Maintaining accurate and up-to-date customer information is crucial for success. This is where Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems play a pivotal role. The problem is that when we interview sales teams, the number one issue they complain about is the quality of their CRM contacts. In many cases, the salesperson and their corresponding marketing team is responsible for selling to a major account - but they only have a handful of contacts in their CRM.
Sales Team Services works with a number of well-known technology companies to improve their customer knowledge. We run territory, account, and contact research, amongst other services. In this blog post, we will explore why it is essential to regularly cleanse your CRM data and provide a step-by-step guide on how to do it effectively.
Why CRM Contact Data Needs to Be Accurate
Accurate contact data is the foundation of effective customer relationship management. Ensuring that your CRM contact data is accurate is important for two very key reasons.
Improved customer communication: Accurate contact data enables you to effectively reach out to your customers through various channels such as email, phone calls, or direct mail. With accurate contact information, you can ensure that your messages are delivered successfully and reach the intended recipients. This, in turn, helps to foster better communication and engagement with your customers.
In too many cases, we find that marketing and sales communications are reaching the company - but those contacts are not relevant or have moved to different roles.
Personalized marketing efforts: Personalization is key to successful marketing campaigns. By having accurate contact data in your CRM system, you can segment your audience based on specific attributes or preferences. This allows you to tailor your marketing messages and offers to the individual needs and interests of your customers. Accurate contact data ensures that your personalization efforts are targeted and relevant, leading to higher response rates and customer engagement.
Common Data Quality Issues in CRM Systems
CRM systems can be susceptible to various data quality issues that can hinder the effectiveness and efficiency of customer management. Here are three common data quality issues in CRM systems and their impacts:
1. Duplicate contacts:
Duplicate entries occur when multiple records for the same contact exist in the CRM system. This issue can lead to several problems, including:
Confusion and inefficiency in lead management: Duplicate contacts can result in mismanagement of leads and opportunities. Sales reps and marketing teams may waste time contacting the same lead multiple times or even overlook potential opportunities due to the confusion caused by duplicates.
Inaccurate reporting and analytics: Duplicate records can skew data analysis and reporting, leading to incorrect insights and ineffective decision-making. This can impact forecasting accuracy and hinder the ability to identify trends or patterns accurately.
2. Outdated information:
Outdated customer contact data refers to contact details, preferences, or other relevant information that is no longer accurate or relevant. This issue can have the following negative impacts:
Risks associated with outdated contact details: Outdated phone numbers, addresses, or email addresses can result in failed communication attempts or wasted resources on returned mail and undelivered messages. This can lead to missed opportunities and impaired customer engagement.
Negative impact on personalized marketing efforts: Personalized marketing campaigns rely on accurate customer data for effective targeting and customization. Outdated information can result in irrelevant offers, misdirected campaigns, or ineffective personalization efforts, reducing the overall effectiveness of marketing endeavors.
Step-by-Step Guide to CRM Contact Data Cleansing
Improving CRM contact data quality and cleansing the records has a number of steps. We would recommend that the following process be followed:
Decide on the breadth of the cleanse
In many cases, it is easy to bite off more than you can chew. Our recommendation is to select a particular sector of your accounts and tackle those first. The preferred approach is to start with the most important companies that you need to ensure are sold and marketed to effectively - and work down the list.
Check for duplicates
Once we know which accounts we are looking to cleanse, the first step is to look for duplicates. Do we have contacts that appear many times in our system against the given account? If so, let's call these out and nominate the 'master' record.
Check the contact still exists
When we have a de-duplicated list of contacts, the hard work starts - this is where we need to check that those contacts are still at the company, and that they are still in the same role. A great place to start is using LinkedIn - it's almost always the definitive source. We run down the list and check each contact - where a job change has occurred, we note this down. Where they have changed companies, we take them out of the list and we ensure they are captured for changes in CRM.
Find new contacts
It is all well and good checking and cleansing the current data in the system, but the real gold is to add new contacts. Do not fall into the trap of buying data - this just compounds the problem and is the easy way out. The opportunity here is to use LinkedIn and other data sources to find your ideal buying personas and get those added. Our experience suggests that this is the real win - where we can bring tens of new contacts that may never have heard from us before, but who are in CRUCIAL roles.
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat.
We must then repeat this process for each of the accounts. It can take time - but can you imagine how much the sales and marketing communications will be improved - and how this will impact the pipeline?
Not only does this process make a tangible impact on the account that you are cleansing - but you will find that many contacts from this account are now in multiple other businesses on your CRM platform - and by improving the data in one account, it has a ripple effect across the whole environment.
Every sales and marketing leader knows that CRM contact data cleansing is vital - but all too often it is too difficult to solve and it is cascaded down the list of annual priorities. It is the worst thing that we can do. Regularly de-duplicating, checking contacts, and bringing new contacts into the system ensures that all the hard work from the marketing team is headed to the right contacts - those that can buy and influence future sales.
If you need help, Sales Team Services runs this particular CRM Contact Cleanse for a variety of businesses. We just need to know how many accounts that need to be cleansed and we will do the rest.