I heard this the other day from a client’s customer that we were surveying on the client’s behalf. The statement made me go “huh”. He was specifically talking about how much information was in his ERP system that would make his company so much smarter if they could get at it. (My client’s product has helped him do that). But the more I thought about the statement, the more I realized how much it applies to so many aspects of a business.
Its not just the information locked away in the accounting system. Think about it. How much could you company know about its prospects if you could get the information from the head and notebooks of your sales people? (and don’t say CRM, because salespeople hate writing that all down). What about the knowledge your telemarketer has from all those phone calls that went no where? How about the product ideas and suggestions your customers have that would enable you to grow to new levels?
There is gold in that knowledge. You or your company needs a process to mine it. For the accounting data, that’s easy since there are good business intelligence tools out there that almost any small business can afford (disclosure: my client KPI Online is one of those vendors). But what about the sales people's intelligence. Your customer’s intelligence? What marketing processes do you have in place to make sure that it gets captured on a regular basis. Unstructured information is the lifeblood of most successful companies. If you can’t structure the data, you should at least structure the process to capture it.
Got any good ideas on this? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.