Data Silos have become the “s-word” of B2B marketing for two reasons.
First and foremost, because they’re a genuine problem. Just by way of illustration, we’ve seen customers missing out on thousands of potentially valuable, qualified leads languishing in their own databases, because marketing or sales didn’t have access to it. That’s an incredibly frustrating missed opportunity — one which also often leads to unnecessary extra costs as Sales and/or Marketing buy more data instead of using what’s already sitting under their noses.
But the other reason B2B marketers don’t like hearing about “silos”, is because it’s one of those buzzwords that gets thrown around so much it just becomes painful to see it written (sorry). That’s because it’s becoming clear that no one really knows how to “de-silo” (is that a word?) our data, despite the many problems they pose being clear to all.
The problem is, in the vast majority of cases removing or “breaking down” silos just isn’t practical for any number, or all, of the following reasons:
1. It’s not possible
Try getting Sales to ditch their CRM, or convincing Marketing they don’t need their Marketing Automation Platform anymore. Exactly. These “silos” tend to be tools which — while far from perfect — work perfectly well on a day-to-day basis for the people using them. Imagine the disruption to a business organization of any size — let alone an enterprise-sized company — were someone to force everyone to migrate to a new “single source of truth,” whatever that might look like.
2. It’s not always desirable
These different data platforms actually perform different functions. That’s how things get silod in the first place; different departments needed to do different things with their data, and there’s no platform out there that can do it all.
3. Most importantly: It isn’t necessary!
It’s easy to see how the solution to “too many silos” could naturally appear to be “tear them down.” But what if we just connected them all instead? This is what SiriusDecisions refers to as “virtual integration”: applying an “incremental layer of technology” on top of your data to connect the dots and fill in the gaps.
The problem with the “silo” buzzword (apart from it being a buzzword) is that it conjures up images of vast physical warehouses storing physical produce or resources. But what we’re talking about (data) is entirely digital, and therefore far more mobile.
That’s the ideal we’ve always been working towards at Leadspace. A single source of truth doesn’t mean creating or adopting an entirely new platform to replace your existing “silos” — it means connecting what you already have, filling in the data gaps where necessary, and providing intelligence that’s relevant and actionable to all parties.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a particularly powerful enabler for this, due to its ability to process and — more importantly from a practical perspective — translate such vast quantities of raw data into useful intelligence.
Another part of the solution is less technological, and more organizational and logistical. A survey Leadspace sponsored last year revealed that most B2B marketers believe their martech stacks aren’t being built holistically or strategically, and are therefore encountering major problems such as lack of integration in particular — a problem which is typically most acute in relation to data and unintegrated databases.
A list of recommendations published by the Marketing Technology Industry Council, which carried out the initial survey as well, offers some relatively simple steps towards rectifying this problem.
Your “single source of truth” is hiding in plain sight
Finding a genuine single source of truth has mostly eluded B2B marketers and salespeople until now, primarily because what they were looking for doesn’t exist — and can’t exist. It simply isn’t practical to store all your company’s data in a single place and still run an agile, versatile, successful business.
But as the rise of practical AI marketing technologies enables us to finally get to grips with our data, it’s becoming increasingly clear that business can create their own single source of truth with the tools they already have.
Download our free white paper to discover how more than 130 leading B2B companies are doing just that:
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