In a time of economic instability, data could be the backbone to a successful business if sales executives can convince their organisation to believe in its power. Up-to-date databases can help businesses convert more leads, increase sales, and save time and money. This is according to Database 360 MD, Louise Robinson.

Even though the effective use of data is being hailed worldwide as the reason for overall business success, sales executives are still facing a myriad of problems trying to convince management to invest in this vital data. They continue to bang their heads on their desks in frustration that while they recognise the importance of data, the rest of their business does not.
“Using data effectively leads to successful business results and especially in an unstable economy, customer databases will become a priority for many businesses looking to boost sales revenues. In a competitive market, the success of a business is not just measured by selling more, but by gaining market share from competitor brands,” she says.
"Data is like a grudge purchase and people hate buying it. It is like insurance; without databases your sales revenue cannot grow. Spamming the same old database and hoping that someone will purchase your product is not a wise decision. You must continuously analyse, work clever and spend money to make money.
“While some bemoan the lack of enthusiasm for data across the business, others are frustrated that the investment in it has been made, but that employees can’t be bothered to spend the time making effective use of their investment. Many companies have databases, but their people are reluctant to use it as data entry is time consuming,” she explains.
Sales people and marketers have a job on their hands convincing their organisations that good data makes good business sense. What is clear from many survey results is that data can be proven to be a safe marketing investment, so convincing the board that more money should be spent in this area shouldn’t be such a challenge.
Data is rarely used to its best effect within businesses; it is being used tactically for campaign planning, but not strategically. Many companies do not have the expertise to integrate all of their data to enable them to do this. This is one of the major priorities for businesses this year, and it is imperative to get this right to get ahead of the competition.
“It is encouraging to see in a recent survey that marketers do rate data as an effective business tool, with almost 70% believing that their customer database provides a good return on investment compared with other marketing investments. Marketers are going to find this increasingly the case as channels that have traditionally been considered, become obsolete.
"Many businesses have a long way to go in terms of using their customer databases on a strategic level. It’s interesting to note from the survey that improving the quality of data is the top priority for 2011. Businesses need to get this right in order to start thinking about data more strategically across the business.
“Marketers who are struggling to invest their budget in improving their customer database should really reconsider their budget allocation this year, as it really can be the lifeblood of an organisation,” stresses Robinson.