By now, most senior managers and executives at expansion-stage companies are well aware of the value of properly implementing and managing CRM data. Outside of the obvious benefits (deeper customer intelligence, improved sales efficiency, etc.), a CRM can also help your business better coordinate customer engagement efforts across departments and deliver a better customer experience.
Of course, those benefits are only possible if the data housed in your CRM is clean, useful, and accurate.
As this post from ReadyContacts points out, CRM data isn’t an antique that appreciates in value over time. To the contrary, CRM data is actually a perishable asset that, left unattended, can diminish in value and, ultimately, hurt your business more than it helps it. In fact, according to a study by Gartner Research, poor data quality drains the average company of about $8.2 million annually in squandered resources, missed sales, and unrealized new opportunities.
Unfortunately, cleansing your CRM of outdated or irrelevant data isn’t as simple as dusting your blinds or washing your windows, but there are a handful of key things your business can do to perform a quick CRM spring cleaning.
1) Purge Useless Customer Information
In all likelihood, your CRM system contains customer entries that are generic, incomplete, or irrelevant to your sales strategy. Those entries might even be populated with seldom-used fields that simply take up space in your lead view and distract your salespeople from asking relevant questions.
Go through your CRM and delete all of that needless data. Doing so will eliminate the clutter and ensure that every single data point in your CRM is useful to at least one person in your company. In fact, as CRM Switch’s Charles Tatum points out in this post, this process might even reveal a few hidden treasures that you’d forgotten about.
2) De-duplicate Data
Whether you’re a CRM administrator or user, chances are high that you’ve had to deal with duplicate entries at some point. Eliminating these duplications from your CRM — or making sure they never occur in the first place — can be a headache if your CRM is not addressed in a systematic way, but it is possible.
To get started, check out this post on the OpenView blog, which shares some best practices for conducting manual de-duplication. To keep this from being a problem in the future, check out this post to learn about some preventative measures your business can put in place to keep your CRM perpetually void of duplicate entries.
3) Keep CRM Data Entries Simple
All too often, salespeople and lead generators make the mistake of thinking that the more fields, statuses, and activity types they include in a CRM entry, the better informed they’ll be. Unfortunately, the opposite is typically true.
If CRM entries are unnecessarily complex, they often cause confusion and lead to team members misusing the system. So, as you perform your CRM spring cleaning, keep an eye out for data fields that don’t really help your team enrich their customer interactions.
One Next Step Toward CRM Nirvana
While the three steps above will help you perform a quick cleanup of your CRM system, it’s unlikely that they’ll eliminate all clutter and waste.
To truly understand the depth of your dirty data and determine a strategy for cleaning it up, you’ll likely need to perform a more intense evaluation. A good place to start is this dirty data quiz from CRMDedpulication, which can help you assess where your company ranks on the spectrum of CRM cleanliness and develop a plan for fully eradicating bad data.
What tips do you have for managing CRM data? Let us know below in the comments.
Photo by: Michael Dolan