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How to improve CRM data quality and integrity

For modern dealmakers, a customer relationship management platform (CRM) may be the most critical element of their tech stack. This one piece of software is the foundation of relationships, the starting point for customer experience, and the bedrock of high-quality deal flow.

But your CRM is only as good as the quality of data within it.

Not every CRM is created the same, but one thing remains the same for every CRM software solution on the market: Its usefulness rests on data integrity. When data is input quickly and accurately, your team members can glean important insights and move toward a deal or a sale with confidence. 

When data entry is delayed, and when data is entered with mistakes or is missing details, your team can’t trust what they see in the CRM. They must then spend time validating the data or chasing down information.

Data integrity is the linchpin of accelerated, successful dealmaking.

Whether your company manages fast, transactional deals, or long-term, relationship-driven deals, the data integrity of your CRM data is mission-critical. In this article, you’ll learn what data integrity really means, how to plan your data management workflows to maintain it, and the steps you can take to improve data quality going forward.

stop wasting time with manual data entry—give yourself time to close deals

What is data integrity?

CRM data integrity is the accuracy, completeness, and consistency of data in your CRM—but it also extends to the security of your data in regard to compliance and regulatory requirements.

Compromised data integrity looks like: 

  • Bad data or poor data
  • Corrupted data
  • Inaccurate data
  • Incomplete data
  • Duplicate data or duplicate records
  • Delayed data capture

High-quality data looks like:

  • Accurate data
  • Complete data
  • Data uniformity
  • Data uniqueness
  • Timely data capture
  • Data security and compliance

Data integrity is the driver of trust in a CRM. And incomplete data can cost your company time and money when team members have to search out the information they’re looking for.

When your company is considering a new CRM software solution, data integrity (also known as data hygiene) should be a decision-making factor. If the CRM doesn’t make it simple and easy to keep your data clean and current, it should be eliminated from the list of options.

Plan your workflows with data integrity in mind

Garbage in, garbage out. The data integrity of your CRM starts with your workflows. 

Most CRM systems come with a large set of standard data fields, and you can add even more—but the more data fields you have to fill out manually, the higher the chance for error. Choose your data fields carefully, and maintain only the ones that have the highest value for your firm.

stop wasting time with manual data entry—give yourself time to close deals

If everyone in your company has access to the CRM, establish user roles to create accountability for data integrity. Define roles by function and responsibility. A sales manager may be granted higher-level access than sales reps, for example.

Many companies find value in creating a regularly scheduled auditing process, too. Here the appropriate team members will check the data for errors and omissions, and create reports of these flaws for the data owners to correct. In addition to keeping the data cleaner, this can also be useful for identifying points of failure in data entry and maintenance workflows.

How can you improve CRM data quality and integrity?

Does your company already have a CRM, and is the data already compromised? It’s not too late to clean things up. Follow these three steps to improve your CRM data quality.

 

1. Cleanse your database

A step beyond a scheduled, manual audit, data cleansing is a process by which bad data is detected in your CRM. Many CRM solutions (especially those with email marketing capabilities, since undeliverable email may get your company’s domain black listed) offer data cleansing as a built-in feature. A data cleanse looks for and flags inaccurate information including misspelled names, defunct email addresses and phone numbers, fake contacts, and corrupt data.

 

2. Standardize how you enter data

Set a company style standard for data formatting, including capitalization and abbreviations. Not only does this encourage consistency, it helps eliminate syntax errors that derail the delivery of mail.

 

3. Enrich your data with external datasets

Enriching data is the process of adding information to customer data to build richer customer profiles. Enriching data can also help you spot outdated or incorrect information in your database—like if a contact has changed companies. While this is often a manual process, tools like Affinity CRM offer data enrichment automation features so you can glean more insight from your business data by partnering with key industry data providers.

Eliminate the manual effort: Use an automated CRM with relationship intelligence

If all of this sounds like a lot of work, you’re not wrong. Building an effective contact database with clean data, and maintaining CRM data quality and integrity takes time and energy. 

But it doesn’t have to.

With Affinity relationship intelligence CRM, contact data and activity is automatically captured from email activity, calendar invitations, and video calls. This real-time capture ensures that your data is always accurate and up to date, minimizes human error, and everyone across your company can trust what they see in the database. Maybe more importantly, though, it saves your team members hundreds of hours per year on manual contact data entry.

Affinity connects to popular industry data partners like Pitchbook and Crunchbase to automatically enrich your CRM data. These automation tools help break down silos of information across your company, so everyone has access to the same insights into your contacts and deals. At a glance, anyone on your team can quickly identify which team member is the best person to take point on a new opportunity.

stop wasting time with manual data entry—give yourself time to close deals

With Affinity, your business processes, contacts, and deals are all consolidated in a single source of truth. You and your team members will no longer have to track down missing information, spend time on data validation, or worry about the timeliness of data entry. Your time can be spent on higher value activities.

The software your company uses makes a big difference in your workflows—and your CRM is no exception. While there are a multitude of CRM solutions on the market, few of them make your work easier. Affinity CRM automates the manual processes other CRMs require, and it integrates with the tools you’re already using. And you don’t have to wait months to use it. Affinity can be up and running across your entire company in a matter of days, and it doesn’t require painstaking training in order to use it.

Free your company from the drudgery of manual data entry, achieve a competitive edge, and get actionable insights from your CRM, so you can move faster in the market. Talk to a sales team member today to find out if Affinity is the right CRM for your business needs. 

stop wasting time with manual data entry—give yourself time to close deals