Nearly every CRM company and internal corporate IT department has taken a stab at solving the problem of keeping your data clean and quality. While it’s a real challenge, the answer is to never allow duplicates into your CRM system in the first place. Here’s a look at 10 data quality tips to do just that. For even more tips, check out the ebook, 15 Best Practices to Ensure Quality Data.
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.
2. Standardize Titles
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.
3. Enforce Your Plan
If your CRM provider does not have the functionality to enforce your plan and block the entry of bad data, it means you must either build or find an add-on to your CRM.
4. Train Your Technical Staff
If you enforce data standards via technology, data standards will be secured without training. However, don’t forget to train your technical staff, since they can sidestep regular procedures.
5. Oversee Product Integration
Do other products that bring information into your CRM adhere to your Data Plan? Beware of products that dump data to an Excel or CSV file. Sometimes it is unavoidable, however, direct exporting systems that comply with your Data Plan and do deduplication in real-time are always a superior choice.
6. Oversee Vendor Integration
Do vendors that provide you with list data deliver it in compliance with your Data Plan? Some vendors may push back at first; however, the entire process will go smoother if the vendor complies to the Data Plan. Hold your ground and remember that list providers want your business. Show them the format that you want your data and don’t compromise.
7. Oversee IT Development
Ensure your IT staff buys in to your Data Plan. The best way to make this happen is include the IT department in the development of the plan.
8. Pay Attention to Your URLs
Do you have a URL (website) field for each company in your CRM? The URL of a company is more important than a DUNS number, location or anything else. It is the single best piece of company-centric information that can be used to update your CRM over time.
9. Leverage Data Markers
CRMs include is a vast number of Data Markers. These markers are a literal road map to filling in missing data. For example, if 100% of the emails for a particular company have the email format of Firstname.Lastname@domain.com, then you can probably fill in missing emails for other contacts with confidence. If you have the email domains for contacts, but the account record is lacking a website, that can be filled in too.
10. 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.
When you bought your CRM, it was probably empty. Make sure you fill it quality data to keep it running smoothly.
Learn even more best practices in the free ebook below.