Nearly every CRM company and internal corporate IT department has taken a stab at solving the problem of keeping your data clean and quality. The answer is to never allow duplicates into your CRM system in the first place.
1. Create a CRM Data Plan
Since there is no single rule for a company name, and every company is unique, a CRM Data Plan comes into play to set the standard rules. It’s where you start the entire process.
Even within a single data point like a company name, there can be many rules regarding how to format that data. A CRM Data Plan covers a set of rules as it relates to contact information in a CRM. Rules exist for company names, URLs, names, titles, and much more.
A CRM Data Plan is critical to successfully tackling CRM deduplication. To comply with best practices, your CRM Data Plan should be centrally stored, and accessible by anyone who enters data into your CRM. In essence, the Data Plan acts as a single-point-of-truth for your company and how it treats data.
2. Standardize Titles
As mentioned in the first point, a Data Plan is simply a set of standards for CRM data. For example, review the following ways to write:
- Director of Human Resources
- Director, Human Resources
- Director of HR
- Human Resources Director (and 5 other variants)
Lack of standards is a problem. The solution is a technology that enforces data standards. Once a standard is built, then all data passing through the CRM is standardized. Some organizations attempt to enforce data standards through training alone, but that won’t work. The only way to secure your data standards is by enforcing them via technology.
3. Enforce Your Plan
4. Train Your Technical Staff
If you enforce data standards via technology, data standards will be secured without training. However, your technical staff can sidestep regular procedures. They can import data, merge databases and do all sorts of things that don’t follow traditional data entry processes. Without training your technical staff, your CRM Data Plan can be undermined. This team can circumvent the constraints put on the average user, so make sure your technical staff is on board with your data plan.
5. Be Ready for Constant Redesign
It’s not possible to design a complex CRM system that stays 100% to the original design. Why do major software implementations fail and go over budget? Simple: The initial design did not encompass the complexities of the real world. Balance design with diving in and checking your data premises. Be agile, be creative and get user feedback at critical milestones.
Here’s a redesign example. Which data fields are your CRM users actually leveraging? Over time, every CRM implementation adds fields, but are they being used? A great application that simply measures the utilization of fields within your Salesforce CRM is Fieldtrip. It will give you a report of which fields are actually being used and how often. Fieldtrip can help you assess and redesign, based on real-world usage.
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With these steps, and more in the ebook below, we can all have clean data for the life of our CRMs and organizations.