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Why Are We Convinced New Fields Will Solve Our Data Gap Issues?

Updated: Apr 13, 2019

SaaStr is one of may favorite podcasts and I listen whenever I have time. Recently I was listening to Dan Reich, Founder and CEO at talk about how sales leaders often have an assumption of what the sales team is doing but it often is not the case. This is not a ding by the way!

But he went on to mention sales productivity and having the ability to focus on the sale and the sale alone which made me think of a common scenario I have experienced in every single company I have ever worked for.

So what is it?

The creation of new fields and the expectation for sales to populate these fields with the information we, as marketers, need to build reports and dashboards. Not cool my friends. Not cool.

Why do I not agree with this?

I absolutely hate having to tell the sales team that they need to fill in a new field, check another box or go back and update everything. I can talk and talk about how this will improve my data which will help me make better decisions to give them better leads but it doesn't stick. Regardless of how many head nods you are earning, there is going to be some major push back at some point.

In addition, I now have another field to worry about. You all know I love data but when you start making field after field after field, your data becomes a straight up mess. Information can start to become disjointed and contradictory. And you may have a big project on your hands cleaning it all up.

How do we get the data we need without making a new field every time we see a gap?

Use automation wherever you can. What data do you need? Is it completely invisible and not captured anywhere or can it be captured by incorporating an automated formula field or drop-down? If you need to create a new field, don't include it on the layout to confuse sales (unless they want to see it) and automate the population of the data every single chance you get.

Look at all your sources of data. What do you have access to beyond the tools your Sales team uses? Do you have a marketing automation solution to capture data? Perhaps you can start incorporating progressive profiling in forms. Perhaps you can conduct a survey of customers or prospects? Get creative on how you can acquire the data without asking your sales team to do one more thing that will take them away from selling.

Do you really need it?

Ask yourself and the team what would happen if you did not have the data point? Is it critical to the business's ability to generate pipeline? Is it going to be instrumental in how you allocate your budget moving forward?

TIP: If you have Salesforce as your CRM, get the Field Trip app in the Appxchange (it's free) and use it. You will be shocked by how many fields are in your system that are not even being used or you didn't know even existed.

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