Are You Feeding Your CRM Dirty Data?

Let’s face it, the majority of CRM software implementation projects fail on the first attempt. This happens for a number of reasons, but one of the most common is what is being put into the CRM system, not the system itself. Just like our bodies, a CRM program requires a well-balanced diet. Feeding either of them junk will collect over time, and end up “in-the-trunk.”

Incorrect, outdated and otherwise known as “dirty” data can have a horrible outcome. Take for example the recent debacle in which extra data entered into Salesforce CRM resulted in a father receiving a disturbing piece of mail.

In the CRM software business, we speak to many executives who know they “should” have a CRM system, but they aren’t exactly sure of the necessary steps to achieve the benefits they want to realize. Before launching one, there’s something to be said about how much and what kind of data should be collected. In order for CRM data to be of beneficial use, it needs to be organized and analyzed – this leads to successful discovery and communication of what the data means.

Entering every single detail can be overwhelming and extremely inefficient; leaving users feeling like CRM is “more work.” It’s also important to note that different teams within an organization will have different priorities – for example, Customer Service , Sales and Collections teams have very varied (and sometimes conflicting) goals.

When a sales team fails to close leads or has missed sales opportunities, management needs to know not only the why, but the who-what-when-and-where. Collecting the right data enables sales managers to identify and learn from mistakes to move their teams forward.

First and foremost, think in terms of what information is important to your business, and then develop a strategy:

    • Make a list of very specific questions that need answers. How many calls does it take to move a prospect to a customer? Which of your key customers are being ignored by your sales staff?
      Set data entry standards within your CRM to collect specific types of information and that everyone understands the purpose of it.
    • Gather results, analyze the data and determine what changes need to be made to refine and improve your data collection process.
    • Finally, after gleaning information from the results, share the findings with all participants. Making everyone part of data collection and analysis will spark user participation and interest.

In today’s social media-centered world, it’s easy to get inundated with too much information. Evaluate your CRM strategy to ensure you are collecting the right data – data that is going to benefit your business units individually as well as the whole. Collecting irrelevant or unnecessary bits of information for the sake of having data can have a very dire outcome.