What are the effects of bad CRM data?
Customer interactions based on bad data will always be intrinsically flawed, whether they're carried out by the marketing department or sales reps. The issues can range from incorrect email addresses meaning you can’t reach your leads, right through to communications being marked as spam because you’ve addressed the recipient by the wrong pronoun after they made an error on a form.
Research from IBM suggests bad data costs the US economy $3.1 trillion annually, while Experian found it impacts the bottom line of 88% of American companies. The latter study put the average loss of total revenue down to bad data at 12%, making a significant impact on company profits.
Incorrect data can lead to:
- Less successful marketing campaigns
- Negative perceptions of your brand
- Ineffective optimization or personalization of marketing materials
- Inefficient use of employees’ time
How do you clean up your CRM database?
CRM data cleansing is an ongoing process that should be carried out regularly to ensure the task doesn’t become too unwieldy and time consuming. Breaking it down into simple steps and keeping on top of CRM cleaning will mean your database is valuable and relevant to your business goals.
1. Consolidate contact records
Organize your contact records so all interactions with the same company can be found together within your CRM. Then use filters to categorize each individual based on their job title and their status as a lead. Consider also removing any contacts that don’t respond to your emails and remember that while this may feel counterintuitive, it’s actually enriching your valuable data.
2. Implement a standard process
Utilizing your CRM on a daily basis should be combined with cycling through your contacts and seeing if emails are successfully delivered. Putting a standard process in place to verify the data, generate lists and delete contacts when they’re no longer viable will ensure you’re constantly cleansing your CRM of bad data.
3. Create clear segmentation
Segmenting your data is vital in making it as usable as possible and you can implement workflows and standard fields within your files to avoid too many variations of the same answer. For example, drop-down menus are a great way to group individuals with similar job titles together under one searchable term.
4. Audit your data
Once you’ve brought a certain amount of order to your data, you can start to look at it to see what you have and any noticeable trends that could inform your marketing decisions. This is a good point to create new personas, as a data audit will offer greater insights into who you should be targeting with your campaigns.
5. Remove duplicates
Duplicate contacts is a common form of bad data and a deduplication tool can help you to identify similar contacts with slight anomalies. To merge the two records together, you’ll need to test which information is correct, by sending an email and seeing if it bounces, for example, and update the contact to reflect the most relevant entries.
6. Restrict the number of administrative users
A problem that can easily be avoided is that of an employee inadvertently disabling an important duplicate checker. There’s no need for a large group of people to be granted administrative permissions. In fact, CIO suggests that six administrators is enough. Obviously, this will depend on the scale of your business, but controlling the number of admins goes a long way to help maintain processes.
7. Archive old data
If you’ve identified outdated information in your CRM, but might need it at a later date, it’s best to archive it. There are multiple reasons this might be the case, especially for compliance laws, but will offer you several benefits including:
- Easier to look up information
- Less time spent on backups or restoring files
- Processing times reduced
- Less disk space required for storage
8. Outsource CRM data cleansing
Outsourcing CRM data cleansing is one of the most efficient ways to remove erroneous data without investing a huge amount of time and resources from your employees. Data cleansing businesses are often more effective than in-house staff and even offer additional services such as data enrichment, which can be used to provide even more information about your company data.
9. Use an integrated platform
Your CRM isn’t the only source of data in your business. Other information will likely exist across spreadsheets and employee notes. To make the most of your data, you need to store it all in one place. With an integrated platform, any data received from a customer communicating with your business is immediately stored in a single space.
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