Updated on June 3, 2021
A Customer Data Management software is vital to enable sales reps better meet customer needs. And the CRM data management best practices enable marketing teams to store all vital customer information in one central location to easily find the records they need and thereby enhance the service and experience that the marketing departments offer customers.
Shutterfly meant good. The targeted campaign should have brought them much better conversions.
But alas. It never did. It brought more harm than good.
To a bunch of its customers, Shutterfly aimed to mass-email congratulations on becoming new parents. Except that Shutterfly’s CRM database management was so bad that it landed on the email addresses of folks who didn’t make the title of a ‘New Mom’ or ‘New Dad’.
And as you could see, Twitter was chuck-full of upset Shutterfly users. If you’d want to avoid Shutterfly’s mishap, then training your marketing team for proper data management processes is indispensable.
Table of Contents
You probably know what a CRM system is. But let’s just do a quick brush-up of the basics before we delve into the best CRM data management practices.
By definition, CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and it encompasses all the techniques and technologies used by a business for acquiring and retaining customers. The best sales contact management CRM software platform is one that has a marketing automation solution, customer segmentation solution, customer insights through real-time dashboards, and the loyalty and referral program builder.
So, your CRM accounts system is the tool that ensures a smooth and efficient interaction with your customers to increase your overall profits. By pooling data from multiple channels, your CRM can fetch detailed information on your customers’ entire purchase history, behavior patterns, and personal information.
Did you know?
A Customer Data Platform (CDP) is also a dedicated software platform with user workflows to host complete records of your customers. Learn how to use CDP to render personalized marketing campaigns.
Oracle puts data management techniques this way: A practice of collecting, keeping, and using data securely, efficiently, and cost-effectively.
In a sales contact management CRM, the fields mandatory could be the customer's name, phone number, and email address. In addition to these standard CRM fields, at the record owner's discretion, other informative data can also be collected.
That said, data management would help your business optimize the use of data within the bounds of policy and regulation. This, in turn, would help you make robust decisions and take actions to maximize the benefit of your data.
And absolutely, a sound data management strategy is more essential than ever as your business relies on those intangible assets to create successful marketing campaigns and ensure unparalleled customer engagement.
At first, we looked at what a CRM is, then what it means to manage data.
So, by now, I’m sure you could make up what CRM data management would mean.
Yep, you’re right; it is all about collecting, keeping and, using your CRM data securely, efficiently, and cost-effectively to create value for your customers.
Failing to check on the data that resides in your CRM can cost you handsomely, as it did to Shutterfly. So, let’s hop on to the best CRM data management techniques for your retail business.
Let's delve into the CRM data quality best practices in this section. On a high level, executing the management plans discussed here will not only ensure effective data management but also give you 360-degree customer profiles to assist in sales processes and marketing strategies.
1. Avoid Incomplete Contact Data Management
Tell me something, what customer data is crucial for your business to capture?
The answer to this question would only determine what data you need to get in your lead form and import it to your CRM software.
While you might be tempted to collect and gather as much customer or lead information as possible, refrain from doing so.
One, you’ll scare your lead by asking for too much information. Two, even if you succeed in collecting ample information, it can lead to unnecessary questions, complex data analysis, and customer data management. So, limit the data fields to only the crucial information you need from your leads.
In case you do not get all the vital information you need from a lead, mark the contact as incomplete in your CRM. This way, you could exclude all incomplete records where needed and endorse easy and quick data cleansing and updation.
2. Automate CRM Data Entry
If you need cleaner and more accurate information in your CRM, the data management guidelines calls for you to rely on the power of automation.
A CRM data automation system can help eliminate mundane data entry for your CRM managers. What’s more, it can also help in filling the missing data, removing duplicates, and keeping the contact records up-to-date.
Having understood the benefits of automation, Adam Draper, the VP of Sales, Introhive says, “How do we enable our salespeople without wasting their time? The answer: Automation and ensuring that the technology our salespeople use fits within their current workflow, process, or toolkits”.
And you know what? Introhive approaches automation in a non-intrusive manner. It works in the background to passively collect and account contact records. This is then shared with the user for easy syncing to CRM.
A great way to save time and eliminate human error, isn’t it?
Recommended Reading: 5 Savvy Ways to Execute CRM Implementation Roadmap in 2021
3. Enrich Lead Data
Enriching all information coming into your CRM is very important. So, this process doesn’t stop when at time X, you clean your existing data. It’s an ongoing process.
So, you need to understand that even if you have potential customers giving you their contact information via a lead magnet, it’s not always going to be complete and clean. Therefore, take the time to remove fake data, add missing data, and correct false data.
4. Follow Naming Conventions
Sometimes, naming your records can get gruesomely hard. Luckily, with a standard naming convention for your internal CRM system, you can overcome the hassle.
Let me give you some suggestions.
First off, avoid free text fields whenever possible. What does this mean? Leave out those fields where your team members would have to manually enter the collected data. Because this could increase the likelihood of CRM data entry errors.
So, wherever possible, replace the free text fields with multi-select fields or drop-down menus.
Secondly, when you have abbreviations, either use all caps or all on lowercase. Here’s an example: INC (uppercase) can also be written as inc (lowercase). What matters here is the content style guide you establish for your CRM records.
Also, it’s best to always spell out numbers. Since there is a great deal of erring while typing the numbers, spelling it is a better alternative. So instead of writing 4th street, spell it as the fourth street.
Another discrepancy you might face your way - definite and indefinite articles. Either leave them out totally or move them to the end of the record name. So, instead of writing The Home Depot, you could either write it as Home Depot or Home Depot The.
