Data Has a Value; Contacts Are Priceless

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Customer Service
Customer Service
Although sales marketing executives continue to work toward contact valuation, the more important discipline is contact management.

Some contacts are simply worth more than others. The college friend who moved to Florida to become a golf pro, is a good contact. But he's not tied into a profitable network of contacts. When the VP of sales at your biggest client moves to your biggest competitor, your ability to produce revenue could be based in part, on tracking that contact. All contacts are not created equal.

If you're an executive at a reasonably enlightened and competitive company it's a safe bet that you insist on the best in customer value management, salesforce management, time management, data management and lead management.

Question: Do you insist on effective contact management?

You should. In the current business climate of social sharing, job hopping, upward mobility, open sourcing and cloud-based technology, and emails increasing exponentially from many different touchpoints, the need for businesspeople to manage professional and personal contact data is more important than ever.

According to WriteThat.Name internal data, 30 percent of corporate users report that their contact management is very demanding and very costly and 33 percent report that their address book is out of date or inaccurate. There is a whole new set of technologies available that can automatically update contact information and keep email addresses current. It is part of contact management. As contacts-both personal and business-become harder to manage, contact management deserves more attention. Data like customer value and lead scoring can have a set value.

Let's look first at how the current state got a little unruly. The average worker today stays at each of his or her jobs for 4.4 years, according to the most recent available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the expected tenure of the workforce's youngest employees is about half that. That means the contact database your company has, and your employees have, must keep pace with up to 20 job changes for everyone in it during their careers.

Most of these are traded by email. By the end of this year (according to the Radicati group) there will be 3.6 billion email addresses internationally. Most of the world's email traffic comes from the corporate world. In 2012, the number of businesses emails sent and received per day totalled 89 billion. This figure is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 13 percent over the next four years, reaching more than 143 billion by year-end 2016.

Although sales marketing executives continue to work toward contact valuation, the more important discipline is contact management. Sales and marketing people know this. But they haven't yet grasped the technology available and the importance of avoiding contact chaos through automation rather than manual updates. Your email and database may live in Salesforce, Gmail, and Outlook. Contact management must be automated across all three of these platforms to be effective.

The technology exists and has been improving consistently. How important is automated contact management? Gartner says it is "the lifeblood of CRM. Therefore, the development and maintenance of consistent, high-quality customer data is critical to CRM success." In fact, one Gartner survey respondent reported that data problems caused an $8 million loss in a single fiscal year.

Don't be that respondent. Pay attention to your priceless assets.

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION