Best practices for optimizing CRM data entry

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A customer relationship management (CRM) system acts as the source of all contact records for an organization, helping firms and sales teams keep track of contact and customer data, manage accounts, and prioritize their pipelines. But a CRM is only as good as the quality of the data in it—accurate data entry is essential for maintaining a well-functioning CRM.

In this article, we’ll explore what CRM data entry is, strategies for improving the data quality of your CRM, and tools that automate CRM data entry to help firms and sales teams find and close more high-quality deals.

What is CRM data entry?

CRM data entry involves inputting various details—like contact information, client preferences, deal size, and engagement history—into your CRM platform to create a holistic view of your customers and their interactions with your firm.

It goes beyond recording names and contact details to include chronicling every interaction with a customer, like emails, phone calls, meetings, and sales information. This can be extremely tedious and time-consuming, especially when done regularly for dozens of clients, prospects, LPs, partners, or portfolio companies, which is why many organizations use tools that automate CRM data entry.

The importance of accurate data entry

Accurate data entry is essential to understanding your customers, LPs, partners, or portfolio companies and maximizing the customer experience. It enables firms and sales teams to make informed, data-driven decisions, tailor their strategies effectively, and provide personalized solutions, which lead to higher retention and customer success.  

Effective CRM data entry is especially important in enterprise sales, which typically involves longer sales cycles, more stakeholders, and greater revenue potential. All of this requires more data input, data management, and a greater importance in getting the details right. 

For example, when deals get put on hold, take longer to close, or there are multiple sales representatives covering the same account, it’s crucial to have reliable, up-to-date information about your organization’s history of interactions with customers so you can avoid costly miscommunications.

Turning CRM data into insights

When CRM data is complete, it can provide more than basic contact or customer data and sales information. Instead, by analyzing your CRM data at an aggregate level, you can uncover key insights into customer, LP, partner, or portfolio company behaviors, preferences, and needs—all of which form the basis of relationship intelligence and can help enhance the customer experience and drive revenue.  

When you analyze the customer data in your CRM system, you can glean relationship intelligence insights that help firms and sales representatives close more deals. For example, you can uncover overlooked connections and identify the warmest path of introduction to a prospect, which can help close deals 25% faster.

Common obstacles with data entry

Despite the potential to unlock valuable insights, the effectiveness of your CRM data can be impeded by a variety of factors, mainly related to data quality. Common issues include:

  • Inaccurate data: Incorrect or incomplete CRM data can come from human error during manual data entry—for example, by making typos, misrecording information, or forgetting to update information when there are changes, like when there are changes in customer contact details or preferences.
  • Inconsistencies: Inconsistent methods for entering data can lead to confusion, missing information, and unreliable data. For example, sales reps may use different formats to input customer data (like dates or contact information). 
  • Duplicate entries: Duplicate data entries can happen when multiple team members input the same information into their CRM system without proper coordination, which clutters your CRM and is inefficient.
  • Data decay: Over time, CRM data can suffer from data decay where information becomes outdated or irrelevant—like with changes in customer circumstances, roles, preferences, or contact information. Without regular updates and data management, outdated information can diminish the reliability of your CRM data and distort sales forecasts.

These issues can result in wasted time, missed opportunities, and decreased customer experience and success.

How to maintain accurate CRM data

There are several strategies you can use to maintain high-quality CRM data and ultimately drive more effective outcomes, including:

  • Formalized processes: Establishing standardized procedures and guidelines for entering data—like using a consistent format and mandatory fields—helps avoid inconsistencies and errors.
  • Comprehensive training: Conducting thorough training sessions is essential for team members to learn the importance of accurate data entry and how to input CRM data correctly.
  • Regular audits: Implementing routine audits helps reduce errors in CRM data and enables you to assess data quality, identify patterns of inaccuracies, and maintain the integrity of your CRM data.
  • Automation solutions: Using automation tools can streamline data entry processes and minimize your reliance on manual data entry, which is time-consuming and prone to errors. 

Accurate CRM data facilitates more personalized customer interactions and informed decision-making. By streamlining the data entry process, sales reps can save time on manual data entry while reducing the risk of errors.

The advantages of CRM applications

CRM applications are centralized platforms for inputting, storing, and accessing contact and customer data. Certain CRM applications, especially those with automation features, can streamline the CRM data entry process to reduce errors and inconsistencies, ultimately improving the quality of your data. 

They can also provide valuable insights into customer needs and preferences, helping firms and sales reps personalize customer interactions and provide exceptional customer experiences.

Using CRM automation tools

When looking for a CRM application, it’s important to prioritize tools with automation functionality. Automation tools play a crucial role in boosting the cleanliness of your CRM data. 

For example, by automating repetitive data entry processes, you can ensure your CRM system is populated with complete, reliable information while reducing human error. This enables organizations to not only make more data-driven decisions but also personalize interactions with customers and develop more effective marketing and sales strategies.

CRM automation tools like Affinity and Affinity for Salesforce automatically capture data from your email, calendar, and browser to surface key insights directly into your CRM. With Affinity, firms and sales representatives can save over 200 hours per employee each year in manual data entry, giving them more time to focus on revenue-driving activities.



What does a CRM do?

A CRM, or customer relationship management system, helps organizations manage their customer interactions and relationships. It keeps track of customer information, helps streamline sales processes, and ultimately aims to improve business relationships and outcomes.

What is CRM data entry?

CRM data entry involves inputting deal-related data and customer data (including contact, demographic, and deal information) into a CRM, either manually or via automated tools. The result is a more holistic picture of prospect and customer interactions, preferences, and needs.

What does CRM data do?

CRM data helps organizations manage customer information. It provides important information for firms and sales teams to improve customer relationships, make more informed decisions, and drive business growth.

How do I enter data into a CRM?

To enter data into a CRM system, it's important to follow clear and standardized procedures. For example, use a consistent format for entering phone numbers to ensure consistency and accuracy. This approach helps maintain uniformity and improves the overall data quality in your CRM. This is also where you can use CRM automation tools like Affinity and  Affinity for Salesforce to automatically capture data from your email, calendar, and browser and surface key insights directly into your CRM.

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