In the wake of the pandemic, which disrupted and digitised business operations like never before, ways of working have changed dramatically.
Research commissioned by Dun & Bradstreet, the leading global provider of business decisioning data and analytics, has found that over half (53%) of business leaders admit that data will become more important than personal business relationships in the future, and that two-thirds believe more accurate (66%) and complete (65%) data is needed to convert sales opportunities.
The findings, published in Dun & Bradstreet’s Future of Data report which surveyed 1,700 business decision makers across Europe, reveal a concern around data quality and its impact on their organisation. The results show that the most important business priority for organisations following Covid-19 is customer retention (40%).
However, due to a lack of data quality, organisations believe they will have an inability to convert new customers (27%) or retain current customers (25%). What’s more, poor data quality and management is making it a challenge for organisations to find new customers (22%) and maintain accurate data on existing customers (20%).
This lack of accurate and quality data is having a serious impact on businesses, with a lack of data or inaccurate information about customers or suppliers leading to a fifth (19%) of European businesses failing to sign a new contract with a customer and a similar number even losing a customer (18%).
“Sales and marketing teams are under more pressure than ever. Supply chain issues are exacerbating perennial problems, like having up-to-date information on customers. It’s never been more important for businesses to ensure they are equipped with the best quality data to help them identify new customers and retain existing ones,” said Susan McKay, International CMO at Dun & Bradstreet. “Businesses cannot afford to put a foot wrong with prospects. It’s imperative they have access to the right data, expertise and resources to reach prospects in a timely manner, with relevant services, and serving customers with solutions fit for purpose.”
Investing in a data strategy and expertise
To ensure that data quality is improved, businesses must invest in their data strategy. On a positive note, almost two-thirds (63%) believe their business leadership understands the importance and potential of data, with 60% prepared to democratise data (i.e. make it more widely accessible for employees) for better decision-making and flexibility.
Another solution that organisations are turning to is obtaining external support to help improve their data quality. According to respondents, drawing on more third-party data could enable their organisation to both help current customers (62%) and win more business (60%).
Despite the challenges facing sales and marketing teams, effective data management data also has much promise for improving their operations. The majority believe that having access to more data can support revenue generation (69%), and that effective data management can be a competitive advantage (73%). Finally, 62% believe automating receivables will be important in understanding insights on payments (e.g. understanding cash flow and pending payments).
McKay continued: “For all the talk about ‘big data’, business leaders are still struggling with data practices and management, and nowhere is this felt more acutely than in sales and marketing teams. Turning to a trusted partner can be hugely valuable, to create best-in-class propositions which meet complete the “bigger picture” for their prospects and customers. With the economy looking increasingly uncertain during the second half of the year, effective data practices are a must for any business that wants to insulate itself from negative external market forces.”