Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Overcoming critical barriers to CRM adoption - Part 1: Data Accuracy

This blog series summarise the three barriers identified in a recent “High Impact CRM” blog post, and provides ways businesses can overcome them. You can read the full blog post here.

Part #1: Data Accuracy
“Users often resist using a CRM solution if they feel that the data provided is riddled with errors or incomplete... Management needs to facilitate data cleansing and also integration with other core systems that ensure users get accurate and up-to-date data which they can put to action.”

In order to ensure that data in the CRM is accurate and up-to-date businesses must first ensure that any existing data is cleansed, and that there are processes and business rules in place to ensure that the data remains so.

Most popular CRMs should have built-in and/or third party tools that can help with the data cleansing process. They may also have features and settings that enable you to have some control over the quantity and quality of the data that is entered into the database, for example Sage ACT! has a duplicate checker, and also enables businesses to set up compulsory fields and field rules. Businesses can also create dynamic groups that identify contacts with incorrect or missing information.

One thing that businesses must be conscious of however, is the number of rules and processes that are in place as the quality of information you can extract out of the database will only be as good as the quality of information that is being entered. If a business has too many compulsory fields salespeople may be tempted to enter random information or might be reluctant to enter data at all. At Xact Software the compulsory fields we use are ID/Status, City and Country.

In addition to data cleansing the blog also suggests integrating with other core systems. One of the most common systems that is integrated with CRM is accounting. A good integration will ensure that basic contact data only needs to be entered once in any of the systems and the other will be updated. This will not only ensure the data in both systems is accurate and up to date but will reduce human error and double entry of data, and give sales staff a more holistic view of the customer.

Lastly, for larger organisations it might be worthwhile appointing a database manager who would have full access to all the features in the database, be conversant in the business processes and rules, and well trained to use the database to its full advantage. This person would be responsible for overseeing the quality of the data (i.e. running regular duplicate checks) and re-educating staff when required.

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