“Right, People. Let’s blast out that mail campaign we’ve been planning for so long. "
It’s time to put your trusty CRM software to work; to let it earn its keep. You run a search of people and companies you want to target.
You soon realize something’s wrong when your list is far smaller than anticipated. A quick check reveals many profiles/categories have not been filled in, impacting your search results. Further inspection shows numerous records are incorrect; others are riddled with typos. And that’s just for starters.
With a sinking feeling, you realize that last push isn’t going to happen in a hurry.
Time for some Damage Control or Preventative Maintenance.
Fortunately one of the most common reasons cited for the high failure rate of CRM systems - poor data quality - is also one of the easiest to avoid.
Your CRM software is only as good as the information it contains. As the old programmers motto goes ‘garbage in, garbage out’.
So how can you avoid incomplete, incorrect, irrelevant or out-of-date and generally unfit-for-use data from permeating your CRM software?
You need to gather your key CRM users together and thrash out a DATA CAPTURE PROCEDURE document, defining the rules of use.
You might as well address the issue of Backups while you are about it.
Once your Data Capture Procedure Document is finished, get everyone to sign it off as READ!
As standard practice, ensure that document is handed to all new employees at your company.
Refer back to this document for possible revision every three months or so.
Try this: select a couple of records - both good and bad - every week, to put on the overhead at staff meetings. Make sure you don’t unduly embarrass anybody but watch this become the light-relief highlight of your meetings! People learn best when having fun!
What if your database is in one unholy mess?
Has the rot set in so deeply that your database needs a complete overhaul? Turn this seemingly insurmountable task into an opportunity to you. This is an excellent excuse to re-establish contact with your clients and let them know you care. You can always put lapses down to data crashes but tell them you have fixed the problem!
Importantly, help your staff understand what you need from the data to facilitate more accurate marketing and reporting and hence the success of your business and their careers.
By creating a sense of pride and ownership in the company database, you are nurturing the essential process of buy-in, necessary for the success of your CRM initiative. Don’t compromise this critical tool by allowing your CRM software to be infected by inferior data.
About The Author
Perry Norgarb has specialized in Small Business CRM solutions for the last 15 years.
Contact him or find out more about CRM, Contact Management and other Sales Tracking software tips and solutions for small businesses at: .
You are free to re-publish this article as long as this bio box and copyright remain intact. © 10 December, 2004.