A definition of data management

Today, it is not uncommon to hear companies talk about data management.

But what exactly does it mean? What are its benefits for companies operating in the B2B arena? What tools enable these benefits to be achieved?

We will look at this together in this article, but first let’s start with a definition of data management.

The term indicates the collection of data, its storage, processing and use for the purpose of creating value for an organization.

Data management is therefore a strategic activity, consisting of several phases. It involves the continuous definition, execution and revision of business processes based on the data and IT resources used at any given time.

The principle also applies to B2B companies: their daily activities produce a myriad of information that must be managed on the basis of specific procedures.

That is why data management requires careful planning and the right tools. Before we look at what these tools are, let us look in more detail at the advantages of a data management strategy for a B2B company.

Data management B2B | Immagine di un data center che contiene enormi moli di dati utilizzabili a scopi di businessIl data management nelle aziende B2B: i vantaggi

Il data management rappresenta in primis un principio da applicare a ogni ambito dell’operatività.

Ufficio acquisti, vendite, marketing, direzione generale e non solo: tutti i dipartimenti aziendali producono, immagazzinano e trasferiscono quantità più o meno ampie di dati.

Il quantitativo è ovviamente cresciuto a dismisura negli ultimi vent’anni con lo sviluppo delle tecnologie digitali e di Internet.

Anche le piccole e medie imprese B2B, seppur con maggiore ritardo rispetto alle altre organizzazioni, si sono inserite in questo trend.

I vantaggi di una strategia di data management sono numerosi; eccone alcuni:

  • Maggiore efficienza: disporre di dati verificati permette di razionalizzare l’operatività attraverso scelte certe.
  • Possibilità di anticipare problematiche: i modelli previsionali alimentati dai dati permettono di stimare l’insorgere di possibili rischi (es. blocchi della produzione).
  • Livelli di trasparenza più alti: i sistemi di analisi e gestione dei dati permettono di comprendere più facilmente ruoli, responsabilità e azioni compiute dal personale.
  • Riduzione degli sprechi: la valorizzazione dei dati permette di sfruttare al massimo capitali e tempo a disposizione, riducendo i margini di errore e gli sprechi di risorse.
  • Ottimizzazione della collaborazione dentro e fuori l’azienda: informazioni gestite correttamente e presentate con chiarezza agevolano la comunicazione e i processi decisionali che coinvolgono gli stakeholder dell’organizzazione.

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Strumenti per il data management B2B | Interfaccia di un CRM su un laptop utilizzato da due commerciali all'interno di un'azienda | Dettaglio delle mani e della scrivania con il PCTools for B2B data management

But which tools can help achieve these advantages? Let us look at them with a few examples.

The acronym CRM (Customer Relationship Management) indicates a set of applications with which to analyse, manage and optimize relationships with customers, current or potential. These solutions make it possible to collect information from a multitude of channels, reorganize it and make it available to company departments in order to develop new strategies.

They are collaborative tools that require the development of a vision based on the integration of data in decision-making processes.

Today, data management based on the use of CRM software is especially crucial for marketing and sales functions. Why?

Because this approach makes it possible to monitor results in real time and take the necessary actions to optimize them.

In addition, these software packages make it possible to build real Customer Data Platforms (CDP), containing a complete overview of customer companies.

But let’s take a closer look at what this is all about with an example.

The marketing department of a company producing valves for the oil & gas industry wants to promote a new line of automated valves.

For this purpose, a DEM campaign is implemented aimed at two different targets: on the one hand, companies that are already customers, and on the other hand, leads obtained through a platform for the identification of new business partners.

With regard to the first target, the goal is to upsell the already existing customer portfolio; in the second case, it is to establish a new relationship with foreign companies never contacted before.

In order for the operation to be implemented, it is necessary for the marketing and sales departments to use the CRM correctly.

Indeed, it will be necessary that the data within it is up-to-date, including companies that have already purchased valves similar to those to which the next e-mail marketing campaign is dedicated.

Likewise, it is necessary to have in it the contacts of new potential customers, segmented on the basis of parameters such as turnover and sector.

It is therefore necessary to define standard data management procedures with which to make the most of the available information, making sure to use only that which is really useful.

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Managing data in the right way allows you to feed your CRM with correct information, so that you can optimize your activities.

Here are some B2B data management procedures that can help.

  • Use reliable sources of information: where do we get the data for our strategy? Which channels are really important for us? Depending on the sector, size and expertise of the company, the sources that can be used also vary.
  • Regularly update the data entered into your systems: is the information on our customers correct? Are any of these companies no longer active? Have the contracts closed in the last quarter been entered? These are just some of the questions to be answered in order to have an up-to-date CRM.
  • Define roles and responsibilities for data management: who is in charge of monitoring and verifying the data entered? What procedures should be adopted in the event of anomalies, and to whom should they be reported? Knowing these elements makes it possible to avoid errors that could compromise business strategies.
  • Perform data cleaning and periodic updates: this allows incorrect or duplicate data to be removed and missing information to be completed.
  • Enrich your data: existing data is not enough for a company that aims to grow; that is why it is necessary to enrich it, using reliable tools.

Let us return to the example of the valve company to understand how these procedures can be implemented in B2B and to whom the different activities should be assigned.

The sources used to retrieve data are wide-ranging, going from social media such as LinkedIn to digital advertising platforms like Google Ads that allow campaigns to be set up targeting specific segments of companies.

The company’s marketing department handles the management of these campaigns and the allocation of leads to salespeople within the company’s CRM.

On a daily basis, it is the salespeople themselves who have to update the CRM, entering the closed contracts, products purchased by customers, information on decision makers and changes in their contacts (names, e-mails and telephone numbers).

The marketing department is also responsible for the periodic cleaning of the CRM: this involves detecting any duplicate companies or missing information and reporting it to the responsible sales staff.

Finally, both departments have the possibility of enriching the information contained in the CRM by expanding the information obtained with the traditional B2B lead generation tools mentioned above.  Matchplat Explore is the ideal platform for this purpose, combining a database with more than 400 million companies worldwide and AI algorithms to automatically analyse their online data and find new business partners within minutes.

All these activities apply to customer management, but as mentioned, they must also be carried out by other company departments.

To manage operational risks such as supply interruptions, purchasing departments can, for instance, develop databases of alternative suppliers and update them periodically.

Conclusions

We have seen what is meant by data management, and how this concept encompasses very different activities.

It ranges from the definition of goals related to the use of data to the operations put in place to achieve them, through the adoption of specific tools, the monitoring of results and the revision of processes.

The common thread between these elements is leveraging data itself, in order to create value for the organization, its customers and more generally all its stakeholders.

Exploiting the myriad of data available today also offers B2B companies considerable advantages: greater transparency of processes, more efficiency and safer decisions.

To fully exploit the potential of data management, however, it is necessary for the company to define procedures and roles with which to optimize the use of software such as CRM.

Indeed, these tools have enormous benefits, allowing all customer data to be tracked, stored, segmented and managed, automating sales and marketing operations.

However, CRMs must contain reliable data: this is why the personnel in charge must update the information periodically, enriching it with the contacts of new potential customers and more.

Indeed, data management must be adopted by all company departments; those in charge of procurement can, for example, build up databases of alternative suppliers to deal with possible supply bottlenecks.

The objective remains the same: to simplify business growth by taking full advantage of digital technologies and putting order in the mass of information accessible today.