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The 3 Q’s of Data Management for Professional Services Firms

Team Managing Their Business DataAccording to the International Data Corporation (IDC), worldwide revenues for big data and analytics will reach $203 billion by 2020. Of the industries that are investing in big data and analytics solutions, professional and financial services firms are making the largest investments.

The increase of spending into big data and analytics solutions shows that today’s professional services firms understand the need for quality data and the impact poor data can have on their firm. One of the most common investments professional services firms make to collect their contact data is in a customer relationship management (CRM) system.

However, simply having a CRM system doesn’t guarantee your data is well maintained or useful for your business development team. In fact, studies have shown that 63% of all CRM projects fail. To make sure that your CRM and other big data and analytics investments house high-quality, accurate data, you need to follow the three Q’s of data management.

The 3 Qs of Data Management

#1 – Quality of Data

In today’s world of hyperconnectivity, the speed at which information and data changes is faster than ever before. The data you collect today won’t always be relevant tomorrow, bringing the quality of your data down. People move companies, job titles change with promotions, people move to new cities, email domains change, and the list goes on.

To combat this, professional services firms need a way to track and update information in real-time or risk data in their CRM becoming obsolete or irrelevant. However, no human being can keep up with the speed of change. Luckily, firms today have access to data automation and enrichment tools that historically weren’t available to the market.

Speed isn’t the only thing affecting data quality, though. There’s also human error leaving a mark on data quality, as shown in the following statistics from our CRM end user survey:

CRM end user survey

Between the speed of change and human error, the need for sophisticated automation is paramount to keeping data accurate. Solutions like Introhive offer ongoing automated data enrichment, data cleansing, and intelligent relationship mapping, so your professional services firm can spend more time focused on growing relationships and less time managing data.

#2 – Quantity of Data

Your business is run on relationships. Everyone in the professional services industry from attorneys and accounts to consultants and partners of firms leverage relationships to grow the firm. Your organization has a very large network, but do you actually have visibility into “who knows who” across your firm? Likely not.

For example, if your team has an average of 250 connections on LinkedIn and you have 500 employees, your organization has a relationship network of 125,000 contacts. And that’s just the contacts that are listed in LinkedIn. The challenge is that the vast majority of those contacts and relationships are invisible to companies today, limiting your organization’s potential to grow its relationship capital.

To unlock the full potential of your firm’s network, you need to find a way to document and analyze your firm’s network for valuable relationship intelligence. Our own Relationship Intelligence Automation platform, Introhive, automatically adds contacts to your CRM system from several areas, including emails, social media, calendar appointments, and other disparate sources. By mapping contact and account information automatically into CRM, your firm is maximizing its visibility into its global network of relationships without relying on individuals to contribute that information manually. In addition, relationship mapping helps your firm identify mutual connections, allowing you to leverage those connections for warm introductions at target accounts.

In some cases, firms are seeing 10 times database growth just by mapping contacts to CRM from email systems alone.

#3 – Qualification of Data

The Harvard Business Review recently found that the average number of stakeholders you need to target at a prospective company has risen from 5.4 to 6.8 people. Selling is not a one-to-one relationship, it’s a one-to-many relationship, and that “many” variable keeps growing. Purchasing decisions are made by a committee and that committee keeps expanding and the needs of different stakeholders are growing. To win new business today takes longer and requires a wider diversity of buyers from executive management, IT, vendor management, sales and marketing, accounting, and more to weigh in with approval.

With so many stakeholders to target on any given account, your professional services firm needs to build strong relationships with the key buyer but also all of the influencers. Without those relationships, your firm is at risk of losing business to other firms that have stronger relationship ties to the account. Relationships aren’t just imperative to new business development efforts. Keeping and retaining customers requires deeper and stronger relationships, as well. In order to grow account revenue, teams need greater insights into cross-sell and upsell opportunities and many times, those opportunities will include buyers that aren’t already known to your organization.

At the end of the day, developing strong business relationships with key individuals and increasing the depth of relationships across accounts will drive higher qualification of new business development efforts, spurring business growth.

More Than Just a Database

Data management is more than just maintaining your existing contact databases. While that is certainly a part of it, data management requires solutions that improve the quality, quantity, and qualification of your organization’s information. Better data management processes will enable your professional services firm’s CRM system to become more than just a database. I encourage you to explore Introhive’s CRM automation capabilities for your firm.

Find out how to improve your firm’s data management with Introhive’s CRM Automation Suite and data enrichment services by requesting a demo.