Are you data rich but information poor? Does the data within your CRM system illuminate or obfuscate understanding? If CRM is to provide the analytical raw material to support improved decision making then data will become a major consideration.
Put simply, data will be a part of the success or failure of your CRM systems. If you are looking to ensure the quality and consistency of the data in your organisation then be prepared to lend it a helping hand. The following are accepted ways of “adding value” to your users’ data. Some, most or all will be applicable but use them wisely.
As a CRM database administrator, you can enhance data by making some reasonable assumptions. As with all assumptions it is always worth testing them. For example, if everyone at an organisation has an email address in the format (First Name). (Last Name)@(Company Name) .co.uk. then you could use this to create missing email addresses.
Inherited data refers to the valuable information you gain as a result of joining your CRM system to other systems. For example, a simple link with an accounting system could provide you with previous and current years spend. Invaluable data when considering business development plans. Another Collier Pickard client linked their CRM system to the telephone switchboard and inherited lots of useful information on call rates from their clients.
If you have a clearly defined market and a suitable budget then it should be possible to acquire data. Professional and Trade bodies regularly make their membership data available on a list rental basis. Remember to check that the supplier has the necessary consents from the members. Also, make sure that there is a way to remove the data from your CRM system at the end of the list rental period.
As the name suggests this is the data that you ask for and receive. Simple examples might be feedback gathered as part of an on-going client satisfaction program. Even the feedback forms that you hopefully insist on at the end of webinars and seminars can be used to provide information to enhance your client understanding.
Previously I mentioned inherited data, data acquired from other systems. Typically, inherited data is top-level information. If your business development processes need transactional data then I would always recommend that this is treated as a separate data feed. The benefits of knowing to the last minute client billings within CRM may not be apparent to every user. Our experience is that fee earners prefer the high-level overview provided by inherited data – over the low-level transactions.
If there is no other way of getting it, then sometimes you just have to head out there and research data. Questionnaires and surveys are increasingly being used to improve our understanding of clients and prospects. Remember to trade information with your survey participants. Even your web site can be used to gather some information. If you have signed up to receive this blog then don’t be surprised if we from time to time pop a quick question into your inbox.
My earlier caution to use these tools wisely is based on the high cost of “getting it wrong”. Before considering any of these techniques for enhancing your CRM data make sure you understand why you are doing it. Every new piece of data will create a new data checking requirement. So make sure that it is earning its keep.
Data degrades fast these days. These are just some of our recommended methods of extending its usefulness. Would your user be more likely to contribute data if you were already enhancing it? Why not share some examples of where you have enhanced data and it worked …or even if it failed.
If you want to find out more about getting the most out of your data, please do get in touch and we will help in any way that we can.
Where can I get more advice?
With us! If you need help with choosing a suitable CRM system for manufacturing and engineering, or you want to make sure that your CRM project will be a success, talk to our team. We offer a free, independent CRM consultation that will help you get started with your CRM project. During the session, one of our CRM experts will help you define your needs, what your goals are and what tools you need to achieve these goals. Schedule your CRM consultation now!