Data

The Power of Better Data

By: Deb Williams

Have you ever been buried beneath a pile of tasks so you completed only the required fields so that you could get on to the next thing faster? You may have even planned to come back later when you had more time to fill in the remaining information. Have you ever been on the other end of data collection losing hours because you had to research to fill in gaps just so you could have a report without huge data gaps?

Data is king. There is so much knowledge available in our information systems: who are our top customers, who are our most productive employees, which vendors are charging us more than they should, which of our products or services are growing and which are not, etc. With the amount of data we have available today, there are so many opportunities for us to really drive our businesses. But there is also a huge IF. That is, if our data is good data. We have all heard the old adage, “garbage in garbage out.” It is still very true. There are no magic scripts for turning inaccurate or missing data into something usable. The best way to ensure that your data will be able to work for you is to start with complete, accurate data from the beginning.

In the world of marketing, we see the effects of bad data frequently in mailings. If customer and prospect information (from names, addresses, business areas, to prior purchases) has missing or inaccurate data, it can create a lot of rework for the marketing team. Or worse, a large investment could be paid towards marketing which is never received by the intended recipient.

The tough part about clean data is it starts at the beginning of most of your sales processes. Your team needs buy-in to take the time to complete all of the data instead of just enough. There also needs to be an understanding of how your data can be used strategically so that the correct data is being collected. Every business, every department can help simply by asking “What information would help me do my job better?” Then follow it up with “Are there any low hanging fruit that I could tackle right now?” Hopefully just taking a moment to consider the possible will inspire your team to take your data to the next level.

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