Data Silos: using your data efficiently to power your business

Bridging the Gap between Sales and Marketing

21st August 2019

A lady I met recently (we will call her Linda) spends 3 days a month manually merging information from sales channels and the marketing department so that she can get answers for the management on simple things like ‘Where do our most successful leads come from?’ and ‘What is our average return on ad spend by customer segment?’. It’s not just a case of the right hand not talking to the left hand. In a world where big data and cloud technology are accessible to all, businesses that fail to embrace analytics may find that they are losing out.

It is no longer good enough to have the sales team work separately from the marketing team – each generating data from which they can work independently on a departmental level, but which may not align with, or confuse the business goals. In any business, from the sweet shop to the multinational conglomerate, the sales process delivers data -leads, brands, conversions, sales, returns, follow ups and so on. Likewise the marketing team have their own set of data – online activity, web, brochures, events, PR as a basic example.

They both have their own terminology – a ‘lead’ in sales may have different criteria from a ‘lead’ in marketing, what drives the ‘conversions’ in each department and so on. And of course, each set of data (or silo) stands separately, unless managed otherwise by Linda.

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It’s a bit of a minefield, and one in which some companies are more successful than others. Those that have a good CRM should capture all interactions on the customer journey and be able to make sense of it all for the business leaders. And if you don’t have the ability to track your sales then you cannot possibly predict buying behaviours, and if you cannot do that, then you don’t know what drives your customer. Why does the sweet shop sell one brand more over the months of July- September? How can the multinational conglomerate align its sales and marketing teams in a way that is both objective and scalable?

The information is all there, it just needs to be collated and collected in a digestible format.

As Christian Ofori-Boateng, co-founder and chief executive at ChristianStevenson Software wrote recently in an article for Forbes

‘The examples are many, but the big question you are probably asking yourself is this: How can data analytics help my organization? I’m glad you asked. If you want to capitalise on the data your business is generating and turn them into insights that drive growth, the first thing that you need to understand is that change will not come overnight.’

What will be needed is a culture change where sales, marketing and administrative departments all ask the same questions in the same way for the same business goals. But ultimately it saves human hours – and in Linda’s case, over a working month per year, where she could be employed doing something more profitable for the business.

When budget and time like Linda’s are limited, companies such as ei² who have a solid understanding of the top level goals, can employ diagnostic tools to assess the data silos – what works, what processes need to be transformed or eliminated, and how to identify new strategies and systems for advancing the customer journey and encouraging innovation and implementation.

From an updated CRM, to interactive Business Intelligence dashboards we can build a process where we remove unnecessary silos, show the relevant information on a regular accessible basis and merge any required information from the silos as part of the process. And because it is automated, it doesn’t pile the pressure on someone like Linda, and a happy employee is never bad for business…

Sarbani is the Managing Director of ei² niche consultancy for #data #insights #performance