Why should I invest my time, energy, and money into maintaining CRM data?
This is a question that many organizations don’t have a good answer for until they grow, and the true costs of low-quality and poorly maintained data begin to rear their ugly heads.
Over time, the business impact of not maintaining your CRM data becomes more clear, but much of the impact is nuanced and difficult to measure.
In the past, we have covered what we believe are the most important stepping stones of customer data management evolution. The first step on the path to “data enlightenment” is awareness. You have to be aware that you have a problem to fix it, and nearly every company has at least some data management issues.
As companies grow, the obvious impact of data issues becomes impossible to ignore. And when companies begin to become aware of that impact, they start to look for solutions. The more that they are able to sort out their issues, the more acutely aware they are of the business problems it was causing. It’s a feedback loop. The more they dive into data maintenance, the more obvious their previous problems become.
But getting to that point still requires that initial spark — usually a data-related aggravation — to get them invested in data maintenance and heading down that road.
Companies that have yet to have that ‘spark’ are often ignorant to the true effects of data issues, and ignorance can be bliss. IBM estimates that bad data costs U.S. companies more than $3 trillion per year.
To understand the business impact of not maintaining your CRM data, you have to take a broad view of how that data is used.
Customer data touches nearly every department in an organization — marketing, sales, support, success, IT, finance — they all rely on it to do their jobs.
So the problematic issues within that data flow throughout your entire organization. Maybe a particular problem only impacts one single department — for instance maybe a phone number formatting issue mostly affects your sales team because it causes issues with their autodialing solution. But others issues won’t be so confined, and will impact everyone in some way.
Duplicate records, for instance, can mean that everyone that works with those records either has to spend time merging the records, or works with only partial context. A seemingly simple problem, such as a contact’s first name not being capitalized, can cause a slow-down for every person that comes across that record. Sure, it’s just one record. But multiply that by the number of records in your database, then by the number of fields in your database, then finally the number of potential data issues in each field, and what do you have? A mountain of data issues that can seem almost insurmountable. And each of those issues is having a small impact on your organization’s overall performance.
Let’s take a look at exactly how failing to properly maintain your CRM data impacts different departments inside of your average company.
- The Impact of Poorly Maintained Data on Marketing
- The Impact of Poorly Maintained Data on Sales
- The Impact of Poorly Maintained Data on Support Teams
- Data Plays a Key Role In Experiences Throughout the Customer Lifecycle
- How Insycle Automates CRM Data Maintenance
- Insycle Helps Improve Data Maintenance Across Your Organization
The Impact of Poorly Maintained Data on Marketing
Marketing campaigns are only as good as the customer data that they use. That customer data allows those marketers to segment their list and personalize their communications in a way that will resonate with the audience.
Customers need to feel like they are being spoken to directly for the messaging to have an impact.
Ultimately, low-quality customer data holds marketing campaigns back. Data that isn’t cleaned and maintained can’t be used with confidence, which often means that it won’t be used at all.
For example, if you weren’t fixing issues with first name capitalization, you might refer to someone as “sara” instead of “Sara.” Injecting data with errors into your marketing automation campaigns breaks the veil of personalization and hurt your reputation with customers and prospects. Your marketing team, knowing that you have capitalization problems throughout your database, might shy away from using the prospect’s name in future communications, making your messaging seem automated and wooden. The impact of that kind of thing is hard to measure, but clearly customer opinions have a real-world effect on marketing ROI.
This is a simple but common example. The same problems exist in every field throughout your database. You can’t use phone numbers or addresses if they are not formatted correctly. Even filtering and segmenting contacts can be incredibly difficult if your fields aren’t standardized. Good luck segmenting out “CEOs” when they are represented in dozens of different ways within your data — CEO, C.E.O., Chief Executive Officer, Founder/CEO, etc. It’s impossible to account for every variation and therefore some will be missed, leaving money on the table.
Without reliable data, you can’t even appropriately filter your data to reach specific audiences — a hallmark of effective marketing.
But there are other ways that low-quality data impacts your marketing teams as well.
For instance, your email marketing reputation plays a critical role in your company's ability to connect with your prospects and customers. Breaking that veil of personalization can lead to more people marking your marketing emails as spam, hurting your deliverability. Without proper data management processes in place, your email reputation will suffer. You'll send emails to prospects that will bounce or will end up in the “Promotions” tab inside of Gmail and other email clients.
Prioritizing data maintenance makes marketing teams more effective — and effective teams are happy teams.
The Impact of Poorly Maintained Data on Sales
A lack of focus on data maintenance also has costs associated with your sales teams as well.
When your data isn’t maintained, it isn’t reliable. Your sales teams can’t trust that the information that they have access to is accurate. This impacts their ability to sell. Over time, they lose faith in the data and may begin to conduct their own research outside of your CRM to make up for the gap.
When sales reps can’t trust your records, they will keep their own. They have to add extra steps to their processes. Then analyzing and optimizing your sales processes is nearly impossible. Too much work is happening outside of the channels that you track.
That also slows them down and limits the number of new deals that they can close. If part of their pay is commission-based, a lack of focus on data maintenance has a direct impact on their bottom line and sours their feelings about the company that they work for over time.
Ask any sales director about the data-related problems they have in their organization, and many will likely tell you that getting their reps to trust their data and appropriately use their CRM is often an ongoing struggle.
Account-based sales (ABS) strategies are particularly reliant on well-maintained data. In ABS, you don’t just need accurate data about one prospect within an organization — you need accurate data about every stakeholder within the organization that you are targeting. Depending on their position, you may want to employ a different approach. In enterprise sales the stakes are higher, and data quality is critical.
Accurate data impacts the way that sales reps engage with prospects at every stage of the sales process. The usability of your data directly impacts their ability to connect with prospects in a meaningful way and close new deals.
The Impact of Poorly Maintained Data on Support Teams
Like marketing and sales teams, your customer support teams also rely heavily on accurate and usable CRM data.
Today, customers expect support reps to have a full understanding of their previous interactions with your brand. A customer experience promoter has a lifetime value to a company that’s 600 to 1,400% that of a detractor.
It’s impossible to accurately guess what your customers want and care about. Only collecting, using, and optimizing data can provide insights that scale. Your ability to pull insights from those interactions and respond in ways that will make your customers happy, relies on your ability to collect and maintain customer data.
A common problem like duplicate contact records directly impedes your ability to do this. When a contact has their data split up between two or more different records, finding the information that you need becomes more difficult. Doing so in a timely fashion is almost impossible.
Data issues mean slower and often less-informed support from your reps. It also means that they will be less precise in their recommendations, which impacts the customer experience as well. With customer support playing such a critical role in how your customers feel about your company, it doesn’t make any sense to have them be hamstrung by poorly maintained data.
Data Plays a Key Role In Experiences Throughout the Customer Lifecycle
To understand the impact that data maintenance can have on your company, you have to see the full spectrum of impact that the data has. It plays a critical role in the experiences of customers throughout the customer lifecycle.
Whether they are first discovering your product or service or have been with you for years, data impacts your ability to speak to the issue that they care most about. A lack of data limits your ability to understand what matters to them at all.
Better data means more personalized experiences which leads to:
- Higher order values. When you can predictably determine what other products your customers would be interested in, you can offer appropriate upsells that increase average order value.
- Improved customer loyalty. Customers that work with brands that feel that they truly understand them develop loyalty over time. Data maintenance puts you in position to show that you care.
- Increased word of mouth referrals. When your customers are loyal they will be more likely to recommend your company to friends and colleagues.
- Improved brand awareness. Beyond referring customers to you, your customers will be more likely to share positive experiences that they have had with your company.
- More repeat customers. When customers have a great experience with a company, they are much more likely to return. It can cost 5x more to acquire new customers than to keep current customers.
Your commitment to data maintenance impacts so much more than you would think on the surface level. It impacts every engagement that you have with customers and prospects.
How Insycle Automates CRM Data Maintenance
Insycle automates CRM data maintenance so that you can focus on optimizing processes, not running complicated data maintenance tasks by-hand.
Using Insycle’s Customer Data Health Assessment, you can identify many of the most common data issues, including things like:
- Duplicate records
- Capitalization issues
- Identifying garbage data
- Identifying missing data
- Standardizing data
With just a click of the “Fix” button, you’ll be taken to the right tool, with the correct template pre-loaded for fixing specific issues in your CRM data.
Then, those same templates can be scheduled to run automatically on a regular basis.
Imagine never having to fix simple data issues by-hand again. No more filtering data, exporting it, running complicated Excel functions, then re-importing it back into your system.
With Insycle, your data updates run automatically on a set schedule, allowing your team to focus on big-picture optimizations that limit the impact of non-maintained CRM data across your organization.
Insycle Helps Improve Data Maintenance Across Your Organization
Maintaining your CRM data plays a critical role in the effectiveness of any team that uses that data, throughout the customer lifecycle.
Using Insycle, you can get your data management under control. Insycle helps you to identify and fix issues with your data while automating the fixing of those issues moving forward.
You can try Insycle free today and make the commitment to maintaining your data by signing up for a free trial.