As we prepare to hand out candy to the ghouls, ghosts, goblins, princesses or whatever may knock on our front doors, one thing that most firms aren’t prepared for is managing their data on a regular basis leaving their CRM system in a nightmarish disarray.
Clean, correct and up-to-date data about clients and prospects is imperative for successfully creating strategic marketing and business development programs that lead to new business opportunities and increased visibility. But many organizations don’t have procedures in place to effectively manage this data, which can undermine firm goals and compromise overall performance.
The amount of missed opportunities to develop business with clients or lack of ability to successfully plan and execute events will keep any marketer or business development professional up at night with data quality nightmares. But, the good news is that data never stops coming in, so you have forever to get better at it. Plus, there are many proven data management processes and procedures you can implement to improve it.
1 – Inconsistent Data
One of the scariest data quality nightmares keeping marketers and business developers up at night is inconsistent data entry. This occurs when multiple individuals enter data using different formats, standards, or abbreviations when entering new contacts. Maybe one person is abbreviating first names (M. Myers) while another is typing them out (Freddy Kreuger). This can make it very challenging to maintain consistency and accuracy, and can even cause disruptions to the buyer’s journey.
To help create consistent data entry practices, we recommend establishing clear guidelines for data entry that help inform users how data should be entered, and implement data validation rules to enforce standardization. Some firms may benefit from regular data quality audits and ongoing data stewardship to help maintain long-term data integrity.
2 – Duplicate Records
Finding duplicate records in your CRM is almost as scary as the two girls standing at the end of the hallway from The Shining, and de-duplicating records can leave you as mad as Jack Nicholson’s character. Duplicate data occurs when customer information appears more than once in the database, or multiple variations of the same individual appear.
In the era of cutting-edge technology, modern software harnesses advanced algorithms to seamlessly detect and merge duplicate records, relieving your professionals of the burden of manual updates and markedly enhancing data precision.
3 – Incomplete or Missing Data
Are your contacts “ghosting” your marketing emails or even invitations? Or maybe you are hosting a costume party but can’t segment your clients and prospects from your competitors? Whatever the issue, incomplete or missing data can cause firms to miss out on important opportunities to connect with customers and create lasting relationships.
To ensure data is entered in its entirety, firms should have data capture protocols that ensure all required fields are consistently populated. Firms can also utilize algorithms or integrated tools to identify and finalize incomplete records which can have a huge impact on data accuracy.
4 – Data Integration Challenges
As low as your chances of survival are when facing a killer clown alone, so too are your chances for success when your data is siloed. Data silos are databases scattered across multiple departments making the information within them effectively useless and extremely difficult to manage. While killer clowns are scary, trying to consolidate thousands of records across multiple departments will send shivers down anyone’s spine.
Implementing a robust data integration strategy, utilizing appropriate integration tools and establishing data transformation rules can help streamline data integration processes. Regular data reconciliation and validation checks will ensure data integrity is maintained throughout the integration process.
5 – Lack of Data Quality Resources
Sure, Freddy Krueger visiting us in our dreams is scary, but do you know what is scarier? Investing thousands into a data quality project, spending valuable hours updating hundreds or thousands of contact records, just for the data to go bad within the next few weeks to months.
The resources you dedicate can vary depending on the number of contacts in your system. But regardless, you have to commit a certain number of resources to maintain the integrity of your data, whether that be data stewards who regularly go into your system and update records, or implementing processes and procedures to help maintain uniformity when data is being entered.
6 – Don’t Do It Alone
Just as you wouldn’t walk through a haunted house alone, don’t try to tackle your data quality issues alone. It is so easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of bad data that firms and professionals have to sift through and update. However, there are professional service firms out there that specialize in data quality and updating contact records.
They can help put things into perspective and create a strategic approach to data quality that is not scary, like identifying your most relevant contact records and helping begin the process of updating the first 100-500 records. It is so important to remember that because data degrades so rapidly, data cleaning can’t be a one-time initiative. Successful data quality projects never really end. Happy Halloween!
If you need help starting a data cleaning project or with a current one, CLIENTSFirst can help. For almost 20 years, the team at CLIENTSFirst Consulting has been helping professional services firms and other organizations successfully select and implement CRM and eMarketing systems and improve Data quality to maximize value, adoption and return on investment. If you need help achieving CRM Success, please contact us at 404-249-9914 or Info@ClientsFirstConsulting.com.