In a relationship-based business, maintaining CRM data quality is critical. Having high-quality data is the only way to ensure that your CRM investment has a positive impact on growth. With customer relationship management at the core of every successful firm, that means more and more teams are trying to perfect how they manage their data.
However, CRM data management is a big problem for most VCs, investment banks, and private equity firms. Your team has invested countless hours and thousands of dollars in implementing a customer relationship management system. But to keep your team members aligned so you can drive, manage, and execute deals, you must have data you can count on.
Having a centralized, accurate place to manage contacts, accounts, and relationships is a must.
According to Salesforce’s 2018 State of Sales report, a sales rep spends 66% of their time on administrative activities that are not directly tied to the sales process. Traditional sales processes and relationship-driven deal pipelines may differ, but that difference also means that professional and financial services teams are spending more time entering data—detail becomes even more valuable when building and nurturing long-term business relationships.
By freeing up the hours you currently spend on CRM data management, you can spend more time on the high-value, relationship-building activities that help you source and close more deals.
Dirty data could include information that is incomplete, incorrect, duplicated, irrelevant, out-of-date, or missing. The good news is that there are simple ways to avoid having dirty data in your CRM system.
The following methods can help you improve the quality of your CRM data, so you can increase system adoption and get more value from your customer relationship management solution.
How to improve CRM data quality
- Ensure your CRM system acts as a single source of truth
- Make it easy to create opportunities in your CRM—and give yourself room to grow
- Make the system as user-friendly as possible
- Define a standard CRM data management process
- Input clean, reliable data from the start
- Audit your CRM data regularly
- Train your team and provide support
Let's look more in-depth at each of these steps, so you can start to improve CRM data quality today.
1. Ensure your CRM system acts as a single source of truth
Your team members can see all interactions in one place, so your CRM system should be integrated with all your other business solutions, allowing data to flow freely. This integration should include every engagement your sales team or deal team has with your target audience, including phone calls, email messages, meetings, and all other touchpoints.
Your CRM system must be a shared source of truth across departments and teams, so everyone can see prospects, referrals, and potential partners at a glance, as well as spot the best path to introductions.
If your team has to input data manually, it’s not a single source of truth—it’s likely missing critical information and riddled with errors, because your team is busy! Consider a CRM with automated data capture to ensure that all data entry gets completed quickly and cleanly.
2. Make it easy to create opportunities in your CRM—and give yourself room to grow
To make sure you have accurate insight into every relationship your firm is building, make it easy for your team members to create opportunities. If you make them manually fill out hundreds of fields to put a new contact in the pipeline, they won’t use your CRM to track activities. When data entry becomes cumbersome, data quickly becomes out of date or incorrect and the adoption and usage of your CRM will decrease drastically.
Make it easy to add new opportunities to the CRM by initially adding a few standard, critical pieces of information. Once the contact has been created, you can always go back and add to (or improve) the data.
You can make it even easier to create opportunities—and make sure your CRM is always updated with clean data—by eliminating manual contact data entry in the first place with Affinity’s relationship intelligence CRM solution. Affinity automatically and accurately records every engagement with a contact, so you can focus on building your relationships. Real-time, high-quality CRM data from Affinity allows your team to collaborate with confidence because all of their contact information is stored directly alongside their deal flow pipeline.
Best of all, you’ll know that your CRM data is always accurate, with automated updates and enrichment from Affinity.
3. Make the system as user-friendly as possible
Find out where the friction points are with your CRM. Is the user experience positive? Does your CRM work seamlessly on mobile? Is it reliable at home, at the office, and in meetings with prospects and partners? Does it load and save quickly, or does it crash?
Find out what’s missing or broken in the CRM system, and work to fill those gaps one feature at a time. A quality user experience can mean the difference between a CRM full of valuable information and a potentially failed investment.
4. Define a standard CRM data management process
When it comes to improving CRM data quality and CRM data hygiene, process is key. Provide clear instruction to your firm’s team members about how your CRM system should be used, and what will happen if your data quality erodes (i.e. incomplete or out-of-date information that leads to missed opportunities or stepping on a colleague’s toes in your firm).
Clearly define all user workflows to streamline manual data capture, and make sure all team members know what CRM fields are business-critical for your organization and what is expected of them on an ongoing basis as they build relationships. Automated contact data entry helps minimize human error by setting these standards for you. Wherever possible, automating workflows can keep your data clean.
5. Input clean, reliable data from the start
Keep data on your contacts and relationships up to date on a daily basis. Stay in touch with people and enter new contact information immediately.
When you import new data, check for import or integration errors, or visually check for manual data entry problems. Bring in your technical team to fix issues right away, and have them resolve configuration problems that may continue to cause bad data. Some intelligent CRM platforms are designed to assist with data imports as well by automatically detecting and flagging duplicate data so your team doesn’t do additional work.
6. Audit your CRM data regularly
You don’t want a CRM full of bad data or dirty data. Perform regular audits to make sure your data is high-quality. Existing data like contact information and LinkedIn or other social media profiles should be up to date and accurate. Look for missing data like job titles or phone numbers. Start with quarterly data audits, and schedule them more frequently if necessary.
7. Train your team and provide support
User adoption is one of the biggest challenges of successfully deploying customer relationship management systems—and you can’t improve your CRM data quality if no one is using it.
Deliver consistent training to improve the adoption of your CRM. This training might include:
- Company-wide training events
- One-on-one user practice sessions
- Q&A workshops with key influencers at your firm
- Customized tutorials with the CRM system
No matter what kind of training you put in place, make sure to spotlight how much time and energy your firm’s financial professionals can save when they improve data quality and fully adopt your CRM system.
Automate high-quality CRM data entry with Affinity
When you manually manage data entry, the risk of human error and bad CRM data goes up substantially, leading to duplicate records, poor data, validating errors, and data integrity problems.
Affinity sets you free from CRM data drudgery by automatically managing contact profiles from your inbox and calendar information.
Every email message, calendar meeting, and contact is automatically imported into Affinity, and CRM data is updated instantly as you build relationships with investors, prospects, and target companies. With Affinity’s automated CRM management, you’ll free up over 180 hours per person on your deal team every year, which you can spend on dealmaking and meeting contacts.
To improve CRM data quality and excite your team with a customer relationship management platform they’ll love using, talk with an Affinity team member today.