Have you every procrastinated on a task, knowing that you should do it, but for some reason it’s doesn’t seem relevant, not exciting enough or just too difficult; you go through that crazy loop of saying you should do it and then you don’t, you should do it and then you don’t, and the cycle continues.
Until all of a sudden the task becomes the most important task ever!
Perhaps a deadline is approaching or there are big consequences if you don’t do it – now you are motivated to move and complete the task.
We’ll this is how it seems for some organisations regarding their data. In the back of their minds they know they should have great data to run a business with, want to clean data but never getting around to it - it’s not important enough - well, not yet.
Here are some of the reasons we hear regularly of why organisations aren’t proactive about having good quality data.
Times Are Good
“Our revenues are good, the business is growing fine, so why is there a need to clean my data”
This is a common one, if your business is growing handsomely, then how’s improving your data going to increase your business anymore?
Here an organisation hasn’t made the link with data and more sales, because we know missing data or incorrect data will result in lower engagement, hence lower sales or potentially harm your reputation which means losing potential or existing clients.
It can always seem like there are more important commercial problems to solve and often there are, but making data great isn’t the hardest of tasks, and can get you immediate results.
Before the revenues start to flatten (and they always do), have great data before it’s too late.
Our Marketing Doesn’t Require It
“Our Marketing doesn’t require good data”
Professional Services niche comes to mind here. Business is primarily through partners who rely heavily on their network and existing relationships to generate fees.
In 2008, the financial downturn saw many professional services businesses lose 5-10% of their business as the world tightened its pockets.
Compounded with the internet now providing cheap and reliable alternative online services, further eroding of sales occurred.
This meant either redundancies or shorter working weeks for many.
Then came the need to increase revenues, but the network could no longer generate the desired income.
Focus turned to sales and marketing activities, which in turn led to the quality of their data. CRM applications were implemented and data quality
New marketing activities were required for new client acquisition and lead nurturing to increase revenues; which all depend on good quality data.
Always assuming your marketing channels will be the same forever is a dangerous assumption, disruptive technologies and economic cycles has caused many surprises.
Making data an essential part of your business is a very good insurance policy; it enables you to be flexible if circumstances change.
Related Post: Marketing or IT?
No Point Cleaning, it’s Too Late, it’s Too Dirty
“Our data is so dirty that it’s not worth cleaning, we just need new data”
On occasions we’ve come across a very surprising reaction to not cleaning data: the data is old and/or dirty that it’s not worth cleaning and we just need to buy new data.
My initial reaction is that there must be some data (as these equate to relationships) that must be worth keeping. Never dis-regard data that’s been used either as prospect lists or customer lists, as there is always some gold in that data.
If anyone has bought data, you know how difficult it can be to get the right data. Replacing an existing database with a new one is not a good idea. You’re replacing all those relationships with no-relationships.
It’s never too late to clean data.
Related Post: 6 Basic Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Data
Suppliers Have Been Poor
“Suppliers are useless; they don’t care about our data like we do”
Some clients seem to be very disillusioned with suppliers; the supplier has not improved their data significantly and/or charged too much.
Whatever the reasons, organisations are compelled to correct the data themselves and a miss-trust of suppliers is created.
The only problem with doing it yourself is that it’s not a core competence for them, hence real data problems take longer to fix and best practices are overlooked.
From our experiences, a professional data company can significantly improve client data, having said this, there are not many high-quality data
companies providing a full service.
I Don’t Own Our Data
“I’m not sure whose responsibility the data is, it could be IT or Marketing or someone else”
Where organisations haven’t focused on their data as a priority, often there will be no clear ownership of the data.
Marketing and IT are sometimes the most common departments where the responsibility lies (unless you are a big enough organisation to have your own data quality team.)
Marketing want to improve data as they can see the benefits through campaigns, but IT maybe owning the data. Sometimes IT doesn’t trust marketing to improve the data as Marketing are not technical enough. (This situation occurs regularly.)
At the end of the day, the data suffers and degrades, until the moment comes when it is escalated.
The best way to increase data quality understating in organisations is to perform an audit, attach it one of the business processes that relies heavily on good quality data and present this to senior management with how it can all go wrong. Usually the shock will result in capital being allocated.
Can’t Get The Data In/Out of Our System
“No one knows how to get the data in or out”
This is one of those annoying reasons. No one knows how to export or more commonly, to import data into their systems.
There may be no trained IT staff or simply the system is designed so badly that getting data in or out is a hassle.
One particular niche has a dominant supplier that makes it purposefully difficult to export/import data with a view to performing it as a chargeable task. Not a great way to go about your business, by abusing your number one position because there will always be someone ready to take your place.
Data should not be compromised just because there is no one who knows how to export/import it. This can be frustrating to business users who rely on their data to generate leads and sales.
Related Post: Getting Data In/Out of Your CRM Can Be a Hurdle
Don’t delay having great data for your business, it’s one those projects that rears its head in difficult times, when really it should be part of your everyday business. Engage with a professional data company to help you have the data that truly nurtures your business.