You know the story: Marketing and sales teams are notoriously pitted against one another. Marketing complains it doesn’t get enough feedback from Sales. Sales complains Marketing passes over bad leads. What’s a business to do? The answer lies in your customer data.
You don’t need more meetings between the teams to try and smooth things over. You just need to make sure the system you’re working with is efficient. A huge problem might be that your teams are working in disparate platforms. Your marketing team may be using Sharpspring to send out targeted email campaigns to help nurture prospects, while your sales team has another platform to help funnel leads through the sales pipeline.
If you’re not effectively managing your contacts across all of your business cloud apps, you can end up dealing with a huge mess. Duplicate entries and inaccurate data can really weigh your team down. Not only that, but communication becomes murky as each team works from a siloed platform. That’s why managing your contacts effectively is the key to running a smooth business.
Eliminate Customer Data Silos
If you’ve got your customer data scattered across several pieces of unconnected software, you’re working in the dreaded “data silo” zone. Data silos are one of the biggests causes of internal communication breakdown. They make reporting an absolute nightmare, and high-level decision making drops to a snail’s pace if data isn’t readily available.
Because of unclear communications, your sales, marketing and customer service teams start to turn against each other. A report from CapGemini found that if you want to remain competitive, you have to eliminate data silos: “Companies are realizing that current organizational structures and external relationships, all of which tend to be based around silos, make it very difficult to innovate in order to get and use insights from big data.”
The most effective way to combat data silos is to integrate your data to create one transparent tunnel through which data flows continuously. Your first step is to choose which app will serve as the central database.
You can either look for apps that natively integrate, or if you want more freedom, use a third-party syncing service, like PieSync, to sync your customer and lead details across your handpicked SaaS apps. Marketing can continue to use SharpSpring, and your sales team can choose a CRM that fits well with their way of working.
Syncing your data between Marketing and Sales will not only eliminate data silos – it also opens communication channels to ensure your teams are always on the same page about each and every customer and that they have access to the right data when they need it most.
Clean Your Customer Data
Once you have successfully integrated your customer data, you need to make sure it’s clean data. According to a report released by Experian Data Quality, 90% of businesses use their data to enhance customer and prospect experiences through targeting and personalization campaigns.
At the same time, however, 75% of organizations believe that inaccurate data is undermining their ability to provide a good customer experience.
Clean data is paramount for executing any marketing campaign, and it’s an essential basis for sales teams to operate well. There are three steps you need to take to ensure your data is clean (and therefore usable).
- Implement company-wide data entry standards. For instance, every customer has to have a first and last name. All new data has to be verified before it is entered into the system by checking that the customer isn’t already in the system, or that they’re not in the system under a different name or email address. This will prevent duplicates and future confusion. If your sales team has a customer under the name “Mike B.” but Marketing knows him as “Michael Brown,” you can be sure there will be an embarrassing moment or two down the line – whether it’s duplicate trigger emails being sent to that person or your customer service team having no clear view on what has gone on before. Save yourself this headache and standardize your data input.
- Clean your database of existing duplicates. Most CRMs have a tool to merge duplicate entries. If you use Google Contacts to store your customer data, there is a simple way to merge duplicates – take a look at our blog post here to find out how.
- Keep your data up to date by using parsing tools. Tools such as Evercontact continuously capture new contact information from email signatures and then create new contacts or update existing contacts in Google Contacts and Outlook, or CRMs such as Salesforce. The Chrome plug-in also allows you to grab contact information from webpages you visit. You can validate and reject the suggested changes, so you always remain in control.
A lot of businesses overlook the importance of implementing a scalable data integration plan. The hard reality is if you don’t give it any thought, you will soon be outpaced by your more nimble competitors. Stay ahead of the game, implement a data integration pan, and create streamlined data systems that allow you to take full advantage of the customer data you worked so hard to collect.
Learn more about how PieSync can keep your SharpSpring contacts in sync between your favorite cloud apps, two-way and in real time.