that manages the lifecycle of the key data elements around which you engage with your customers- Accounts and Contacts. We believe that selling is a series of events and each event is supported by a policy. You need to invest in creating these policies and enforcing them consistently at the time of data ingestion into the CRM.

Keep your CRM current by applying policies that help you build a self regulating CRM system. Having Data is not enough. Making data work for you so that you can disperse leads/accounts/opportunities/cases to the right person is important. You need good data to run a more targeted reach out to your customers so that you engage in the context of their journey with you. It’s rude to reach out to a contact who is no longer an active contact.

It’s a disservice to your sales teams to assign them accounts that can no longer make a buying decision or have them selling into accounts that may not be in their patch legally since someone else owns the parent account but your CRM account hierarchy could not reflect that relationship. It’s not fair to your sales planners who struggle to create fair and balanced territories if they are working off an unreliable set of date for accounts.

Would love to learn from your experience on how you handle this at your organizations.

Feedback welcome.

Call to action: You need to look at your data if you have done any of the following:

  1. Changed your GTM and ICP.
  2. Entered new markets
  3. Buy lists
  4. Ingest data into your CRM from third-party tools that push account or contact and activity data into your CRM.
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Dharmesh Singh

Dharmesh Singh

Dharmesh Singh is the CEO and Co-Founder of Fullcast.io.