No matter how many articles are written about the critical importance of data to the functioning of a modern enterprise, it remains a fact that keeping critical data up-to-date is only a reality for a handful of well-heeled firms. The senior executives at these companies know that a small slip-up in understanding a prospective or existing customer’s business can make a relationship with that firm difficult to impossible and the size of these deals more than justifies the expense of constant diligence.
But what about the sea of middle managers working for the majority of firms? These are the folks traditionally served by industry-specific b-to-b media. They also frequently have a rat’s nest of data in their CRM systems, their deal sizes are smaller, and they have no budget or time to untangle the messes they inherit.
Enter the Chief Data Officer.
Never has this role been more important. Whether you prefer the metaphor of data as infrastructure or data as a raw material essential to decision-making, there’s no doubt that the person managing your data understands your pain and knows how to assuage it. It is also likely the CDO knows that a dollar spent on clean data yields several dollars in return and knows how to get at this ROI.
Since we work with so many CDOs, we have multiple examples of these ROI calculations here at IEI. Let me share a few scenarios with you.
How much is it worth to truly understand your market share? For less than $15K IEI was able to tell a major US clothing retailer the names of the vendors serving prospects who weren’t their customers, the contact info for purchasing managers at those prospects, and the names and contact information for emerging prospects. The project involved data harvesting, telephone verification, and a whole lot of data wrangling.
What is the value of knowing about new enterprises and operations in your core markets? These new entrants tend to buy everything at first, and the vendors who get in the door first can often have a long, profitable relationship with these firms. Monitoring public filings and news sources for thousands of firms costs less with each passing year, and a one-week edge on the competition may be an annuity that pays off for years to come. We’ve monitored drilling permits, professional licenses, EPA filings, IRS filings, and business news to find this data as soon as it breaks for a wide range of clients, usually for just dollars a day.
Where do my old customers go when they leave their firm? Businesses are increasingly realizing the value of following their happy customers to their new employers. Now a “cold call” is a happy reunion of partners with your old customer basking in the glow of their honeymoon period, when their budget requests are approved more often than not. The process of following and replacing customers in a CRM database or a subscription-based data service is merely a matter of some elbow grease and lean processes applied by a trusted vendor for around a dollar an update. Convert 2% of those updates and you’re probably way ahead of the game.
So when you read the latest report on “data is the next X,” please feel free to skip the hype and get back to basic question: Where are the clogs in my data supply chain that are keeping the revenue from flowing? And, who’s got the Drano?