How valuable is the information you track?
If you’re going to the trouble of entering it in the first place, your data needs to be high-quality.
With bad data, your process suffers and your planning suffers. Bad data = bad analysis, and bad analysis means you won’t have a good picture of what you’ve done or what’s to come.
What’s more, bad data can destroy confidence in your CRM, driving users to makeshift systems for “better” record keeping.
Maintaining high data quality protects your CRM investment by enabling your users to actually use CRM and generate value (both for themselves and for your company) from doing so.
In order to ensure your CRM data quality is the best it can be, follow these six guidelines for CRM data quality:
Can you trust your data?
If not, why are you spending all that time and money building and maintaining it?
CRM data accuracy is incredibly important. After all, if even some of your data is inaccurate, you may find yourself making the wrong decisions based on that data and/or eroding trust in your system. And once that trust is gone, all your data is suspect, and therefore far less valuable.
Often, this happens when your team has no process for updating CRM data. If your data just sits there, with no attention given to its upkeep, odds are you’ll have a database full of inaccuracies at some point.
Obviously, inaccurate information is untrustworthy. But another risk to accuracy is your predictive numbers (most commonly, the likelihood of closing an opportunity). If managers can’t trust that an 80% opportunity is really an 80% opportunity, then what good is that number? What happens to your projections? Can you even make projections?
Do you have all the information you need?
Incomplete data will happen, especially early on in prospecting or as your contacts make organizational changes.
Maybe you have a website and a phone number for a lead organization, but not a primary contact. Or maybe you know the first name of somebody you met at a conference, but not their last name.
On the other end of the relationship spectrum, maybe a long-time customer has moved their office and you don’t have their new address yet.
These things happen. And as long as your team is on top of regularly updating incomplete records, your database should be fine.
But chronically incomplete data is a huge problem. Incomplete data requires your team to consistently search outside of CRM for the information they need, and that defeats the purpose of investing in CRM.
It can also lead to de facto solutions like spreadsheets and notes that decentralize your records and make it harder to keep your team on the same page.
Is similar information presented in similar ways across your system?
For example, do all your email addresses and phone numbers look the same? Are customer and opportunity ratings presented on a consistent scale? Is your information entered in the correct fields?
Uniform data creates organizational and informational rules that help your team process and use the information in your CRM. When your data isn’t uniform, it can be annoying, confusing, or even unusable for your team.
Take the Emoji Tagger add-on we developed recently. The emoji tagger allows you to rate each of your contacts and accounts on an A/B/C/D/F scale. Each rating also corresponds to a color-coded emoji. Those ratings and emojis display whenever you open a list view of your accounts or contacts.
You can rate those contacts and accounts based on likelihood to close, ease of communication or collaboration, overall relationship quality—whatever matters most to your company and your users.
But what happens when you rate one company by close rate and the next by relationship quality?
Alternatively, what happens when you change the emojis to something less uniform? The Emoji Tracker comes pre-loaded with a set of color-coded smiley and frowny faces. You can swap them out if you prefer a different set, but what are your users supposed to do when they see one company assigned a thumbs up and another a hang ten?
Is your CRM full of duplicate data?
Perhaps the most common duplicate data entry is for different locations of a single customer. But companies that use automated but poorly-implemented online sign-ups, webinars, white papers, and/or web-to-lead forms can quickly find themselves swimming a database full of duplicate contacts.
If you don’t have processes in place to combine and delete duplicate records, or better yet to avoid them in the first place, then your data can become extremely difficult for users to wade through.
At the same time, if you delete duplicates indiscriminately, you can lose important data if the records aren’t identical.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales offers some safeguards for managing duplicate data. The duplicate detection feature in Dynamics 365 flags imported data that looks like a copy of information already in your database. Rather than automatically eliminating what looks to be a duplicate, Dynamics alerts the user and queries whether one or more records should be deleted.
Is your information up to date?
It’s a good idea to regularly organize and clean your CRM data to ensure it’s accurate, unique, and timely.
It’s also a good idea to check for outdated information when you perform bulk data imports.
But timely data is also about entering information that will be immediately useful and making sure that data is easy to find.
For example, our Opportunity Progression Tracker and Last Activity Date Tracker add-ons (one core, one for sales, and one for service) are designed to ensure users can easily find information that will help them stay on top of their opportunities. Failing to track interactions effectively can turn CRM into an expensive Rolodex, and result in missed opportunities.
Is your information secure?
There are four basic rights in CRM: create, read, write, and delete. Who you give those rights to is very important for maintaining data integrity.
Too many privileges to too many users can create a free-for-all database; too few can make information difficult to find and/or update.
Maintain data quality with Dynamics 365 CRM
Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales CRM offers your business the tools it needs to build and maintain a high-quality database of information that you can use to improve process and profitability.
What can your business do with more powerful data, marketing, sales, service, and support?
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