Proper Practices for CRM Data Management

Oct 21, 2019

Lost opportunities from ineffective CRM data management can cost companies a fortune. According to the IBM Big Data & Analytics Hub, bad data costs US businesses 3.1 trillion dollars a year. Every successful company utilizes Customer Relationship Management, more commonly referred to as CRM. An effective CRM software platform can increase efficiency and help ensure your marketing and sales teams have the necessary customer data at hand.

But, if the data compiled in your company’s CRM software is not utilized properly, it can prove to be a costly and inefficient use of time. CRM data management is crucial to a company’s optimal success, both in the short term and for long term growth.

In this article, we’ll take a look at exactly what CRM data management is and the proper practices for CRM data management. Then, you can be confident knowing your CRM data is working for you and not against you.

What Is CRM Data Management?

CRM data management is adequately organizing the necessary mass data on your company’s current customers and prospects, analyzing it, and using it for building optimal customer relationships. This data is vital to both the marketing and sales teams. Your CRM should provide the information on everything from the specific industry the prospect is in to the data on the potential decision-makers in the company. All of this information should be easy to reach without having to search through loads of unorganized mass data.

It is important to ensure that the data is 100% accurate, up-to-date, and as complete as possible. It is then organized for each customer and prospect in your CRM software. Having all of this information at a glance gives an in-depth 360-degree view of every profile in your customer database. This is the core of CRM data management.

CRM data management helps to analyze your customers’ history with your company. Done effectively, it can improve business relationships with your customers, increase long-term retention, and drive continued sales growth. Through it, you can create customized marketing programs, build winning sales cadences, optimize efficient sales routes, build profitable target territories and more.

CRM Data Management Is Crucial for Success

Companies generate data concerning its consumer base and prospects from numerous different sources. CRM software facilitates data management by tying all of that information together. This integration of data provides companies the valuable ability to communicate with customers on a customized one-on-one basis.

A larger return on investment and increased customer loyalty are direct results of utilizing personalized marketing efforts made possible by CRM data management. Without sufficient data management, unorganized mass data can quickly confound efforts to establish specific customer profiles. When the marketing team and sales reps don’t have integrated and organized customer data, they risk sending irrelevant communications, tarnishing your brand, and great opportunities falling through the cracks.

CRM data management is only useful when it’s done right. Users should follow CRM data management best practices. This ensures you are getting the most from your data and allowing it to work for you.

Proper CRM Data Management Practices

Ensure Your CRM Is Mobile Friendly

Increasing user adoption for company CRMs is one of the largest problems companies face. Looking at your CRM from the eye of the user is key. Especially for field sales reps, not being able to add and update data to your CRM on the go can be problematic.  This causes more instances of incomplete data and time wasted in the office having to go back into the CRM from a desktop.

If your company is utilizing a mobile friendly CRM you can count on more employees using it and more accurate data management.

“Look at your CRM through the lens of the salesperson. Consider how they’re going to conduct day-to-day business and what it will take for them to be successful.”

Randy Batson, Executive Director from EY

Operate With a Standard Data Management Process for All Teams

If a clear and detailed standard data management process is not laid out for all teams to utilize, you can count on your data quality being low. As detailed in a report by Harvard Business Review, one of the top complaints from employees about their leaders was a lack of clear direction. 57% of employees find that when it comes to administrative management tasks and assignments, leadership does a poor job providing clear directions. This includes data management.

Without standardized processes when it comes to your customer data, your company will run into out-of-date data, incorrect or missing data, and duplicate records. Streamline the capturing and storage of information in your CRM by establishing clearly defined user workflows and data management processes. Document these processes and make them readily available for all teams in a digital handbook or similar form.

To standardize processes you can:

  • Establish required fields on all critical business data when new contacts are being added
  • Use standardized CRM naming conventions
  • Create data entry and deduplication rules

It’s also important to make sure everyone understands the processes. You can utilize team training sessions to go through the digital handbook and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Ensure the Existing Data Is Clean and up to Date

10-25% of the typical B2B company’s CRM database of contact records has critical errors at any given time, according to SiriusDecisions. This number is often much higher. You also have to factor in the rate of companies changing and relocating, merging, expanding into other markets, going bankrupt, etc. Proper data management is crucial to ensure your company’s CRM data is clean and up to date.

Cleaning the existing data in your CRM is the most efficient way to start implementing proper CRM data management and ensuring it stays that way moving forward. There are several processes you can use to clean your existing data:

  • Filter the data – This will help zero in on records that are missing important data. You can filter the records for any whose email address or contact phone number equals “blank” for example. Then, you can filter that list by record owner to easily assign the data cleaning tasks to the appropriate team member.
  • Run exception reports – Run exception reports monthly once you start data cleaning. This will help uncover records that have missing or incomplete data.
  • Utilize bulk editing – Bulk editing groups of records will save a lot of time when your data cleaning is being done manually. For example, you can filter records by a certain sales status and then bulk edit those statuses if they need to change.
  • Merge or delete duplicates – Determine any instances of duplicate records. Filter those by the record owner and assign the task to the appropriate person to either merge the records or delete the duplicate. Sometimes merging two records will result in a complete record that does not need any further cleaning.

Validate and Enrich the Lead Data as It Comes In

Once you have cleaned your existing data, and even as that is being done, validating any new information coming in is very important. If you have potential customers submitting their information through your company’s website or other similar channels, it is not always going to come in clean and complete. Maintaining clean data in your CRM moving forward will help save time, money, and eliminate many headaches moving forward.

Validating and enriching the lead data as it comes in involves things like removing any fake data, adding missing data, and correcting false data. This is done manually or by utilizing an automated data cleansing tool that integrates with your CRM.

Automate as Much as You Can, Including CRM Data Entry

Automating data as it is entered into your CRM platform not only saves valuable time, especially for your sales reps, but also greatly increases the probability of maintaining clean and complete data in your system. CRM data automation will reduce the occurrence of inaccurate, missing, or duplicate data. It also ensures your data is up to date at any given time. Many leading CRM platforms have automation capabilities built in.

Reducing the time spent by your teams having to manually take care of administrative processes like CRM data entry ensures they are spending time where it matters most. Securing more new prospects and potential customers and selling to those prospects.

Wrapping It All Up

As you can see, effective CRM data management is what makes the difference between profitable opportunities falling through the cracks and lucrative long-term customer relationships. By utilizing the data management best practices above, you can ensure your marketing, sales, and management teams are armed with all the valuable information they could need to optimize the entire sales process and do it in a streamlined manner.

Personalized marketing campaigns aimed at specific prospects, efficient sales routes, and optimized sales funnels and sales processes are all made possible by sufficient CRM data management. Save your company money and ensure long-term growth by implementing optimized data management of the beneficial information held in your CRM platform.