Over the years we have worked with a lot of client data; primarily with email campaign platforms but more recently with CRM platforms such as Salesforce and PipeDrive. The same general question gets asked; “How can I improve customer data?”. Now, of course, each business is different but there are some general tips which should help you improve the quality and integrity of your data.
Remove Duplication: Remove Duplication
Duplicate records can be a real issue in any CRM and will affect every step of the sales cycle, leading to reduced or lost revenues, wasted resources and confusion;
- Staff Conflict: Duplicates can cause different sales reps to chase the same lead resulting in redundancy, confusion and annoyance from the client.
- Sales Commission: It’s difficult to calculate a sales commission for staff when a lead is being handled by multiple reps due to duplication.
- Misaligned Data: Incomplete data will exist across multiple records which means you never get the full picture on a lead as the data is spread across multiple records.
Create Quality Profile Data
Profile data in a CRM can quickly become inaccurate or out of date. Bad profile data can be just as detrimental to your client relationships as missing data – sometimes more so.
- Communication Error: The slightest input error can invalidate profile data resulting in the loss of sales.
- Channel Conflict: When your sales team cannot see links between companies or individuals (e.g. subsidiaries) it is possible that different sales reps may chase and claim the same clients.
- Deteriorating Data: Even with regular updates there are long periods in which data can go stale and the longer the periods between validation the less accurate and useful the data will be.
It’s critical to have a solid data procedure in place for managing customer data. These days this really shouldn’t be a manual input process that your sales team is required to complete. Rather, there should be tools to help make this a more efficient process, thus reducing time whilst increasing accuracy.
Build a Wider Profile
It’s not just raw contact data that is important. Building a more complete profile on a customer is critical and this is where multichannel approaches play their part..
Social Media can provide a rich source of data on a person, such as what subjects they are interested in, their most used platforms, behaviours in consumption (is it email, twitter or LinkedIn), preferred device (indicators for which device they use can be found and used in campaign targeting), how often they engage, how long they engage and with whom.
This level of information not only gives you a better understanding of their current needs, but also their future needs based on their preferred activity and consumption preferences.
Organic data which can be fed back into a CRM can be invaluable. Email campaign behaviour such as opens and clicks can help identify which type of promotion the customer is interested in. Couple this with results from your e-commerce platform, you can then see what pages the customer visited, what items were of more interest and the journey the user took through the site. With tracked A/B testing you can then see which Call To Action enticed the customer to purchase. The order information can be tracked back against previous orders, quantity, expenditure and more and offers for similar items of interest can be displayed at the right time.
Each stage may be executed via a different platform but integrating this data back into the CRM via APIs or other data-processes will improve the profile on that individual, such that you will be able to send very customised and specific marketing campaigns which are relevant and timely, resulting in an increase in revenue, better user experience and greater brand advocacy.
Push the Data Out
CRM data can and should be shared across multiple teams and departments. Technical support teams can leverage updates to a profile’s status based on other conversations and data that has been recorded by other staff members. Marketing teams can assist sales by creating better targeted campaigns based on social media data.
The data in a CRM can also be used in external platforms to create much more targeted campaigns. For instance you can upload contact lists to Facebook and Twitter to create advertising campaigns based on that data.
Segmenting your data in the CRM and utilising Facebook or Twitter’s huge database to create custom audiences and highly relevant campaigns can reduce your costs but increase your returns drastically.
This isn’t just about synchronising data, but other important items such as calendars. If the CRM doesn’t synchronise with staff calendars, importing client-related meetings, then it’s time to look for a new solution. These very basic interactions, (be that physical, on the phone or via the web) should be recorded on the client’s record in your CRM without you having to double-enter them by hand.
Really good platforms will work regardless of whether you are arranging a meeting via Outlook, Google Calendar, iCloud or otherwise.
Link the Social
Your CRM should be integrated with social media platforms where possible. This will allow social media accounts based on a client’s email address to be gathered and applied to that customer’s profile automatically without human intervention.
Sales staff don’t just sit behind a desk armed with a phone any more. They are out and about, meeting clients and prospects, using laptops, tablets and smartphones whilst on the move. Your CRM should allow sales teams to operate seamlessly whether they are in the office or out in the field, therefore it should have a solid mobile interface to allow for usage (if only of key functionality) outside the office.