We have discussed the importance of having a clean CRM, but how do you go about cleaning your CRM? Database cleaning is sort of like cleaning your garage. It’s a task that no one wants to do and usually only does it when things are a horrible mess. As we know, in the case of your CRM, that mess is costly. Having a set plan and implementing a few strategies up front can make this daunting task a little easier to manage.
- Create a set of guidelines or rules for how data is entered in your CRM. Ideally this will be put in place when you are setting up your CRM, but it is never too late to start. Decide how you want things entered. Will states be the two-letter abbreviation, or will you type out the full name, i.e. CA or California? How will you use punctuation? Capitalization? Which fields should be required? Which are optional? The more you can document how you want things to look, the more consistent your records will be. Make sure you share the rules with anyone who routinely enters records into your CRM. Reward and acknowledge those that are following the guidelines!
- Make sure you are using any clean-up tools that are built into your CRM. When you send an email, look at your hard bounces. Remove those email addresses from your data base. You can further make a phone call to those contacts to try to get an updated email address. If you send out a mass mailing, make sure you are updating any returned mail in your CRM. Large enterprises can have up to 30% of their records in duplicate. If your CRM does not have de-duplication tools built in, consider using a third-party tool periodically to remove duplicates. Make it a point to learn what tools your CRM has built in that can make routine clean-up faster and easier.
- Set up a schedule for routine maintenance. Cleaning your entire database can be a daunting task that no one wants to do. Break down your clean-up efforts into categories. Prioritize by customers, top prospects, brands, regions, etc. Decide what makes sense for how your company does business. Then set up a regular schedule to clean up those records prioritizing by importance. Create tasks as reminders to keep you on schedule. Get your staff in the habit of verifying information when they talk to contacts. It is easier to verify an address while you are on the phone with someone than having to make a specific phone call to do so!
A clean CRM will enable your sales and marketing team to work more accurately and efficiently. The financial benefits of having a clean CRM benefit your entire business. While it is not fun to undertake the task of cleaning your database the result is worth the effort!
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