5 Ways to Boost Your CRM
CRM data can be notoriously problematic. Personal and business information is in a constant state of flux. Customers or prospects often move to new locations, get new email addresses or phone numbers, or even change their names. Business customers might merge, rebrand, or go out of business. Briefly stated, CRM data quality decays very rapidly.
Poor CRM data quality translates to lost productivity, wasted marketing spend, and can occasionally even lead to embarrassing situations when it becomes apparent that your company doesn’t know its customers as well as you think. Proactive CRM data quality management is well worth the investment. It ensures that your people can focus on what they do best without getting sidetracked by bad information and without wasting time tracking down the right information. It prevents the company from throwing away money on duplicate mailings to the same customers or shipping product to the wrong address (or to incomplete addresses, which often lead to penalties from common carrier shipping companies).
Fortunately, there are proven tools and methods for maintaining high data quality in your CRM database. If your current customer data is already in bad shape, those same tools and methods can provide a fix by de-duplicating your existing database, validating addresses, and weeding out old phone numbers. Here are five best practices for boosting the effectiveness of your CRM system.
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Precisely offers connectors that seamlessly integrate Spectrum Data Quality with your CRM system. Whether you’re using Salesforce.com, SAP, NetSuite, SugarCRM, or others, Precisely can ensure that your organization is getting maximum value from your CRM system. To learn more, watch our free on-demand webcast.
1. De-Duplicate Your Database (…and Stop Adding New Duplicates)
Duplicate CRM records are a long-standing problem. There are a number of root causes for this, starting with the simple reality that customer names might come to you through multiple channels, each of which can contain slight variations on a name, or different addresses and phone numbers altogether. Typically, when a new prospect engages with the sales and marketing team, an attempt will be made to match that person’s name (or the business’ name) to any existing records in the CRM system. If the customer has moved, changed their email address or phone number, or if they have simply provided a different variant of their name, then any existing records won’t be found, and they’ll be added as a new customer or prospect.
We see this problem occur frequently in the sales cycle, as account executives enter new leads into the CRM system. Many companies operate under a “doing business as” (DBA) name, or they have a name that is frequently expressed as an abbreviation. These kinds of situations can lead to the same customer or prospect being entered into the CRM system twice.
Effective de-duplication tools provide automated mechanisms for discovering potential duplicates by comparing information across multiple fields. They may even look for variants on a name (such as “Jim” vs. “James”), or names that sound the same when pronounced out loud (for example, “Shawn” vs. “Sean” or “McDonald” vs. “MacDonald”). Rules-driven de-duplication automates most of the process, helping companies to stay on top of this important problem.
2. Stop Sending Mail To The Wrong Addresses
Invalid addresses are also common. As noted earlier, customers can frequently move from one location to another or might open new locations. In some cases, street names and numbers may change, adding further to the potential confusion.
In an era when much of the customer information that companies collect comes from online forms, we see an increasing number of errors and inconsistencies arising from customers’ own data entry. In some cases, these are presumably typographical errors. In other cases, though, customers simply don’t care to share their address details, so they enter phony information or provide minimal input.
When CRM databases are filled with these kinds of errors, your company may end up wasting untold amounts of money mailing marketing materials to invalid addresses or sending shipments that are delayed because of incomplete information. Correctly locating your customers can also have a significant impact on tax compliance, because tax jurisdictions in many locations may be defined at a very granular level. By validating address information against a global database that is kept constantly up-to-date, you can ensure that you know where your customers are located, how to get messages and product to them quickly and efficiently, and how to stay on the right side of tax compliance agencies.
3. Weed Out Wrong Numbers
For many organizations, having the wrong phone number can be almost as bad as having the wrong shipping address. Many companies are using automated phone reminders to notify consumers of important situations such as their order status, upcoming appointment reminders, or planned service outages. Text messages, likewise, have become a common means of communicating with customers.
With the right phone number validation service, it’s possible to weed out wrong numbers, and even to discern which phone numbers are land lines versus which are mobile numbers. The latter can be especially important in cases where a company wishes to get important messages to its customers via SMS text message.
4. Validate Your Customers’ Emails
For other customers, email is a preferred method of communication, and from a marketing perspective, most people find it far less intrusive than SMS. Email remains one of the most cost-effective means of reaching a larger audience with key messages and important promotions. Unfortunately, email data also decays at a fairly predictable rate, as consumers change their email addresses, ISPs occasionally impose changes, and/or consumers choose to manage multiple addresses. Managing email data quality ensures that one of your most valuable marketing resources retains its full usefulness.
5. Automate Your Data Quality Processes
Last, but not least, companies can automate these processes by integrating data quality tools directly with their CRM systems. Precisely’s Spectrum Data Quality offers a best-in-class collection of capabilities for address validation, de-duplication, phone number and email validation, and much more. Companies in the insurance industry, retail, wholesale distribution, and more are using Spectrum Data Quality to save money and increase productivity by ensuring their CRM data remains consistent, complete, and up-to-date.
Precisely offers connectors that seamlessly integrate Spectrum Data Quality with your CRM system. Whether you’re using Salesforce.com, SAP, NetSuite, SugarCRM, or others, Precisely can ensure that your organization is getting maximum value from your CRM system. To learn more, watch our free on-demand webcast, Boost Your Customer Outreach with Strong CRM Data.