3 CRM Essentials – Data, Data, Data

Two Account Managers met at the coffee machine.  One said to the other ‘How did your meeting go last week?’  ’Good’, he answers, ‘I put it in the system’.  ‘Hmm I checked this morning’, said the other, ’there was nothing there’!  Oh no it’s that b.. CRM again…

This is a conversation which happens often.  So is it CRM’s fault?  Well in one sense it is, but it’s not the system, it’s the way the data is managed, or not managed, as in this case.

Both account managers did the right thing, however the problem is that the company record has been added twice, maybe three times and this negates the benefit of having information there in the first place.

Poor Data Management is one of the main reasons why CRM fails.  As soon as users think that entering data is a waste of time they will stop doing it, or doing it effectively.

Good data management is crucial and here are a couple of tips which help to improve the situation immediately:

  1.  Have a process for verifying newly created company records

 Of course, when a salespeople meets a new company he/she will want to add information quickly.  If they can’t find the record, they will create a new record ‘on the hoof’, then add the meeting notes, set up an opportunity etc.  This is where the problem starts.

Clearly managers want sales people to sell and not to administrate, however while I would expect more discipline that this, we have to be practical.  In all cases new company records should be vetted by admin.  They will make sure that the company name is correct with the right format, properly spelt and categorized.  In addition, they will create any parent/ child relationships and all other useful data that will be required later on.

  1.   Reduce the number of items in your ‘drop down’ pick lists

The golden rule is ‘Less is More’.  Here are a couple to consider:

  • Check that everyone understands what each stage in the sales process means.  If two sales go to the same new business meeting, would they both agree on the opportunity stage of this prospect when they come out?
  • Review your product list.  Is it confusing?  Do different parts of the business call the same product a different name? Is there too much detail on it?  Generally, having fewer well defined drop down items will make it easier for users and enable much better reports for opportunity analysis and client targeting.

Where is data management on your priority to do list?