CRM software, also known as customer relationship management systems, are huge upgrades to older forms of keeping track of customers such as Rolodexes and address books. It is much easier to type a customer name into a search bar than it is to flip through hundreds of index cards.
CRM systems also offer plenty of helpful functions, especially when working with marketing automation software. Using marketing automation and CRM tools together helps to track relationships with customers, and even provide analysis of the potential conversion rate of leads.
Despite the obvious benefits of a CRM tool, you still need to do some work to ensure it is functioning optimally. These systems are set up to facilitate efficient and effective work; however, if you don’t properly integrate and maintain your CRM platform, large amounts of data could go to waste.
What does it mean to properly maintain your CRM? It’s really all about the data it contains — if your CRM system is full of duplicated or incomplete customer data, you’ll find it impossible to keep track of your customer interactions and leads will not convert well.
Staying away from bad CRM data
The key to keeping your customer database clean is to not let any bad data get in. Be careful when importing contacts. It’s a good idea to create a best-practices document for entering data so that all of the customer data within your CRM is uniform.
This is crucial because the entire database can be compromised if there are only a few duplicate or incomplete customer profiles. Make sure you know who is allowed to import CRM data so you can ensure everyone with access knows how to do so properly.
Avoiding duplicates in your CRM system
Most CRM tools will allow you to set duplicate detection rules as a safeguard. Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Sales and Salesforce CRM, for example, have detection rules that notify you if you try to import a new contact that already exists.
Even if you take precautions, it’s still unlikely you’ll be able to keep out 100 percent of the bad data. Nobody’s perfect, after all. You will want to regularly check your CRM for duplicate or incomplete data to keep things running smoothly.
Getting rid of bad CRM data
Despite all of your efforts to keep your CRM clean, what if it still ends up being full of bad data?
The first thing you’ll want to do is to analyze the situation. If it turns out to just be a few duplicate contacts, the simple action is to just delete them and try to figure out how they slipped through. If you notice multiple duplicate contacts, however, you will want to evaluate how your CRM is configured.
Cleaning out CRM contacts
Cleaning duplicate and filling in incomplete data can be a long and tedious process. Fortunately, most CRMs offer some tools to help you clean up bad data. For example, ActivePrime offers a product called CleanCRM for its CRM tool, which goes through your database of customer information and cleans up any duplicate data.
Many other CRMs offer similar products or functionality, so check with your CRM support team to see how they can help you merge your duplicate data.
Another useful trick for identifying and fixing bad customer information is to export all of your data to Microsoft Excel. It is probably easier to go through all of your data in a spreadsheet than in your CRM system. Once you identify the bad data, you can correct it within Excel and import it back into your CRM tool.