You’ve seen all the stats about how there’s more data now than ever, and how customers make enough of it each hour to build a bridge from here to Timbuktu or wherever (if not, here’s some). You’ve also heard that data changes rapidly, and the data you use or acquire for your business is likely to change very soon. The moral of the story: data is important to your business and requires some real, dedicated attention.

We’ve come up with an analogy that we hope helps you look at data in a different light, and gives you a structure for placing the appropriate emphasis on it. Think of your business as a building. Data is the building material, with different types or pieces of data that make up the foundation, the framing, plumbing, electrical, and other features of the house. Concrete, foundational data is the base of the business and keeps it from shifting or being swept away. Solid yet shapeable data provides the framework that supports the load of the business. Wires and pipes connect power and amenities from trusted sources. As in construction, whether starting from scratch or remodeling, it’s paramount that you start with a blueprint to make sure you’re using the correct materials in the right places and making the owner’s vision come to life.

To help you get on your way to having a dream business built with a focus on high-quality data, we offer a basic blueprint:

Data is Unified

You need to work toward a single, integrated view of customers and prospects across sales, marketing and the rest of the business. Look at it like getting your business all under the same roof, instead of spread out across town. Start by defining a corporate philosophy for the customer relationship and how it extends across the organization (and maybe even putting it down in writing). Think about how you can share critical data between different teams so you get a full view of the customer and prevent missed opportunities or disconnected customer engagement. Ultimately, figure out how you can make sure everyone is working from the same data.

Data is Clean

In building, you want a blueprint to be up to code that takes into account both the form and function of the structure. You don’t want missing information or gaps that could lead to danger and injury. So too, you need data that is clean and up-to-date. You should define data standards, and put processes and tools in place to make sure you meet them. Also, you should make sure data is as high quality as possible when it enters the system. It’s always easier to build it right the first time versus fixing it later. And duplicate records…? Those are like installing an extra door that opens to a wall.

Data is Enriched

If you’ve ever bought a house that needs updating or expansion as it ages, you know that a building’s original blueprints often need to be expanded. You have to approach your data strategy in a similar way—adding value by enriching your unified and clean customer profiles with additional details that show new space for growth or usage. Think about account information in particular. Add additional industry classifications, corporate relationships, predictive data, or other information specific to your business.

Learn more about recommendations and best practices for creating a data strategy blueprint in our e-book (co-written with the data experts at Dun & Bradstreet). Download it here »

You can also listen to our webinar on the topic here »