Many organisations use a CRM system. However, the value of the information contained in such a system depends largely on its topicality and completeness. It is still common for organisations not to have this in order and for digital customer files not to be up to date. Inaccurate or incomplete data and duplicate data ensure that organisations cannot make the most of their business. The sales department can do its best, but without a good CRM system they are banging their heads against a brick wall.
We live in a data-driven society. Whether visiting a website, e-mailing a specific question or sending a simple WhatsApp message, we leave a digital trail of crumbs behind. Added together, all these actions provide a clear picture of a customer. An organisation can capitalise on these actions and come up with relevant communication, make personal offers and provide optimal service. To be able to build up a relationship, an organisation must store these customer data and journeys well. After all, effective marketing and sales activities are based on relationship data. These data can be found in a CRM system. But how do you keep this information sufficiently up to date that its value to sales and marketing is not lost?
Constantly changing data
The success of a CRM system stands or falls by the enthusiasm of the staff. They are the ones who have to process all the information via various channels. However, this is easier said than done. Companies go bankrupt, relocate, change phone number or use a new e-mail address. And what about all the take-overs in the IT world? Blink once and the CRM system is already obsolete. But updating the data is also time-consuming and requires concentration. An error such as three-digit postcode or a misspelled company name is easily made.
Drawing up a number of internal rules that relate to the CRM system is a good first step in preventing this type of error. By setting clear limits on what people within the organisation can and may change, you stop the proliferation of bad data. It is wise to appoint a CRM manager or Data Steward. Make him or her responsible for the quality and coverage of the database. To test the quality of the data, these managers should focus on:
- Coverage: Does the database focus on the core market? Or does it cover the whole market without in-depth information about relevant prospects?
- Quality: How is the database maintained and is the update date visible to the user?
- Segmentation: Can prospects be selected on the basis of relevant criteria?
- Uniformity: Has the database been built in a uniform and structured manner?
You could also consider sitting down with independent data suppliers to review the CRM data and enrich the CRM system with market data from an external database. By using an external database, organisations can supplement and update their existing relationship data. To then keep the data up to date, organisations can establish a link between the existing CRM system and the external database. The right technology makes it possible to distribute, process and integrate customer data with the data from other systems. This creates a total picture of all the available information within one central environment: the CRM system. Data that are changed in the external database are also adjusted in the CRM system with an automatic update.
New potential customers
But not only are the data kept up to date, by using an external database you also gain an insight into new potential customers. On average, 80% of prospects match the data in the CRM system, and the organisation is not even aware of the other 20%. By appointing managers to ensure good data quality and integrate your CRM system with an external database, you gain a total insight into the complete and current sales and marketing information and sales can win the customer’s heart.