Taking the time to review the accuracy and completeness of your CRM data can have big payoffs for both internal analytics and external marketing efforts.
For many firms, customer relationship management systems are about more than just a client's address, phone number, and recent emails. These systems also contain the "soft" information that gives a more well-rounded profile of your clients. Inputting and maintaining this information is an investment of time. But the better the quality of the information captured, the more it can be leveraged to the benefit of your business.
Here are some steps for improving the accuracy and completeness of your CRM data.
Scrub Your Data
It is undoubtedly a chore to maintain accurate CRM records. Filling in the marital status field seems redundant when your clients are Mr. and Mrs. Smith; however, you need a value to export, sort, and report on, and that is what these individual fields provide. Identify those fields important to you and make sure all of your client records have a value in these fields.
How to find where you are missing data? The easiest thing to do is to create a view or an advanced find for all accounts, select all of the fields for which you want to check the data, then export it out to a spreadsheet. Limit your search parameters to as few as possible; for instance, rather than selecting just your household or business accounts, do a search for all of your active accounts. This will bring up a large list, but it will also bring up those accounts that are missing a designation, which may mean they aren't showing up in the lists and searches you expect.
Once in a spreadsheet, you can use the filter options to filter out the data that you are not interested in. If you want to focus on cleaning up just the data for your current clients you can easily eliminate business accounts, centers of influence, and inactive accounts from your view with filters. Then check for accuracy of the values shown and update fields that are missing data directly in CRM.
If there is a lot of data missing or that is inaccurate, check to see if your CRM solution has the option to import your changes directly back into the program from the spreadsheet. Many CRM providers allow you to export your data, enter/change values, then upload the spreadsheet directly back into your CRM program, allowing you to change hundreds or thousands of records in just a few minutes. Things to watch for with this strategy are typos for pre-defined fields, such as typing "marreid" in a cell for the marital status field which only allows "Married," "Single," and "Widowed" when in the CRM program. You can also inadvertently remove data as well if you delete values under a column, so take great care when using this option.
You also want to check for accuracy of the fields used for mass mailings. Are your salutation lines current, or have there been changes in marital status? Is the most current address in Address 1 or Address 2? Check those fields now when you are not under the gun to complete a mail merge for a mass mailing.
Leverage Your Data for an Internal Analysis
Now that you have all of your relevant fields populated with accurate data, you can start to gain insight into your client base. Learn more about your client base by calculating your male/female ratio and average age of your primary client. By populating the gender and date of birth fields for your clients, you can easily export your client data into a spreadsheet and calculate averages and create charts. Tracking the average age of your client base over time allows you to see if your client base is getting older and if you need to focus marketing efforts on a younger clientele, or perhaps to the inheriting generation.