How to Manage Data for a Small Business


  • Data management is important for improved sales and customer relations, and can save businesses time and money.
  • You should identify your business and sales goals to effectively implement data management processes. 
  • CRM and automation tools increase efficiency and productivity while organizing customer data.
  • This article is for business owners looking to improve data management processes.

As a small business, you generate a lot of data with every customer. This data ideally informs trends, future prospects and workflow. However, these reports are only as good as your data and data management. 

By investing in data management processes and tools, you’ll make your data work more efficiently, saving your business time and money. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of good data management and ways to increase productivity.

Why is data management important?

It can be difficult to adequately analyze sales data to find trends, marketing avenues or workflow remedies when customer data and information is a mess. Bad data, or inaccurate records, can also cost a small business a lot of time and money. Ensuring up-to-date information is important for many reasons.

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1. Lowered costs and better productivity

An IBM study estimated that bad data management cost the U.S. economy $3.1 trillion due to overall lowered employee productivity and costs associated with data maintenance. 

More specifically, about 50% of an employee’s time is wasted searching for data, correcting errors, or double-checking untrustworthy data sources. This wasted time is compounded as employees begin to correct the errors they find. If you fail to alert data managers and neglect the root causes of such errors, you create redundancies and severely limit productivity.

2. Improved prospect data for sales

Data can be a useful tool in predicting leads for sales and marketing trends. When you have bad data, it can be difficult to trust any sales analysis outcome. This can lead sales teams, analysts or managers to rely on arbitrary benchmarks when finding prospective customers. 

In a survey conducted by SnapLogic, 77% of decision-makers and data managers said they do not trust their business’s data, while 82% said they had to modify projects due to inadequate data quality. A clean database can mitigate the guesswork and inform marketing and sales strategies to more efficiently reach new customers. 

3. Better customer relations

When a customer is upset because a product was delivered to the wrong address or becomes frustrated at having to provide sensitive information more than once, it can hurt your business. 

Misguided marketing strategies based on inadequate data can lead to irrelevant or incorrect communication with customers, negatively affecting your relationship with them and costing your business money. 

Key TakeawayKey takeaway: Well-managed data can improve your sales prospects and customer relations, and saves your business significant time and money.

Processes to implement for a clean database

A database riddled with issues can seem daunting to overcome, but there are ways to ensure your data is as clean as possible so your business can operate more efficiently.

1. Get departments on the same page.

Often the biggest drain on productivity is a disconnect on data uses and goals between company departments. One of the easiest ways to improve data management is to ensure all areas within your business understand how certain data sets are to be used.

Making sure the data managers know how the sales team intends to use the information can better inform the process from the beginning stages. This mitigates any irrelevant data and facilitates overall trust in data reports and analysis.

2. Focus on new data creation.

While it might be tempting to go through existing data to fix any errors, that wouldn’t ultimately add value to your business, and would only cost you time and money. This approach also fails to address the root causes of why the data is incorrect, and will eventually land you back where you started.

It is much easier to improve data in the long run by implementing processes for new information that the whole company follows. By analyzing the root causes of existing bad data, you can find ways to better input information that is relevant to your sales and analytic goals.

3. Adopt CRM software and automation.

You may have content management software (CMS) that organizes customer data in a searchable system; however, it may be more cost effective and efficient to adopt customer relations management (CRM) software. CRMs not only keep track of customer data, they also feature versatile business tools that aid in areas such as lead management, sales funnels and CRM workflows.

CRMs also offer artificial intelligence (AI) components that automate areas susceptible to human error. Here are five of the most popular automated tools featured in most CRM software:

Tool type Description
Robotic process automation (RPA) Automates repetitive and routine tasks by imitating human interaction at high speeds
Machine learning Provides patterns and trends by holistically examining customer data
Smart workflow Manages the integration of tasks performed by both humans and machines, and provides statistical data on inefficiencies in process
Natural language processing Translates complicated data into understandable formats for reporting
Cognitive agents Virtual agents that learn from data to provide customer service or employee support

A clear understanding of what your business and sales goals are, as well as the root causes of inadequate data, will help you find the automation tools that will be most effective for your company.

TipTip: Identify exactly what your business and sales goals are before implementing any data processes, including CRM systems and automation tools.

Understanding your CRM options

Of course, CRM and automation tools are not magical remedies for bad data. The best CRM software offers multifaceted tools to aid in your business’s productivity and profits. 

Here are some tips to navigate the world of CRM systems and choose the right CRM for your business needs:

Bad or inadequate data has significant implications for your overall business operations. However, by implementing a few processes and tools, including CRM software, you can increase efficiency, productivity and profits.



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