CRM and data: it’s the quality that matters! There is little point having a CRM system filled with data if it is neither structured nor up to date; a subject however too often overlooked by companies launching a CRM project. The CRM system may have the best ergonomics, the most beautiful design but if it is filled with data of poor quality, the engine will quickly seize. Marketing campaigns will not meet the desired KPIs if the quality of data isn’t up to scratch, it’ll result in poor targeting and the ROI will suffer. Not to mention the disillusionment of the employees if they’re pushed to use a tool that’s ineffective.
It’s not unusual for customers and identical prospects to be entered into Excel files by different salespeople which end up as duplicate data. There is work that can be done to recover, centralize and update them. ‘Cleaning’ and updating projects can be done in-house or by organisations that specialise in this matter, this is essential in ensuring there are no duplicates and outdated information in your CRM system. This should be done regularly to keep your CRM data useful for sales and marketing.
Once you’ve managed to ‘clean’ your CRM data, the task still remains to keep on top of your data. There are some quick fixes for this. Firstly, set your CRM system to alert you if identical data is entered into the database, this way you can keep your data clean. Secondly use proactive tools that regularly update data for anomalies. This involves choosing relevant criteria for recognition of a duplicate, for B2C this is generally email addresses and mobile phone numbers and for B2B this is usually surname, first name, function in the company or even customer number.
CRM systems do not do the job on its own but marries an ecosystem that also must have good quality data. Choose a ‘master’ system that is trustworthy with up to date data, this will then feed all other systems. For example, your businesses billing tool is likely to have the most up-to-date information to serve CRM well.
If you think your CRM system might be clogged with duplicates or obsolete data then maybe it’s time to lead a Master Data Management project (ideally upstream of a CRM project). This can clean the CRM data and ensure all systems are communicating effectively.
The Objective: Verify the data, improve it and keep only the most accurate on all systems.
The Goal: A unique and reliable base that will fuel CRM.
A very attractive option could be a recently developed platform by Microsoft (Common data service and Common data model) that facilitate connections between systems (including competitors), then work on the data.
Proof that the quality of the data is essential in maintaining a good customer relationship!