The Money in the Data
-by Dean R. DeLisle
As our Professional Services Group continues to help companies with CRM transitions, it still amazes me the general health and organization of data maintained in our companies. Some of us pay thousands (some millions) of dollars to generate good leads and acquire customers. We also go through the trouble of keeping folders full of valuable information collected along the way. But then what do we do with it? Well, it depends on who we are. If we are at the front desk we might put name, address phone and fax (the most important things to us). If we are in sales, we might add email and what total value they have to us as a prospect or client. If we are in accounting, we may add the customer's credit score. This list goes on and on.
The key is consistency! Now in our example above we spoke of how different departments have their own portion of the record that gets maintained. However, 80% of the instances we walk into have data maintained differently based on the individual doing the entry. This has to stop! We have spent so much time, money and resources to acquire this data. It has immeasurable value and many powerful uses if kept consistent.
Once the data is consistent you can even make more money. Yes, I said MAKE MORE MONEY! You can enter the world of automated marketing. This means using your CRM system to communicate and sell to your prospects and clients without human intervention. Some of you know these as "drip marketing" campaigns. You can also integrate with other systems to connect to more information, like contract, service
and accounting data. Imagine saving a sale because, before you pitch to a client, you can actually see their service records and avoid talking to them at an inopportune moment. Happens everyday!
Here are some things you can begin doing to save your data before it becomes too late.
We will assume you have some level of a database or CRM system that can hold basic prospect and customer data.
1. Centralize. Have your critical contact data in a centralized database.
2. Appoint a "Data Steward". This is someone responsible for the health and maintenance of critical money-based contacts (leads, prospects and customers).
3. Have a simple clear process. This process is mostly for entering, importing and maintaining records. It can be a simple one-page document that can be monitored by the Data Steward.
4. Leverage your technology. In most cases and systems you can run a filter on
the records to find and fix them in mass. This can also be a function of the Data Steward.
5. Leverage your technology – again! Create rules and auto-fill fields on entry of new records. This can be done in most contact management and CRM systems.
6. Have a policy. This policy is for the Data Steward to regularly audit your data for mistakes. This will determine if any adjustments need to be made in the items listed above.
Please take this into consideration; we repeatedly notice a distinct difference in productivity, profitability and even company NET WORTH in our customers who value their money-based contacts like GOLD!