Data is the foundation for every move you make. It drives your decisions and the way you interact with customers during the sales process. Collecting accurate data is vital, and there are there are serious consequences when the data you collect is inaccurate or incomplete.
Imagine this scenario
You’ve set your marketing team up with a brilliant CRM to capture leads and track their every move. You know the importance of collecting data, and you didn’t spare a dime when it came to buying the best CRM software out there.
The sales rep told you their software is capable of tracking your contacts’ behaviour in-depth. You can segment them based on the links they click (or don’t click), the videos they watch, the forms they fill out; you can even track them across the internet. Of course, you signed up.
Fast forward three years. You hire a top marketing manager to launch a massive marketing campaign to take advantage of the data you’ve been collecting for the past few years. They log into your account only to find a mess.
Your CRM is filled with unused tags, duplicate tags, and tags that are indecipherable. The people who created most of the tags have left the company and there is no master list for reference. Worse, the majority of your contacts aren’t segmented at all because your web form was not set up properly and automatic tagging never happened.
The data you thought you were collecting for three years is, in reality, unusable. This revelation explains why your email newsletters were hardly opened, despite having a 6-figure database of contacts. You were sending emails to segmented lists while most of your contacts were unsegmented.
This is a familiar, yet preventable situation. Here’s how to avoid it:
1. Be intentional about the data you collect
Data storage provider Pure Storage conducted a survey of 308 IT decision makers in three countries. They discovered 72% of companies “have gathered data that was not used later on.” Only 26% said they always use the data they collect.
The companies surveyed said the reason for their disjointed data collection was due to a lack of proper tools, a lack of internet skills, and the time it takes to process data.
If the data you’re collecting doesn’t have a direct connection to your marketing strategy, you’re creating extra work. Be intentional about the data you collect.
If you’re collecting every bit of data you can, pause for a moment and go back to your long-term marketing strategy. If the data doesn’t fit into your strategy, let it go.
2. Monitor the health of your databases
If you’re a larger company storing data in SQL databases, it’s not enough to know your data is accurate. If your database isn’t performing optimally and you can’t access your data, it won’t do you any good. You need to monitor the health and performance of your databases.
Using database monitoring software from SolarWinds will give you deep visibility into the performance of your databases from a single installation. With this software, you can find bottlenecks and troubleshoot performance problems on AWS, RDS, and EC2. You don’t need to be a database expert to use it. You will be automatically guided through the process.
3. Confirm the data you’re tracking
If you’re certain you’re collecting all the right data, you should also check to make sure it’s being captured correctly and is available to use.
Go through the motions of using your data to send out a marketing email to appropriate contacts. Can you do it easily? Did your data get captured correctly? Do you have to use any inconvenient workarounds?
Going through this process will tell you if there’s a problem so you can fix it now. Don’t wait for years to go by only to find out your data isn’t usable.
4. Be intentional with the way you organize data
If you’re not using a naming convention, you’re not organized. Going back to your CRM, your tags that segment your contacts should follow a strict naming convention.
If you track contacts from live events, you should have a naming convention that standardizes the tags used for each event. For instance, if you held a summit on July 3, 2015, your tag would be: ‘Summit 07-03-2015.’ The simpler, the better.
Whoever said you can’t collect too much data was correct in theory, but you should never waste time collecting data without knowing how you’re going to use it.