So you’ve decided to start using agri-data to drive your strategy, marketing and sales efforts. That means you’re probably looking for agri-data management software.
Having good software not only helps you organize, store and secure your data, but it also makes sure you get the most mileage out of that data.
Whether you’re using stacked file folders filled with paper records or Excel spreadsheets stored across multiple devices, old data management practices are hindering your ability to find, contact and sell to new and current customers.
You may be using a customer relationship management (CRM) system to store data. And that’s a great start. But there’s so much more potential to your data that you just can’t realize without the right software.
Here are five things to look for in agri-data management software to help you get the most out of it.
1. Reliable data
So technically, this first point has less to do with the software you’re using than the data you’re using it. But it’s important to talk about the data before we start to talk about the software.
The reason it’s so important is that your data management software isn’t going to do you any good without reliable data. Don’t expect to spend dollars on data management software and expect it to work miracles on your bad or incomplete data.
There’s a rule in data science: bad data won’t give you an error message, just bad results. If you input bad data, you’ll get bad results and bad insights. And you may not be able to tell that you’re insights are bad until you’ve already invested thousands of dollars in a marketing strategy.
So before you move on, use our Guide to Evaluating Agri-Data to see whether you need to invest in new data.
Now if you got a bad score on that guide, don’t worry. Some data management software – like Farm Market iD’s Farm Focus and FieldVision – will come with reliable data as a part of the application. So if you need new data and new software, consider Farm Market iD’s data-powered software to get the best of both worlds.
Now – on to what you need to look for in agri-data management software.
2. Drill down, filter & search capabilities
There are millions of farmers and hundreds of millions of farms in the U.S. – too much for any one person to sort through.
To put that in perspective – if you spent just one minute reading each of those records, and did that 24/7, it would take you 57 years to go through all of the data. To risk stating the obvious, you don’t have that kind of time on your hands.
So if you want to actually make use of U.S. farm data, your agri-data management software has to have drill down, search or filter capabilities to query the data and find the data you need in the moment.
Whether you’re drilling down by state and county, filtering by crop type or searching by current geographic location, your software should be able to find the data you need when you need it.
3. Data visualization
We’ve talked before about the benefits of data visualization – and how it helps you make sense of what your data is telling you. Because this is such an important part of data management, your software needs to help with data visualization.
This could take place in a variety of ways. Your software can plot out farm and grower locations on a map. It could create a graph showing crop yield year over year. Or it could call up a pie chart with a grower’s crop mix for a given year.
Having data visualization abilities within your software will help you start making sense of your data as soon as you upload it – and reduce the amount of work on your part.
4. Exportable Excel files & CRM integration
No matter what data management software you use, it won’t be able to do everything you want it to – and that’s ok! One of the recent trends in software-as-a-service (SaaS) is that few applications do everything, but the few things they do, they do exceptionally well.
So you’ll want to be able to export data from your data management software so you can access it elsewhere – either in an Excel file or upload into another application. Whether you’re uploading to your CRM, marketing automation software, social media marketing platform, etc., having this ability will help you better turn your data into actionable marketing and sales strategies.
And if your software integrates with your CRM directly, that’s even better.
5. Ability to leave notes and comments
Unless you’re a one-man shop, you’re not going to be using the software alone. Odds are, you’re going to have various team members using it as well.
Often, the team members accessing the data are going to spread across various departments. Business intelligence, marketing, sales and customer service team members are going to need to use the data for various reasons.
Having the ability to make notes and comments within the software will let each team member record their own insights, ideas and interactions with growers – and let you store those notes alongside the data.
Inter-team communication is important for integrated strategy, marketing & sales – and having the ability to share notes is instrumental in making that possible.