CRM data cleaning, what is it and why do you need it?

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems offer a wealth of benefits and features making them an essential tool for businesses. 

CRM is a type of software that allows businesses to manage customers and prospect information, track sales performance, profile clients, record customer interactions and track all contact with customers.

The most familiar include:

Typically, users would be those involved in sales, lead generation, marketing, administration and management.

The performance of a CRM system‘s features is dependent upon the quality of the data information that is added and how existing data is managed.

Top benefits of using a CRM

Contact management

Sales reps can record and manage contact information for existing customers and prospects.

All previous communications are there and visible to the sales team, customer service and marketing staff in the organisation. 

Lead generation and management

Build a sales pipeline of prospects which can then be nurtured through the sales cycle in one place. Set automated tasks and follow ups to manage prospects.

Central database of information

CRM software can be the central database of information on existing customers, which is accessible to any member of staff.

Providing information such as previous order details, frequency, order values and so on.

Improved customer service

By using a CRM as the central database, customer service is improved because all employees can access essential information and record important actions.

This is particularly helpful when employees leave, have annual leave or are off sick. Employees can also easily set tasks for colleagues or add notes.

Reporting & analytics

A CRM system allows you to analyse customer buying habits, trends, engagement levels whilst offering sales and management employees the tools to forecast sales figures individually and by department.

Increased sales

Sales increase because a CRM streamlines the sales process for sales people, allows the building and efficient management of a pipeline.

It also allows sales data to be analysed in one place, providing potential for growth.

Integration with other software

Integrate your CRM with email accounts, invoicing software, email platforms, websites, social media and more.

How to choose the right CRM software for your business

It can be overwhelming for companies to identify and compare the increasing number of CRM options that are available.

However, there are some things to consider which will help to refine these options.

For example:

Industry specialist software

Some CRM systems have been developed specifically for use by businesses in certain industries.

This means they are likely to meet the needs of your business better than a more generic CRM. 

Migrating your current system

If you don’t currently have a CRM and are working from spreadsheets or databases, think about how easy it will be for your staff to learn and use the new CRM system.

Zoho offers a simple CRM called Bigin, which is designed to be used by companies who are moving onto a CRM for the first time.

Integration options

Do you need the CRM to integrate with any existing software, such as Xero, Mailchimp or your email accounts?

When you are comparing solutions, look closely at the integration possibilities.

Set up and cost

What support is included with your CRM, and can you manage this in-house.

Or will you need to employ someone to set up the new CRM and be responsible for data management of your existing information.

Costs are normally per user which increase depending upon your chosen package of features.

Consider how many users you would require now and in the future to give you an idea of ongoing monthly or annual cost.

Free Trial

Free trials are normally offered to new users and this is particularly important aspect to explore before making a final decision.

However, be aware that CRM providers will usually offer a free trial of the more advanced packages.

This means that if you want to have the same functionality you would need to purchase the same package.

Employee feedback

Because a CRM is going to be used by your employees it is important to include them in the decision making process, particularly when you are using a trial.

Employees are after all the end user and can therefore provide you with valuable feedback on the suitability.

Keeping your CRM data clean

There are hundreds of articles online that compare different CRM systems and offer valuable insight as to the importance of a CRM system for most businesses.

However, what is not discussed is how to maintain a CRM system including CRM cleaning.

Because many employees will use the CRM system, new information is added or changed every day.

This means a large amount of CRM data can be acquired over a relatively short period of time. 

For example data would be added from:

Website– when someone fills out your enquiry forms or signs up to receive marketing newsletters, this information will appear in your CRM.

Prospects– sales people will add the data of prospects from cold calling, field sales, event or trade shows, networking and social media.

Purchased lists– database lists for marketing.

Inbound enquiries– from social media, telephone calls etc

The performance of a CRM database is dependent upon the quality of the customer or prospect information that is added and how existing CRM data is managed.

Some of the issues that regularly impact CRM database quality and performance include:

Missing CRM data

This is where essential fields of information have not been included such as telephone numbers, postal addresses, email addresses etc

Unknown data source

To comply with GDPR you should be able to provide information on where customer data records have been collected, such as from a sales call, purchased list, email or other marketing campaign and so on.

When this information is missing it is impossible to manage and analyse the source.

Duplicate data

This can occur when different contacts are added from the same organisation, or company names/contacts are mis-spelt.

The danger is then that you don’t have a full picture of a customer due to a duplicate record.

No activity recorded on CRM records 

If company or contact information is added and then no call notes are added or follow up actions, you are then left with data with unknown commercial value filling up your CRM

Marketing or sales activity not recorded on CRM

If employees or consultants carry out activity which is not then recorded on the CRM, prospects cannot be effectively managed through a sales pipeline or receive any targeted marketing messages.

Inaccurate CRM data 

When a CRM is first set up, companies often upload customer data they have accrued from many employees and sources without first assessing its commercial value and data quality through data cleansing.

This then results in thousands of bad data records being uploaded, which in turn makes the overall number of records in the CRM impossible to manage.

More Than Words Marketing CRM data cleaning and cleansing

Get in touch with More Than Words Marketing

We are an experienced B2B marketing agency, database provider and telemarketing company.

As such we understand the challenges of CRM data management and can offer clients a bespoke telephone data cleaning service which incorporates lead generation.

To demonstrate what can be achieved from CRM database cleansing campaigns we have provided details from some of the clients we have worked with.

Data cleansing of care home information

Our client had 1,000 CRM data records of care homes where we were able to:

  • Confirm & update manager names
  • Obtain contact email addresses for care home managers
  • Highlight records for removal that were no longer trading
  • Highlight duplicate entries for removal
  • Ask for information on fees and availability for new residents
  • Ensure all new information was captured and recorded in the correct CRM data field

Results CRM data cleansing were:

  • 700 cleaned customer data records
  • 40 bad data records identified for removal
  • 300 leads generated for follow up by the clients sales team

Data cleaning of historic records for a minibus supplier

This client identified around 1,000 historic prospect data entries and wanted clean data to upload into their CRM system.

Our data clean up brief was to:

  • Verify if the contact was still correct
  • Update incorrect contact name and email addresses
  • Identify inaccurate data for removal
  • Find out if they still purchased minibuses, when their next purchase would be and if they wanted to receive more information

Following our work, our clients sales team and marketing team had

  • Quality data to upload and use
  • 17 Immediate leads
  • 73 requests for more information

In both of these examples, it is evident that CRM data cleanup maintains the quality of the information in a CRM as well as generating sales leads.

Where to start

Run some reports on your CRM to identify records which have not been contacted for more than 12 months.

Because data decays at an average of 30% a year they have no value in their current format and are just taking up space on your CRM.

Contact our team to discuss a CRM data record cleanse and let us breathe life into your bad CRM data.

To find out more call 0330 010 8300 or click here to email.

Find out more about our B2B databases

To speak to an account manager, please call on 0330 010 8300, click here to email us, or fill in the form below and we’ll get back in touch with you as soon as possible.