SEMA News—December 2013
By Jon Wyly
Product data: If You Build It, Sales Will Come
Think of it as the selling Field of Dreams. Much like the enthralling Kevin Costner movie, it all starts with a lot of convincing, believing and perhaps a small leap of faith as you struggle to understand this challenging new requirement. This uncertain phase is followed by a period of ups and downs, ultimately creating some hard work that, at times, can feel like a hopelessly endless task. But man, oh, man: When you finally get to play, it’s suddenly all worth it!
In many cases, it’s about a change in culture at a company just like yours, where the entire team embraces the idea that information is power and data is an asset to be protected, grown and leveraged as a primary sales tool. It’s a continuing investment, a journey rather than an event, and it touches almost every department.
I can’t stress enough how an ongoing regimen of product data gathering, expanding and quality control is critical to the success of your business. Own the process, understand its importance and seek help when you get confused or sidetracked.
“...retail customers are making buying decisions daily based on the message conveyed by your product information.”
We are often told at the SEMA Data Co-op: “We just don’t have the time to manage our product data.” As a business owner or sales manager, would you as easily accept a buyer telling you that he or she didn’t have time to purchase raw materials or goods? Or a salesperson who said that he doesn’t have time to call on customers? Probably not, and I use those examples because they illustrate how fundamental good data management and ownership have become to successful business.
Your customers are counting on a supply of data to run their business systems; your own company needs data to manage a website, shipping systems and more; and retail customers are making buying decisions daily based on the message being conveyed by your product information. Worth repeating as well is the scenario that if you don’t provide good data to your customers, many will just do the work themselves. The net result might be some success, no thanks to you, but it is often accompanied by a loss of control of your marketing message that can create unhappy consumers, excess returns and other costly issues.
The answer? Own the process! Manage the data! Treat it as the valuable business asset it is. Turn its power loose, and grow your sales in today’s digitally driven marketplace. One of the characters in the Costner movie said: “We just don’t recognize life’s most significant moments while they’re happening.” Well, this is a significant moment for your business; don’t wait to see what happens.
To learn more about how you can take control of your product data and manage it at the lowest possible cost, contact SEMA Data Co-op Director of Membership Jim Graven at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-958-6698 x4.