Organising the data for your CRM is one of the fundamental building blocks to ensuring it is successfully adopted by the users it's intended for. We've put together five handy tips to help you understand the processes involved in successfully managing your data for CRM implementation.
THINK ABOUT HOW YOUR SYSTEM’S STRUCTURE WILL AFFECT THE DATA
Before purchasing your CRM software it’s important to know what you want to achieve. From experience, we often see confusions within client systems which can ultimately cause problems throughout the whole CRM. Begin by looking at your key objectives and business goals for the coming year and identify why you need a CRM and what you plan on using the system for. Ultimately this is closely tied to what data you have to import and what data you wish to collect going forwards. The data needs to be taken into consideration throughout these initial planning stages. What is the data structure? What fields do you need? How will you map relationships between projects, opportunities, organisations and contacts? A good consultant will ask you these questions at the start and these will help dictate your ideal data structure.
BE CAREFUL - YOU GET OUT WHAT YOU PUT IN
You CRM system will only be as good as the data you put in it. One of the fundamental errors that can occur when implementing data is to take everything from the old system and whack it into the new one. Before you begin the process, separate, segment and streamline your data. Work out which segments are relatively clean and which will need additional cleansing. Think clearly about what you want to put in and what will actually be relevant day to day. What data is going to get users to actually want to use the system? Relevancy is a guaranteed way to beat user resistance.
You may want to introduce various data sets over time but it is imperative to establish a clear process for data input before it is rolled across the business. Once the CRM is entrenched within the organisation, it will be much easier to deploy more advanced lead management and marketing automation programmes across larger prospect databases.
PUT THOUGHT INTO HOW YOU COLLATE YOUR DATA
Whether you’re purchasing new data or collating existing information, the data needs to be correct and up to date before being imported. Take a look at the last time the data was cleansed and decide whether or not a data cleansing exercise needs to be completed before continuing with the implementation. While the temptation can be to import as much data as you can at the start to get the project up and running, this can end up being self-defeating as an avalanche of out-dated data and duplicate records will only dis-hearten users.
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE TIME IT CAN TAKE TO UPLOAD AN EXISTING DATASET
Data management is a time consuming process. Prioritising, segmenting, de-duplicating and matching data can all take time and needs to be done with care to retain the right information. Plan ahead when organising data for import and if necessary use experts in data management and outsource this process to prevent precious time being taken away from what you know best, your business!
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A TRAINING PLAN
Staff education is one of the key elements in keeping a CRM system running smoothly. This training needs to include an overview of why data cleanliness is important and how to keep data clean and up to date. Establish the set processes for data capture before introducing all staff to the system. For example, if the system is being used by customer services then there should be a series of questions integrated into every call which can be used to ensure the details in the system are still correct. Keeping data clean is a responsibility of every user and is a continuous process.