Data cleansing is the process of removing duplicate, incorrect and improperly formatted data from a database, such as your CRM. Today, many organizations are firehosed with high volumes of data. Given the enormity, discrepancies can surface. There are many reasons why data can be incorrect from an entry mistake to data getting lost in translation or a lack of proper management. For some reason, redundant and incorrect data seems to be a consistent issue with CRM systems. A sales rep may have heard a prospect's information incorrectly. Or, several departments have spoken to the same customer and entered redundant accounts. Why is this a problem? Well, not only does it make it difficult when speaking customers, but it also hurts marketing automation efforts when contact details are incorrect.
Get Rid of Duplicate Records
Picture this scenario: you are speaking with a prospect who tells you they had a conversation with another sales rep last week and want to pick up where they left off. So, you type into your CRM with lighting speed hoping to find the prospect's information before they get bored. And, as you type their name, you notice six different accounts for the same person. What do you do? Which account is the right one? Do you go through each record with the prospect waiting on the phone? How can you make your target commission with the wrong person on the other end of the line? For certain, you're probably starting to feel a bit embarrassed by the scenario and frustrated, as well. Why do you need all those duplicates? You don't. Imagine how much easier the conversation would go if only one record was found, and all the information was entered correctly--that would be a dream come true.
Cut Down on Costs
CRM data cleansing is an essential activity since it can dramatically impact your company's bottom line. Contact information can change rather rapidly. One day, James Gomez is the CIO of Company A and by the end of next week, he's CEO of company B. So, imagine the horror when you realize you sent a white paper to his former company. What do you think they will do with your white paper? Well, they will probably delete it because you didn't take the time to ensure you had the right data. Writing and customizing white papers cost time and money. The same is true of marketing automation. The last thing you need is 1,000 bounced emails. As a result, both sales and commissions are down because fewer prospects were reached.
Improve Decision Making
One of the many benefits of working with a CRM system and CRM data is it can eliminate the manual processes that plague organizations with inefficiencies. Modern CRM systems can integrate with marketing automation to enable businesses of all sizes to interact with customers in a way that wouldn't have been possible just a few years ago. Plus, CRM systems can level the playing field between SMBs and Enterprise organizations. In today's hyper-competitive markets, the spoils will go to companies that manage their customer relationships the best. Since key business decisions must be made at all levels--from compensation plans to pricing--it is important to have clean and redundant-free data. Managers and executives must have the confidence and the ability to make a decision based on accurate data. For many organizations, data is one of the most valuable assets. You can find some of your most valuable data stored in your CRM system. Yet, that data won't be worth anything if it is inaccurate or redundant.
Customer Information Can Change
As stated earlier, customer information can change frequently. A company can also go out of business. When every dial counts, you can't afford to call a "wrong number" on each attempt. Your CRM system needs to reflect changing customer data. Customers and prospects can change positions, move to another part of the company, quit, retire or something else. Effective data cleansing equates to the removal of duplicates and a consistent strategy for entering new contact information. When your data is accurate, you can then improve the efficiency of your sales and marketing efforts. If you have reached a number with a contact who was not the person you expected, all you have to do is ask a few questions. Here are a few examples:
- I apologize for getting the wrong number, it is my understanding that Mr. Smith used to work here?
- Would you happen to know where he is now?
- Is there someone who would know, that I may talk to?
- Have you taken over Mr. Smith's role?
These are just a few of the questions you can ask that will help to keep your contact information accurate and updated.
How would it look if your company is known for having bad data? Prospects might even consider you a spammer if they continue to get emails, calls and direct mail pieces meant for someone else. Even if they were interested in your products and services, they may start to wonder if you understand the importance of organization. When companies lack the tools to manage their customer relationships or don't take the time to execute data cleansing, important prospects and customers will start to fall through the cracks.
Yet, when you take the time to clean your CRM data, you add a layer of accountability to your customer relationship process. With the right data, you can truly understand your prospects and customers throughout their entire sales lifecycle. It then makes it much easier to send out relevant information to the right people.
Enhance Customer Contact Rate
If your CRM data does not have the right phone numbers, then sales reps cannot get in touch with the right people. A phone call can get your prospect's attention in a way that is unmatched by email or social media. To illustrate, a busy person may delete your email or scroll past your social media posts. But, when you have someone on the phone, you can grab their attention with the right techniques. Of course, you need clean data to discuss relevant information with them. A good sales call is the result of preparation and research. While on the call, the prospect may challenge you. In this scenario, you need the right data on hand to back up what you have to say. You also need to keep the conversation going, and you can only do that with accurate data. Otherwise, you would be wasting each other's time when you have the wrong person on the phone.
Boost Pipeline Management
Data can be pulled from CRM systems to track pipeline management for information on quota achievement, which can directly impact sales commissions. The pipeline can take a negative hit when sales reps are spending the entire day trying to reconcile inaccurate data. A typical workday is around eight hours. A customer call can take 30 minutes to an hour. Then, you have to factor in lunch, meetings, breaks, research, and emails. If you add bad data to the mix, it can make for a pretty daunting day without much to show in terms of pipeline progression. On the other hand, data cleansing can ensure that sales reps have access to good data and can re-focus their goals. It can also boost morale when they are confident in the data. Instead of worrying whether or not you’re going to reach another wrong number, you can instead spend enough time on your presentation and talking points with your prospect.
Accurate customer management is what enables a business to remain competitive over time. Keeping clean data enhances a company's ability to achieve consistent customer acquisition and to respond to leads quickly. Plus, it can help prevent the financial strain induced by data errors.