Data Stewardship postfour key areas of focus that when managed intentionally lead to a solid data stewardship environment. We also created a “Data Stewardship Checklist” that can provide structure to assist in creating and maintaining the missing link. Click here to get the checklist.
Today we’ll focus on arguably the simplest of the four key focus areas related to Data Stewardship, which is also the one that most often gets overlooked. In order to be successful in this effort you need to put someone in charge of it and create an understanding of its importance. This involves four components:
There is always inherent value in clarity. A foundational success factor is to clearly define your purpose for data management and quality. Explain why it’s important. This seems elementary, but clarity of purpose should never be implied.
Create a practical connection between data and your desired outcomes. You can do this by outlining the critical decisions that are made based on data. Create a data map indicating the data flow from data collection to making that critical decision. Use practical examples of data quality variation and show how it leads to lower quality strategic and operational decisions. Show your commitment to data stewardship by confidently including it in your organizational fabric. Invite debate about the program design and the processes involved. Build data ownership into both your operational processes and improvement projects as a rule.
In order to be successful, someone needs to be accountable. This does not imply that Data Stewardship is a one-person effort – quite the contrary. While every person, process and system that collects and manages information in your organization plays a role in data stewardship, the assignment of someone to the overall accountability of a data stewardship program is critical. This ensures focus and attention to the overall effort. It also allows for a much higher level of consistency in both data accuracy and process efficiency.
As part of defining accountability, be clear about the role each person plays. Define the specific activities to assist people, processes and systems in creating a higher quality data environment. Outline peoples’ role in managing data prioritization, data quality definitions and process improvement. Allow each role to manage data improvement projects. Position each data owner in the organization as a resource to assist people in both data collection and data management roles as well as decision makers to be more effective and confident in the information they use.
Demonstrate that you are dedicated to data quality by committing resources to support improving processes. Fix your data problem at its source or appropriate process point, not as an audit-based correction. While inspections and audits always play a part in a data stewardship program, focusing on designing quality processes should dramatically reduce the need for audit. Implement automated data analysis tools to assist you in catching abnormalities and incomplete data. Do simple things like designing targeted, exception-only based action lists so your team only has to act on high value data.
Make data quality and data stewardship a part of your leadership mantra. Talk about it, set expectations, plan improvement and measure results. Stick with your vision that you define for your data priorities and your definition of the “right” level of data quality. Prove its importance by making improvements that move you toward the goal. Show and celebrate how the process improvements are benefiting the organization and your team. Importantly, only make a big deal about data quality in areas that warrant the attention. Make a plan and follow the plan – if is it has been defined as critical, treat it appropriately.
Your sales team has mastered the pipeline and opportunity management portion of your new CRM solution and sales have been on a steady increase for an extended period of time. Until recently. Sales have flat-lined with a very real fear they may actually start to show a downward trend. Worse yet, the marketing and sales teams are at odds with one another as to how to solve the problem. Apparently, in an attempt to keep up with the Sales team, Marketing has been flooding the sales pipeline with, shall we say, less than high quality leads. Marketing is frustrated that the Sales team is ignoring hot leads while the Sales team has all but given up trying to figure out which leads are worth following up on!
Let’s take a moment to review the events that may have led to the above scenario.
A number of organizations implement a CRM solution due to the growing pains that often follow increased sales and the subsequent demands it puts on the sales and support teams. At some point in time, without streamlining and scaling the sales process, the stress and strain of the sales volume can bring a team to its knees. An effective CRM solution can bring standardization, automation and increased visibility to the sales process which in turn can relieve many of the pain points and permit the sales team to focus their energies once again on closing sales.
The result? A new pain point; the Sales team needs more qualified leads, and the Marketing team needs a more effective way to nurture and qualify leads for the Sales team. If only there was a “CRM” for Marketing.
Enter Automated Marketing!
What’s the next step to improving the management of your sales prospects and increasing your lead conversion ratio? Streamlining and standardizing your marketing processes should be your next step to increasing not only the number of leads in your sales pipeline, but the efficiency of nurturing and the quality of those leads as well.
Automated marketing techniques have been around since the ‘80’s. The simple task of automatically inserting a name on an envelope or letter was one of the first, of many, mundane tasks a marketing automation tool performed. Today’s automated marketing tools do so much more than personalize communications. Wouldn’t you like to know that your emails are being opened? Or who is visiting your website, how often they visit, what they look at and how often?
Per our DPT mantra, before you focus on the tools you need to develop your Marketing Automation processes and strategy before defining which tool is the best part of your overall CRM strategy. Whatever Marketing Automation tool you use, your processes and strategies need to be integrated into your CRM strategy to enable your Sales and Marketing teams to work more effectively together.
Common functions include:
Much in the same way that your CRM has improved the effectiveness of your Sales team, Marketing Automation strategies and processes can help your Marketing team focus their efforts on nurturing a warm lead into a hot lead that any Sales team would love to follow-up on and close!
Your new information system is in, the staff has been trained and are confident in the process. The painstaking data cleansing and migration effort is barely a faint memory. Everyone breathes a huge sigh of relief and is eager to charge forward and not look back. Now fast forward just a few weeks or months... and you are asking why your data quality challenge already seems like such a huge mountain to climb.
It may start with one of the following pain points...
If this feels familiar, read on before genuine panic sets in. This may not be a system problem at all. It may, however, be the result of lack of discipline and business purpose relative to your data management processes.
Many organizations put new systems or different processes in place in an effort to better manage organizational relationships, processes and information. The problem is that while we have been adequately trained to be good stewards of the time and financial resources at our disposal, we often forget that data needs the same care and focus. The unavoidable buzz around “Big Data”, “BI” and analytics-based decision making create an illusion of simplicity. The fact that today’s systems and database environments can easily and inexpensively store vast amounts of data creates a desire for more information. This desire needs to be carefully and intentionally managed from end to end. Make sure you have a data stewardship plan as part of your ongoing system and process management discipline.
In our experience, there are four key areas of focus that when managed intentionally lead to a solid data stewardship environment. We have created a “Data Stewardship Checklist” that can provide structure to assist in creating and maintaining the missing link. Click here to get the checklist.
As part of our ongoing Data Stewardship blog series, we’ll dive into the major areas of data management that you should focus on. Here’s a preview of what’s to come on our blog:
This is the core component of data stewardship. This involves assigning and communicating data ownership and accountability.
It is critical to define and communicate the relative business value of data and establish processes accordingly.
Is perfection always the goal for every data element you collect? While one could argue that you are always better off having higher quality data, you need to measure the cost of perfection.
Once you have a handle on all the other topics, you need to make data stewardship part of the fabric of your organization through active engagement and appropriate metrics.
Want to see more detail on how to get started? Download the Data Stewardship Checklist, and sign up to get email updates from the Data Stewardship blog series where you’ll receive more information about organizing and maintaining your data assets. We’ll send you subsequent emails for each of the data stewardship areas outlined above.