Your business data is that vital element that forms and runs through your entire business: they drive your automated workflows, provide customer service representatives with the complete story of each consumer so that every time the phone rings, it is provided the best service, and also keep your organization informed for better decision making.
Even small businesses can benefit from the rise of big data, optimizing their organization’s data and creating processes to put it to work. According to the IT Reseller portal, 8 out of 10 companies believe that data is one of their most valuable assets.
When your company data is reliable and accurate, its use and exploitation is easier. But when errors, duplicates and question marks appear, it is not so useful to have that information. When you can’t trust your business data, problems arise quickly and multiply in all areas of your company.
6 out of 10 companies suffer from data disorganization, duplication and inconsistencies and this causes between 25% and 30% of a company’s quarterly revenue to be lost according to experts. Back in 2013, HBR also talked about the domino effect of unreliable data as part of the “Data Credibility Problem”:
“When data is unreliable, managers quickly lose confidence in it and turn to their intuition to make decisions, run their companies, and implement strategies. For example, they are much more likely to reject important counterintuitive implications that emerge from big data analytics. “
For the best results as a data-driven organization, here are some of the best practices to strengthen the foundation and make your business data as trustworthy as possible.
9 ways to fix unreliable data and increase its accuracy
1. Improve your database
Data debt – the cost associated with poor data governance in a business – is a major issue for many organizations, and many businesses claim that data literacy is crucial in preparing their company for the future and the new normal.
Making your business data more reliable doesn’t just happen by magic – it requires frameworks, robust processes, and a data-savvy workplace. As early as possible in your business trip, make sure you have the following:
- A robust CRM system to centralize all contact details.
- Processes to organize and segment data.
- Integrations between applications.
- Formal data literacy programs in place to educate your team.
- A clear strategy for how you will use and maintain the data you collect.
Remember the old saying: the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second-best time is now. The same happens to put your data in order.
2. Determine where your new data comes from
Like trusted data, cluttered and unreliable data doesn’t appear by accident – there’s always a source. To make your business data more reliable, keep track of where it came from.
To do this, answer the following questions:
- How is the data added to your CRM?
- Are there forms or manual imports causing bad data to clutter up your database?
- Are different team members importing conflicting data in different ways into various applications?
3. Optimize your forms and data collection channels
Once you’ve identified how your new data enters your apps, take some time to optimize these collection channels.
To get valid and reliable data, make sure these factors are true for every piece of data you collect:
- You really need to collect them.
- You are compiling them in a uniform and standardized format between applications.
- You have permission to obtain them according to data protection regulations.
- They will be stored and organized in the right app for the right purpose.
4. Eliminate silos
One recipe for unreliable data is to have data silos. This consists of having a collection of data that one department has access to, but others do not.
The negative effects of data silos affect the productivity and performance of any organization and include: lack of transparency, efficiency, collaboration and trust.
To eliminate data silos, use a central CRM between departments, connect data between applications in your technology stack, and focus on building a culture of collaboration between areas.
5. Segment your data
Good business data is organized, adds value to your business, and is collected with the explicit permission of users. For your data to be more organized, segmentation should be your friend.
Segmentation can be viewed as tags, list memberships, groups, or other properties that give you more information about each contact and divide your database into clear categories of preferences, demographics, purchase history, and more.
When you integrate your data between applications using an iPaaS (integration platform as a service) you can create syncs based on your segments and connect the correct data in two ways between your applications.
6. Clean your databases
To make your data more reliable, clean up cluttered data as soon as possible. This means fixing or removing:
- Incorrect data
- Out of date data
- Duplicate data
According to SiriusDecisions, on average it costs about $ 1 to avoid a duplicate, $ 10 to correct a duplicate, and $ 100 to store a duplicate if it is not removed.
To help prevent duplicates and other incorrect data, create company-wide standards for data entry and maintenance, then sync the data from the most accurate source with your other applications and create a complete view of your database. It is also valuable to set up and document processes to standardize and verify new data.
7. Connect your applications to integrate data
The most effective data management strategies connect data between applications. This eliminates data silos, creates an integrated view of all information, and syncs data to the right places as soon as something changes.
The easiest way to achieve quality data integration is with a zero-code iPaaS solution that connects the dots between all your key business applications, from your CRM to your email marketing system and customer support software. You can do this with HubSpot’s data sync software.
8. Create accessible reporting dashboards
Instead of hiding your data insights in private dashboards, make them transparent to the right people. For many KPIs, that means your entire team.
Organizations with the most effective and reliable data typically choose a limited number of impactful KPIs and make them highly visible to employees.
This not only helps your team invest in the performance of the company, the team and the individual, but it also increases the chances that errors and discrepancies will be detected in your data. The most reliable data is posted on the dashboards.
9. Schedule regular maintenance
Maintaining the quality of data in your company is not a one-time job: it requires continuous maintenance, cleaning and optimization. If your company has a dedicated operations manager, part of their job role may be to monitor and optimize data quality. But in any case, it pays to make the integrity and literacy of all data part of your company’s DNA or part of the daily role of every team member.
This means creating foundations for data to flow into your organization and undergo regular cleaning, along with processes to troubleshoot and automate integration.
By optimizing data reliability, you can ensure that your business can receive the most accurate results and information from your database, both now and in the future, as data integrity continues to gain importance.
For the most reliable data, use HubSpot’s data integration software to connect your business tools and enrich your data in each application. With automated two-way syncs between apps, including your CRM and email marketing tool, you’ll be in the best position to comprehensively manage your data, perform regular health checks, and create an up-to-date 360-degree view of your customer data.