Your Salespeople are Your Data-driven Advantage

Most enterprises understand the need to provide their commercial teams with timely and accurate information. We’ve all seen the metrics where a wrong address or incorrect email can lead to wasted time, inefficient operations and poor customer satisfaction.

It’s why billions of dollars are spent every year acquiring information from third party data sources to enrich information, and even more is spent on IT efforts to reconcile and master that data across countless internal data sources. In many cases, there are even outsourced services that have legions of data stewards that “dial for accurate data”.

Interestingly your field teams, such as sales and account managers who have regular contact every day with customers and potential prospects, encounter the most up-to-date information as a course of their normal activities. Those that decide to update that information in their CRM systems typically make a mess of the database, leading to duplicates and inconsistencies that master data management solutions are then tasked to clean up.

More importantly, beyond the accuracy of name, address and phone number, these field teams encounter interesting affiliations and relationships that are almost never available through third party vendor data. Again those that are willing to provide that information back to their CRM applications hit a dead end because those applications are simply not equipped to handle complex relationships. They may be as diverse as person-to-person, person-to-organization, product-to-organization, location, price and other real world elements.

And even if they are able to capture some of the details the affiliation is often considered “soft” (e.g. hearsay vs. fact) and cannot be verifiable via back office data stewarding.

Here’s where a new breed of data-driven applications with built-in modern data management can help. These applications provide frontline business users with a way to contribute new and updated data. The information can be routed to data stewards through workflow, or simply left as “soft” in the system. The value of that information is then subject to the power of social collaborative voting, much like you would see in that of business or restaurant review on Yelp. The power of crowd self-governs the accuracy and effectiveness of the information provided.

This form of collaborative curation delivers a combination of high quality up-to-date facts, with softer but yet still valuable data that is self-governed. With some enterprises having tens of thousands of feet on the street, the quality of the data they can contribute back to the mothership can be better than information purchased through a third party source. In those scenarios companies may even have the option of monetizing their data without really trying.

As companies move to reduce costs by laying off salespeople due to reduced demands for face-to-face interactions, those that continue to have ongoing contact with customers and prospects become even more valuable, not just to sell product and close deals. Armed with a new breed of data-driven applications, they just might be your most valuable data-driven asset and competitive advantage.