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This article was contributed by Tom Wilson, a data professional and content editor at Coresignal

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database contains every bit of insight and data you collect on your customer relationship program. CRM data helps with marketing and CRM datasets are stored and analyzed on the CRM system.  The longer a database stands without cleaning, the more difficult it is to use, and unclean CRM data is useless to both humans and automation tools. In the same vein, to successfully pursue personalized marketing, email marketing, account-based marketing, etc., flawless CRM data is vital.

A major impediment to an effective marketing unit is a dirty CRM system. Not cleaning your system makes marketing, service, and sales teams prone to failure. Most companies rely on automation for various marketing forms. Hence, referencing an inaccurate database potentially damages your customers’ overall experience. However, it’s not too late to make things better: learn how to clean CRM data.

Why you should clean your CRM data

Cleaning CRM data is grunt work. However, working with a cluttered database can also be a nightmare. When the process of cleansing CRM is alien to your company’s daily activities, the following happens:

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  • It becomes impossible to keep track of the communication and engagement between your marketing and sales teams and customers.
  • Employees become less productive as more time is spent sorting through inaccurate information.
  • You wind up losing sight of essential and valuable customers.

The problems caused by unclean CRM have a ripple effect on your company’s revenue in the long run. However, when you invest time and resources in the short term, you get to eliminate duplicate data, missing data, and outdated information.

Duplicate data, missing data, and outdated data

Companies that haven’t recently done CRM cleansing often have about 10 to 30% duplicate data and may also have missing or outdated data. Duplicate data issues are easy to resolve when the scale is small, but if the situation persists, it gets more complicated.

Missing data is another common issue that negatively impacts your company’s data mining process. Frequently, the problem with missing data is the fault of team members rather than the CRM system, but team members need to consistently pay attention to what they make of the CRM. Additionally, when your company’s CRM data is outdated, there is an increased likelihood of inaccuracy. The subjects of the data your CRM system collects are humans; they frequently change jobs, move houses, etc. Therefore, it’s vital to ensure constant reiteration in data collection.

Necessary steps

Cleaning CRM data is easy when done on time. If your team has decided to optimize your CRM database’s quality, follow these steps to achieve clean, useful, informative data:

Deleting and merging duplicate records

Getting rid of duplicate data values marks the beginning of the cleanup process. You can either merge or delete duplicate data, though you shouldn’t do this manually for large data sets. When dealing with big data:

  • You can use Salesforce to run a duplicate check
  • You can use Case Merge Premium to merge duplicate data values

Once you have completed the duplicate cleanup, be sure to optimize your CRM system to prevent information duplication right from the start.

Reduce the number of administrative users

Reducing the number of personnel who have complete administrative control over your CRM system seems like a small step. However, doing this ensures process maintenance. Also, there’ll be no risk of a rookie mistakenly deactivating a duplicate checker. For security, it’s best to keep the number of admin controls at six (though this number will depend on the size of your company).

Have a data entry standard

Data entry becomes compromised when information is missing. However, when there’s a pre-defined standard, your software will be better streamlined. Also, when there’s enough data for each account, duplicate checkers work better.

  • Set company-wide rules regarding data.
  • Review your data guidelines frequently.
  • Ensure that employees are following the best practices you set.

Maintenance scheduling

Once you remove duplicates from your CRM database, and you have the standard number of admins and a standard for data input, your system is good to go. You may follow up by choosing the right data enrichment process, but maintenance is always vital.

Your maintenance runs should include:

  • Monthly reviews
  • Quarterly checks for available updates
  • Scheduled semi-manual cleaning, etc.

The importance of clean data

The importance of clean CRM data can’t be overemphasized. Adequate CRM data results in an exponential increase in lead volume prospecting. Prospecting is a significant job requiring combined effort from both the sales and marketing teams to get new customers. Thanks to CRM data, the prospecting process becomes faster.

CRM data makes it easier for the sales team to do their job. They get to convert leads through the sales funnel faster. Efficiency in the in-house team’s work results in a better customer experience. In a world where customers’ online opinions matter to companies’ revenue, customer experience requires a higher degree of care.

Cleaning CRM data is essential for every business: it breeds efficiency and productivity. If your team hasn’t already cleaned up your CRM database, the best time to start is now.

Tom Wilson is a data professional and content editor at Coresignal

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