5 Ways to Improve Your CRM Data

One of the first well-publicized studies, by Gartner Group back in 2001 disclosed a CRM failure rate of 50 percent. A 2009 survey by Forrester found a failure rate of 47 percent. The classic challenge with CRM software adoption is getting users to involve themselves and actually use it. But what stops people from wanting to use CRM systems? CRM systems depend on data, but most of that data has to be input into the application by people who are not data entry employees. This data must not only be entered as it comes up, but more than likely, the user will be doing something else at the same time. These are real data quality problems that need to be solved.

Over time, the CRM system will become progressively less useful and users will give up on it. The data won’t be entered correctly or often enough for it to be useful and valuable. So, how do you improve your CRM data?

Employ Data Quality Managers

Better data translates into more effective prospect meetings, better lead nurturing campaigns, customer implementations, and product deliveries. The business benefits of data quality are reaped by everyone in the company. Data Quality Managers have responsibility for data, so instead of dispersed blame where no one is accountable, this forces a couple of individuals to take control. Accountability breeds results.

Provide Training and Personal Logins for Users

Track where your biggest problems are. If each user has a personal login, you may see which of your users is inputting data incorrectly. You may then choose to provide training to combat the problem thereby leading to higher quality data. It also lays more responsibility on those inputting data for the system. If their name is attached, they may be more careful.

Monitor Required Fields

Our default required fields include Last Name and Email Address. We don’t always capture the email address of a contact (they may call us), but it’s a useful starting point. Because it is a required field, we must put something in so we may have to enter dummy data. Other companies choose to include more rigorous qualification for input to the CRM. Ensure there are no “Fax Number” required fields included, if you’re going to be more thorough. This data is useless, but costs time when inputting contacts that do not have a fax number.

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Schedule Check Ups to Ensure Continuous Database Quality

A complete data quality strategy calls for regular database checkups to ensure old data is refreshed and the CRM continues to perform at a high level. Scheduling keeps the process regular, and allows those in control of the system (your Data Quality Managers) to take some time out and really focus on the task of cleaning and optimizing.

Gain C-Level Support for the CRM System

Your CRM needs investment and leadership to ensure its success. If your C-Level team are not on board, where will the motivation come from to make such a large scale implementation work? CRM systems are not just a tool. They are critical for forecasting, servicing and marketing. To ensure success:

Adapt the culture as you implement CRM.

Invest time into change management and make CRM a requirement.

Pilots for CRM systems are to work out the kinks, not to determine feasibility.

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