Then what about punctuations? Chalk it off. Even putting an apostrophe in the wrong place can hamper you from improved data quality.
5. Manage Duplicate Records
Duplicate CRM records can find their way to your CRM when someone enters a new contact with different contact information and when the same person enters discrete contact information.
On my word, duplicates are frustrating and confusing. They can lower the productivity of your sales team and pivot from your sales goals. Besides, you’d also land up annoying your leads when you keep sending multiple emails and phone calls to the same person multiple times a day, assuming that it’s someone different.
This eventually can lower the probability of conversion too. Therefore, abide by the data management best practices and perform regular data audits to weed out your duplicates for an optimal success rate in your data management process.
6. Validate Your Data
Sometimes, your leads can enter false information just so they could receive your content or another offer. But there’s a way to halt this.
Place validation measures on the email and mobile number fields. This way, once a person enters the contact details, he/she will be asked to verify if the data they gave is valid or not. In the event of it being false, the user won’t be able to submit the form.
Also, ensure to include a reCAPTCHA on your forms to ward off the onslaught of the bots.
Make data validation a standard process, then you won’t have to carry the headache of invalid data in your CRM.
7. Ensure Data Protection and Data Security
You don’t ever want to become its victim and thus endanger the information of all your contacts. So, keep data security a top priority when it comes to your CRM data management.
After all, regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) didn’t come into force without a reason. And don’t think that this is a matter of concern only for the EU. Many other nations will follow suit, so adhere to the applicable guidelines and keep the privacy of your customers.
8. Import Only Essential Data While Importing Contacts
Let’s assume you have bought lead information, or maybe you happen to transform a list of leads from CRM X to CRM Y.
Do so with utmost care.
First, find out the source of data. Then understand the mapping fields while importing. In case you have irrelevant custom fields, don’t import that data. Focus and import only the most crucial data. This will keep your list clean.
9. Keep the Right Format
When you export data from an internal CRM X to import it to CRM Y, you need to keep a couple of things in your mind. Generally, you can go about this using a .csv spreadsheet for exporting and importing.
Also, check if your exported file is in line with the requirements of your new system’s data import process. Typically, this refers to the exact match of column headers and the data below. If you fail to ensure this alignment, you’ll see lots of errors and wouldn’t be able to transfer the data into your new system. Do this right, and you'd be able to improve data quality.
10. Have a Data Recovery Strategy
Accidents are bound to happen. So, you must have some sort of disaster recovery strategy in place. If you lose your customer data, it can detrimentally affect your automation, marketing campaigns and sales strategies.
You could regularly export your data and save it on a hard drive or store it in a cloud service like Dropbox or Onedrive, or Google Drive.
While doing this, ensure that your account has security permissions in place so that even if you get locked out, there’ll be a way to recover the data.
Bottom line: Create backups without fail. Then you can comfortably restore when calamity strikes.
Recommended Reading: Cost of Implementing a Retail CRM: Expectations Vs. Reality
11. Visualize Your Data
What do you think will enter your brains effortlessly?
Voluminous rows of data or visual representation of the data?
Well, research proves that 90% of the information that’s transmitted to your brain is visual. Also, folks who make directions with illustrations succeed 323% more than those who follow text-only instructions.
So, embrace the visualizations of your CRM data.
12. Do Away with Unresponsive Contacts
You might have thousands of contact records in your CRM database system. But do you know how many of them are active and current?
While it could be easy to count every contact as a potential customer, sometimes, unresponsive contact records can clog your CRM. Thus, your sales team would be investing energy in folks who’d never convert.
But do a cleanup, then you’ll get your sales team to dedicate their efforts to leads that have a high chance of converting. And really, as with duplicate contacts, thinning out your unresponsive leads will make your sales efforts more efficient and effective.
13. Track Your Lead Sources
Where are your leads coming from?
Well, knowing the source of your leads can guide you into where your marketing and sales teams must focus. Besides, knowing this can help you engage them better and prioritize contacts in your CRM database system.
14. Train Your Team
It’s always best to have a team training session. Where necessary, get your CRM employees onto 1:1 user training programs. This way, even when your CRM employees face some hassle or the other with the CRM data management best practices, it could all be sorted out.
CRM is the heart of running a successful business and plays a crucial part in helping you meet your business goals. Irrespective of whether you are a small or large-scale retailer, it would work perfectly well for you and through this CRM guide I hope you found your answer for how to improve data quality.
In fact, British Airways uses CRM software solutions to automate its customer communications and campaigns. The airline’s objective was to increase customer loyalty. To do so, BA launched a loyalty campaign called Executive Club. And running the campaign by following the best CRM data management practices, BA was able to increase the volume of requests by up to 150%.
They slashed their marketing expenses and kept growing their revenue.
Here's another example for your inspiration - Al Ghurair Retail.
These guys use the Ingage CRM to gain the valuable insight they need to increase their customer loyalty rates. With Ingage CRM, AGR garnered accurate insights into customer behavior to experience the following success:
- 50 basis points increase in monthly points redemption ratio
- 16.4% product recommendation campaign response rate
- 20 points increase in loyalty sales in a year
- 13X increase in results for phone app downloads
Besides leveraging Ingage CRM's outstanding omnichannel customer engagement solutions, Ingage's CSM team helped AGR follow these CRM data quality best practices. Customer data quality and data integrity, entwined with their marketing efforts really paid off.
Need a hand in developing a management plan for your CRM data? Feel free to connect with us.
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