This article has been contributed by Mr. Murtaza Amin, founder of BizProspex a B2B Data company that helps you to optimize your B2B lead generation process.
In this article, we will learn about the best practices for maintaining a clean CRM database. However, let’s understand what customer relationship management comprises
What Does A Customer Relationship Management System Do For Your Organization?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is an amalgamation of technology, technique, and tools to identify, contact, develop, and retain customer connections. CRM software systems make it easier to maximize the resources you allocate to sales and marketing departments in yourorganization. To summarize what they do, CRMs ensure a smooth flow of communication and outreach among your stakeholders. Essentially, they prevent any untoward outcomes caused by a lack of quality, real-time, dependable information. Their end goal is to make sales more relaxed and increase profits at the same time. No modern business organization can do without a CRM system.
The Best Practices to Maintain a Clean CRM Database
While CRM system integration is essential, quality is of the essence. A poorly managed CRM may end up doing more harm than good. Employing a customer relationship management program without powering it with cleaning and hygiene practices can be disastrous. Here we’ve detailed the best practices to apply for a smooth-running CRM system.
Validate Email And Phone Fields At The Form-Filling Stage
As a marketer, you know how reluctant some people can be when it comes to sharing contact information. Additionally, it isn’t uncommon for people to try and sign up using made-up emails and false information. Such information is worth nothing to your purpose and takes away from precious resources. However, there are ways you can avoid such data entering your database.
One way of getting closer to a clean CRM database is by incorporating validations within your forms. Important information fields like email addresses, postal addresses, names, phone numbers, etc. should have verification systems in place. Employ systems where unless the customer or prospect completes the validation, they won’t be able to proceed. This extra step avoids fake or false data entering your database. In the long run, it prevents any drops in efficiency or wastage of resources.
When You Import Contact Lists, Stick To The Essentials
Importing contact or lead lists from a data solutions company is very widely-accepted and popular among businesses. There is much to be said for the ease and cost-effectiveness of such records. Thanks to the vast data vendor market, there is no shortage of databases. Additionally, these machine-mined records are very exhaustive and comprise many fields of prospect information.
A clean CRM database requires prioritization. When you import contact list data into your CRM system, it becomes necessary to be organized and methodical. It may be tempting to collect or hoard all the information you have purchased. However, this is inherently counter-productive. When you import data from lists, stick only to what you need. Ask yourself if the information you’re adding will help you achieve organizational goals. According to the custom fields that you genuinely need, import the relevant data. Focus on what’s important and don’t let the unimportant things pull you down. By adopting this practice, you’ll see that your customer relationship management efforts aren’t an overwhelming task. You get closer to achieving a clean CRM database by prioritizing in this manner.
Identify Data Fields To Avoid Incomplete Contact Records
For smooth customer relationship management, it is essential that you identify which data fields hold the highest importance to your cause. Moreover, if you want to market to contacts in the future, having the right data about everything you consider before selling to someone is critical.
For this reason, identify the right data field before you consider any contact information complete. Decide what tags are so important that without this information you wouldn’t consider it to be a fully populated and complete contact record. Can you do without their email addresses or designation? Will the contact information help you effectively if there isn’t the last purchase date available?
On you determine what fields of information hold most value, it becomes easier to maintain a clean CRM database. After all, you won’t include any garbage data that has no value to your efforts.
Evaluate The Right Format And Stick To It
The process of exporting data from one system to another is usually via the use of a .cvs spreadsheet. Even when you purchase data lists, typically, such spreadsheets are imported and then integrated to a similar sheet maintained in your system. However, there is a correct way and a wrong way of doing this.
For the best results and a clean CRM database, it is imperative that you merge the format of the new information to the form that works best for your operations. A clean CRM database demands that data from exported files get sorted as per your CRM system’s data existing format. First of all, your existing setup most likely holds information that you need, in a way that you need it. By maintaining a standard format with specified fields (name, date, percentage, industry, type etc.), you minimize confusion and optimize productivity.
Routinely Weed Out The Duplicates
Wrong data is undoubtedly a hindrance towards your aim of getting a clean CRM database. However, duplicate contact information an data records are even worse. Such records are known to bring tremendous, often unfixable damage to your marketing efforts. After all, if you have two records of the same person, how ill you assuage which one is the more up-to-date one? In a market where customers are expecting highly-personalized experiences, how will you keep up with duplicate records? Moreover, won’t you risk annoying someone by repeating yourself or your message?
To prevent any of these confusing situations from cropping up, it is necessary that you regularly check your database for any duplicate records. Any records that have no value to your efforts serve no purpose and should immediately be discarded. A clean CRM system will never have any duplicate information.
Track The Lead Source
First of all, not all leads and prospects are created equal. Depending on where the lead’s information came from, you can assess their importance to your efforts. One way of doing this is to assess the source of your leads.
Figuring out if they came from sources that you paid for or if they organically seek you out can help you deliver better customer experience. Moreover, it also helps you pick the most appropriate strategy for communication with a prospect based on what they most likely need. Tracking the sources of your leads can also help you segregate them based on common attributes, easing the strain on marketing and sales processes. Maintaining a clean CRM database requires this step.
Get Rid Of Dead Weight
The contact information of leads that have been unresponsive serves no purpose. Apart from taking away time from your sales outreach efforts, it only keeps confusing your team members. Most importantly, you need to understand that not all prospects or leads will convert in the future. It is best to accept that not everyone you keep contacting will lead you to a sale.
If you have contact information of people who have been staunchly unresponsive inspite of multiple outreach methods, it may be time to get rid of their information altogether. Don’t buy into this suck-cost fallacy and cling to dead weight. The way to a clean CRM database demands that you get rid of this unwanted data.
The Bottom Line
Customer Relationship Management is so integral to your organization’s growth that it dictates the success of all your efforts. This just means that you can’t afford to be lazy with CRM cleaning and maintenance anymore.
However, while your organization can have some useful practices in place to ensure data hygiene, it might not be enough. Managing, up-dating, mining, or verifying the authenticity of database records is best done by skilled professionals. Surely, your Sales and Marketing teams don’t have expendable time to put into maintaining a clean CRM database. In such a scenario, it becomes essential to have a CRM cleaning solution partner on-board.
Most importantly, having a service provider that conduct manual CRM database cleaning is the best. Such processes have an added edge of human intelligence powering them, as compared to automated processes.