Four Data Management Practices That Improve CRM Performance

Businesses spend thousands of dollars on customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. Seeing a positive return on investment takes time, especially when your workforce hates using your CRM solution of choice or doesn’t update customer data regularly. With current CRM solutions spanning multiple departments, there is no shortage of ways to handle your data management practices to improve your CRM system’s performance. You may think of enhancing data management to increase the number of prospects you get and the percentage of conversions. You can also use some of the suggested practices in this article to help with marketing communications, improve the speed at which your organization can fulfill product orders, or increase quality in support of your business.

Data Management Strategies

As a first step in better managing your company’s data, assess and improve your strategies for seeking and developing additional business from among your current customers. Look to improve strategies that focus on your customer relationships—that is, technology, processes, and people. You could work to improve customer collaboration by planning and creating new values. You could integrate your customers’ touch points with your business and develop single real-time views of them. As part of strategy improvement, recognize the different needs of your employees as well as your customers: Both can add value to your business.

Data Management Plan

Build a plan based on your data management just like you created business processes based on your business. Begin by standing up a team of advanced CRM users, and work with them to discover and document how to best use and manage your data. For instance, if the team suggests creating weekly lead reports sorted by region or customer interests, ensure that this idea is documented. Such documentation helps you figure out which data fields are necessary for keeping data relevant. This practice is a good time to establish naming conventions, as well.

Empower the Enforcers

Now that you’ve laid out the rules and begun documenting everything, your efforts will be futile if you fail to identify those who can enforce data management rules and processes. Identify an enforcer in each department, starting with those team members who are heavily involved in data management or data entry. Discuss what happens if the enforcers aren’t respected through training. Stakeholder buy-in at this stage is essential, so be sure to address this role before making any other changes. Only when everyone is on board with new processes and enforcers can your CRM solution and strategy succeed.

Use your CRM System’s Existing Capabilities

Most major CRM solutions offer a variety of capabilities out of the box to help manage data, so you can improve data quality by using what you already have. One optimal choice is validation rules that serve as a checklist of must-haves before every record is saved. With strict validation rules in place, you can capture clean data. For instance, if a prospect doesn’t enter relevant contact information such as a phone number or email address, that record shouldn’t make it into the CRM database. In addition, you can see if your CRM system has a duplication management tool to help employees find duplicate entries or create a report of duplicates that exist already.