How big is your business's database? From the moment someone becomes interested in your product or service and long after the purchase, you're collecting data — and it can multiply fast.
Thanks to cloud-based platforms, even small businesses have access to a broad variety of tools to gather massive amounts of information. But it's easy to fall into a "more is better" trap when really the quality of your data is most important of all.
After all, collecting large amounts of information is less of a challenge than managing data efficiently and ensuring its quality. Then, and only then, can business owners make data-driven decisions such as how to:
- Pivot your business to match consumer demand
- Offer the best customer experiences
- Introduce new products
- Personalize marketing content
- Scale effectively
- Channel your budget
Let’s examine the two biggest obstacles of data management and how to use technology to overcome them so you can make more data-driven decisions.
Obstacles of Data Management
1. Overwhelming Amount of Data From Different Sources
According to the 2020 Blissfully Report, the average small business uses 102 different apps and a mid-market business uses an average of 137 apps.
Your marketing team needs at least one tool for lead generation, email marketing, and automation. Meanwhile, your sales team uses a CRM and your accounting team manages your finances with another piece of software. Then there are apps for smooth business operations like GSuite or Outlook, your ecommerce store, surveys platforms, and VoIP.
All these applications contain relevant customer and lead data from interactions with leads, prospects, or customers at different stages of their journey.
When you are choosing applications for your SaaS stack, you might choose an all-in-one solution to reduce complexity and connect various data sources to offer a wider scope of customer data. For instance, marketing automation software can take over your lead generation, capture, scoring, and nurturing throughout the customer journey.
Integrated systems or hubs exist for other areas of your business like sales, finance, or ecommerce. But as your business grows, you'll likely adopt more tools on top of them to add functionality and handle additional customer touchpoints.
These tools have their own way to store data and the problem is that most of them are not really “talking to each other.” The lack of communication between apps leads to a major data management challenge for businesses of all sizes: data silos.
2. Data Silos
Cloud software has made a lot of things easier for businesses: you can work anywhere, stay up to date on every device, and not rely on hardware updates. But even when you are using cloud-based applications across your business, most of them are not natively integrated.
As a result, little fragments of customer data are isolated within these applications. When that happens, you have a data silos problem.
Data silos can be kryptonite for businesses. They make it impossible to have a 360-degree view of your customers when your data is isolated. Since each one of your teams is looking at their own particular subset of data, decisions will rarely be aligned and definitely not driven by the data that matters to everyone.
Even when there is good communication between teams, sharing quality data has its structural challenges. Many sales teams are accidentally spending time on leads that their marketing colleagues have already identified as cold.
When native integrations are not available, the best way to have the right data in the right tools is through third-party integration services.
For example, using an integration solution can help you align different departments in your business by having:
- The right marketing leads and their qualification data in the CRM
- The right customer attributes collected by a CRM available on a marketing tool
Integrated Data Is Essential for Data-Driven Decisions
Collecting massive amounts of data is no longer the problem. Today’s challenge is managing data efficiency and avoiding silos.
Integrated systems and synchronization solutions allow you to have the right information available in the right tool at the right time. Then, and only then, can you have a clear and complete view of your customers. This enables you to use data to illuminate the best path forward rather than making decisions based on gut feeling or past experience alone.
Additionally, data synchronization brings your teams closer together and aligns their view of the customer. Having your tools “talking to each other” can also leverage something very valuable for all businesses: time.