You haven’t cleaned your house in quite a while, and you’re shocked at how messy it’s become. Instead of spending a little time each week cleaning up, you waited until your house was completely disgusting and simply had to be cleaned. Now, you have to bite the bullet and spend an entire Saturday scrubbing your house from top to bottom.
In sales operations, your company’s CRM data also has to be cleaned up from time to time – there’s a reason they call it data scrubbing! Much like cleaning your home, cleaning up your data is time consuming and tedious, but a necessary task. Correcting errors in your company’s data also becomes worse and worse the more you put it off. However, while a messy house won’t actually hurt you (other than the disgust of living in filth), poor data quality can seriously harm your business.
Bad data can lead to bad analysis, which can lead to bad business decisions and even worse results. You need to stop procrastinating and fix your poor data quality today, so it won’t affect your business tomorrow.
Risking Bad Analysis
The number one problem caused by low-quality data is the risk you take when using that data to make important business decisions. If your data is full of errors, that means any data analysis you run could be completely and utterly wrong. For example, if you run a report and the data tells you that all of your sales leads come from cold calls, you’re going to make hiring and process decisions based on that information. But you don’t realize you’re using flawed data – in fact, most of your leads come from marketing emails instead. Because the data wrongly shows that all new business comes from cold calls, company leadership decides to hire 30 new Business Development Reps, and invests nothing extra in marketing. You’ll be shocked when your sales numbers take a dive next month, and you can’t figure out what went wrong. Because you didn’t check your data quality first, it’s now your fault that your sales team decided to invest in the wrong lead sources and hired the wrong people.
While bad analysis is seriously dangerous to your business, poor data quality can also mean your business doesn’t have the right data to analyze in the first place. If you don’t have the data you need, you can’t even try to analyze specific sales trends or learn about how your business functions. In today’s competitive, data-obsessed world, any business that isn’t using data to make decisions runs the risk of falling behind. If you’re trying to analyze your company’s ideal buyers by business size, for example, you can’t do it if your database doesn’t have that information. If you don’t enforce data collection from the beginning, you simply won’t have the data you need to make informed business decisions. However, this is something you can fix. When your team of sales reps uses CRM, make sure leadership enforces data entry so that you’re able to analyze the data when the time comes.
Lack of Visibility
Without high quality data, no one really knows exactly what’s going on across the sales team. If sales reps aren’t entering accurate data into CRM, sales managers will have no idea who’s making the most calls, who’s booking high-quality meetings, and who’s working what opportunities and when. Without the right data, management will be surprised every month to see who sold the most, what deals converted quickly, and which opportunities were lost. This lack of visibility makes it tough to forecast accurately, since managers can’t see what’s going on with an opportunity and thus can’t help out if something is going wrong. It also makes it tougher for sales managers to analyze activities and find areas where sales reps can improve their selling skills. Sales managers can’t offer personalized sales coaching without the right data on hand. Poor data means there’s no transparency across the organization to help your sales team create a repeatable and reliable sales process.
If it’s the last week of the month, sales reps have to really prioritize the opportunities they work in order to get the best possible results. But without high quality data, your team doesn’t know which opportunities fit the ideal buyer profile, which have positive momentum, and which are at risk of failure. You want the team to focus on the opportunities that are most likely to close, instead of sifting through 100 deals in the pipeline and trying to call all of them. Everyone is working all the wrong opportunities – chasing deals that will never close and letting opportunities with promise fall by the wayside. Selling without the right data is a complete waste of time, and leads to much lower sales numbers overall.
While you know that data quality is important, it can often be pushed aside in the rush to manage all of your other sales ops responsibilities. But there’s too much at stake to ignore your data. Poor data quality can lead to disastrous business decisions, bad sales forecasts and lost deals. Take care of your data, and it will take care of you.