How big is your business database? From the moment someone becomes interested in your product or service and long after the purchase, you are 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.
The main obstacles of data management
1. The 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 accountancy 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 to go for all-in-one solutions to reduce complexity and connect various data sources to offer a wider scope of customer data. For instance, marketing automation software Autopilot 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.
In its B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, MarketingSherpa indicates that 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales; however, only 27% of those leads are qualified. 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.
“When it comes to data, I want to avoid manual labor. Touching customer data can only lead to errors. Having PieSync syncing my business platforms in the background improves the quality of the information and saves me time. With PieSync I know I’ll have access to the data I need in all my tools.”
Many of Mindgroup’s new leads are captured on their website and stored on Autopilot, where they'll start their customer journey.
Additionally, Ray uses his phone to contact new and existing clients. If Ray didn’t have a sync between Google Contacts and Autopilot, it would be an anonymous call.
“Thanks to PieSync, when a client calls we already know who this person is and what they bought. I already have the contact information available on my mobile. That makes the conversation a lot easier and it generates a better experience for the customer.”
Thanks to the two-way sync Ray set up, the information collected during the phone call can also be immediately added directly to Google Contacts and Autopilot.
Data syncing in action
Before PieSync, Ray's customer data was isolated in different apps. This was affecting his ability to align his marketing and sales efforts, which is essential for business owners to make informed decisions that grow their business.
Data synchronization can make this alignment a lot easier by having:
- The right marketing leads and their qualification data in the CRM.
- The right customer attributes collected by the CRM available on the marketing tool.
Let’s examine an effective way to have Autopilot and a popular CRM like HubSpot in sync.
Every time a lead engages with your marketing content, such as by filling out a sign-up form or downloading an ebook, your marketers collect information that helps you know a little bit more about each lead. It allows you to qualify them.
After identifying a sales-ready lead, you need to act fast to optimize their chances of conversion. With PieSync, you can easily hand over this lead to the right person within your sales team so they can actively follow up and help convert them to a customer.
In this sync, if a contact is in Autopilot with a certain lead status, it'll be synced two ways with HubSpot where the status is also updated:
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 data 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 different 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.
Is it difficult to set up a sync? Not at all! Here's an example of how to sync contacts in Autopilot with your other apps: