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How to Manage Your CRM Data Like a Pro: 10 Best Practices

CRM data is the fuel for your revenue engine. 🔥

But, just like a real engine, fuel burns off quickly and then you need to put more in the tank.

As soon as your customer contact data hits your CRM, it starts to deteriorate. According to research by Salesforce, 70% of the data in your CRM becomes inaccurate every year. This can lead to several serious problems for you and your organisation. 

In this blog, we’ll look at:

  • Why CRM data deteriorates.
  • What that means for RevOps.
  • How to spot decaying CRM data.
  • And most importantly - how to fix it!

Scroll 👇 or use the menu to get started.

Why CRM data goes out of date

You can only really guarantee that a piece of data is accurate at the moment you enter it into your CRM. After that, anything can happen.

The company could change location or sector, or even go out of business altogether. The individual contact could change job roles with an internal promotion. Maybe they left to join a new company - the average tenure in B2B sales roles is only ten months; many people have changed their employment circumstances in the post-pandemic shake-up.

Whatever the reason, the data in your CRM is no longer accurate - and you’ve got a problem.

The dangers of out-of-date CRM data

For RevOps professionals, out-of-date CRM data can cause numerous issues. 

These are the biggest dangers 👇

1. Wasted time 

If the information on your customers and prospects in your CRM is out-of-date, your salespeople will waste valuable time. They’ll literally be trying to contact people and companies that don’t exist anymore.

Then, once they’ve established that the contact they wanted to speak to isn’t there, they then have to spend time and effort finding the right person.

Just think of the thousands of working hours that are lost to this.

It’s inefficient, right?

2. Lost deals

Out-of-date CRM data can also lead to your sales team missing opportunities to close deals.

If the data on your customers isn’t correct, it could mean that your SDRs won’t be able to find them at the time they need them, such as the contract renewal date.

3. Ineffective prospecting

It’s B2B sales 101 - the more you know about your customers, the more effectively you can sell to them.

When your salespeople are talking to prospects and customers on the phone, they need the most up-to-date information at their fingertips. If the information is out-of-date, it’ll be harder for them to personalise the cold call and make a pitch.

4. Limitations in strategic planning

Out-of-date CRM data means you’ll be working with inaccurate or incomplete information about customers and their preferences, behaviours, and needs.

This hampers strategic planning and leads to flawed assumptions and decisions. For example:

Outdated CRM data might not include information about customers’ recent purchases; this will make it difficult for you to identify cross-selling or upselling opportunities.

And when that happens, you’ll likely lose out on satisfied customers and revenue.

5. Legal issues

Finally, holding out-of-date data on prospects and customers could land you in legal trouble.

The GDPR sets out rules for businesses on how long you can keep personal data. It also prohibits companies from holding data on people who no longer want to receive communications.

If your CRM data is messy and disorganised, there could easily be some entries in there that breach GDPR regulations. You don’t want to be served with an eye-watering fine!

For more information, check out Cognism’s B2B data compliance guide.

Other CRM data issues

It’s not just out-of-date information that can make your CRM inefficient. There are other areas that you need to be addressed:

  1. Duplicate information - Many CRMs will have multiple entries for the same contact or company. This can cause problems if you don’t know which is the right one.
  2. Missing information - Filling out every field in your CRM can be time-consuming, especially when you have other jobs to do. But blank spaces in your CRM can lead to missed opportunities.
To deal with these issues, it's best to enrich CRM data using a compliant B2B data provider.

The warning signs of bad CRM data

How do you know if the B2B data in your CRM is due for an overhaul? Watch out for the following warning signs 👇

1. Your salespeople aren’t connecting with prospects

Are your salespeople not registering as many meaningful conversations with prospects as they used to? Have their cold call and conversion rates gone down across the board? 

When you investigate the issue, what are your reps telling you? Are they spending too long trying to get hold of contacts who have moved on or changed roles?

If so, it’s probably down to out-of-date data.

2. Your email marketing is tanking

When your marketing team sends out email newsletters or campaigns, are they getting a higher number of bounces compared to previous months or years? Are their campaigns far less cost-efficient than they used to be? 

If so, it’s a sign that your contacts have moved on and have had their company email addresses closed down. You need to update your CRM!

3. Your lead scoring/routing is failing

Lead scoring and routing are essential for identifying and prioritising high-quality sales leads and routing them to the appropriate sales reps.

If lead scoring or routing fails, high-quality leads may be overlooked, resulting in missed revenue opportunities.

Or they may end up in the wrong hands, resulting in delayed or ineffective follow-up. This reduces customer satisfaction and loyalty.

4. Your revenue figures are slumping

Finally, has your revenue taken a nosedive, but you’re not sure why? 

If the components of your revenue engine are still the same, but you’re not getting the same results from it, it may be the data that’s the problem.

High-quality data is integral to high-performance sales and marketing teams. If you don’t have it, you won’t win.

How to keep your CRM data up-to-date

Keeping CRM data up-to-date is critical for effective revenue operations. Here are ten best practices for ensuring that your CRM data is accurate and current:

1. Set CRM data enrichment goals

When starting a data enrichment programme, it’s good to have some goals in mind before you give the green light. What do you want your data to do?

Remember that the data types you’ll need for sales or marketing will differ. It’s also best practice to segment your lead enrichment rather than do it all in one go.

Having goals in mind from the beginning will make the later steps much easier for your RevOps team.

2. Establish data quality standards

Develop and communicate clear data quality standards to your teams, including rules for data entry, formatting, and validation.

3. Train employees on data management

Your teams need to know how to work with CRM data, including how to enter, update, and maintain accurate data in the tool(s) they use.

Work with team leaders/management to devise and deliver training materials.

4. Automate data entry where possible

Use automation tools such as web forms, lead capture forms, and data integration tools. Minimising manual data entry reduces the risk of errors.

5. Use data enrichment tools

Are you missing data points like email addresses and phone numbers?

Then use data enrichment tools (such as Cognism Enrich) to fill in the gaps in your CRM.

6. Encourage customer self-service

Ask your customers to update their own information through self-service portals or other tools.

7. Monitor data usage

Track how data is being used in your company. Identify any trends or issues that may impact data quality.

8. Continuously update data

Draw up a schedule for updating key data fields, such as contact information, purchase history, and account status.

9. Implement a data governance policy

Establish a data governance policy; a good policy should:

  • Outline the roles and responsibilities of employees.
  • Set guidelines for data management and usage.

10. Regularly review and update your data and policies

Once the data in your CRM is up-to-date, don’t think that that’s the end of it!

You’ll need to take steps to ensure it stays that way. Because of the speed at which B2B data deteriorates, enrichment can never be a one-off thing. It has to be an ongoing process.

Make CRM lead enrichment part of your normal routine. Schedule times for yourself and your team to regularly review and enrich your data with a lead enrichment tool. Conduct timely audits of your CRM data to identify and correct inaccuracies, duplicates, and outdated information.

Similarly, review your data governance standards and policies; we recommend once a quarter. Does anything need to change? Does your training need to be updated?

Bonus tip: Build an ELT pipeline for seamless data integration

Create a seamless ELT pipeline to integrate data effortlessly into your CRM. Automate data extraction, loading, and transformation from various sources, ensuring regular updates in your CRM. Test and monitor performance to identify and resolve issues promptly.

By maintaining an up-to-date CRM, you’ll enhance data accuracy and enable better-informed decisions.

Continuously evaluate and improve your data management practices to adapt to evolving business needs and technology, yielding significant benefits for revenue operations and overall success.

Cognism = the fix for your bad data problems

With Cognism, the common side effects of bad CRM data - lost productivity, missed sales opportunities and wasted marketing spend - are things of the past!

Use Cognism to refresh your stale records and fill in your missing data gaps. We guarantee your teams will always have access to the freshest, most accurate and compliant B2B data.

See the tool in action today! Click 👇 to speak with our data experts.

Request your demo now

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