Creating marketing magic by mastering CRM data

For anybody in sales or marketing, the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is the heart of a customer-centric business. Your CRM holds the key to fostering strong relationships, driving sales, and delivering exceptional customer service. But the challenges with a CRM is that it’s only as good as the data it houses. Inaccurate, incomplete, or siloed data can lead to wasted resources, errors, frustrated clients and missed opportunities. In other words, you are not realizing your full growth potential. In this blog post, …..

The problem with poor data quality

Imagine sending marketing campaigns to outdated email addresses, or reaching out to the wrong contact person. Or even worse: wrong segmentation based on incorrect data, which in turn could lead to a disgruntled contact that could have been a great lead for your company. These are just a few examples of the consequences of poor data quality in your CRM.

Here’s a closer look at the problems this creates for your organization:

  • Wasted resources: Dirty data leads to wasted time and money spent on marketing campaigns, sales outreach, and customer service interactions that may never reach the right person.
  • Ineffective decision making: Inaccurate data skews reports and analytics, leading to poor decision-making across the organization.
  • Customer dissatisfaction: Reaching out to customers with incorrect information or irrelevant offers creates frustration and damages trust.

Common causes of data issues

It’s clear that not mastering data in your CRM can get you in trouble. And there are some very common causes for these issues.

Manual data entry

Let’s be honest here: nobody likes to do manually input data into a CRM all day long. It’s just not fun. But by far the biggest problem here is that this kind of work is prone to human error. It could be simple and honest mistakes, like typo’s in a person’s name, or inputting a last name into a first name field by mistake. People also sometimes lack the discipline to put the data into the right fields. We’ve seen first names in a CRM that had a description between brackets saying that that person didn’t work there anymore. It was something like ‘John (he left the company)’. Can you imagine what a personalized email would have looked like if we had just left it in the CRM like that? The point is: an employee chose to put it there, and that’s a mistake.

Data in silos

Another issue we see often is that companies keep their data scattered in different places. Again speaking from experience: we’ve seen companies using multiple accounts in the same email marketing platform, each sending their own emails per department. After closer inspection, the different accounts had some overlap in their contacts database. This makes it hard to know how many emails were being sent to one single person or to know what the right data are. We’ve also worked for a multinational company that used completely different platforms for customer facing work. Sales used 2 different platforms already, customer service used another and finance billed from yet another platform. Each one contained contact details about the clients they were working for. It was a nightmare to straighten out the data and it created quite some errors along the way.

No data governance

Without clear ownership and processes for data entry and updates, data quality usually suffers. It’s just unclear who should clean up a list of contacts, or how duplicates are handled for example. Not having processes is just negligent. And often companies make a real effort to appoint owners for different aspects within the CRM. But often this is not enforced within the company. We also see a lot of cases where data owners move onto a new job and the replacement is never given the ownership. The result is that data quality goes down very quickly and mistakes start to happen.

Limited integration capabilities

Chances are you’re using other platforms as well that also generate data. Ideally these other platforms integrate with your CRM, so you your data are all centralized. Some integrations however are quite limited: only a small set of data are synchronized. Sometimes you can buy higher level of integrations. You’ll need to evaluate whether or not the additional cost is worth it. 

Complex integrations

Some integrations are quite complex: they take a long time and a significant budget. These often require technical expertise, making it expensive. You’ll need to evaluate for your specific case whether this is a valid option or not. It might very well be your best option, it’s just something to really think through. Also, after the initial integration, you may need changes for whatever reason, which is also going to take time and might cause data issues.

Strategies for improving your CRM's data

The good news is that poor data quality in a CRM can perfectly be fixed. Here are some strategies that will help you significantly improve the quality of your CRM data.

Assign an owner

First and foremost, you should appoint someone in your organization that can take responsibility to look after your data. Make sure this job gets the attention it deserves. The person owning the data should spend enough time and energy actually making sure that data quality is acceptable.

Standardize your data entry

You should also develop consistent formatting of your CRM data. For example, how do you treat phone numbers: with or without the country code? Do you use spaces or not? Consistency helps a lot. 

Data validation

Many CRMs offer built-in features or integrate well with third-party tools to automatically check data accuracy during entry. If you are a Hubspot user, you may want to consider getting the Operations Hub up and running to help you clean up data automatically.

Promote user adoption

We talked about the importance of user adoption before. Training your team and providing clear guidelines for data entry and maintenance helps you in your data quality efforts.


Carefully map data fields

When you use other platforms alongside your CRM, take some time to make sure that you data are carefully mapped across different platforms. This ensure a smooth transfer of data between platforms and helps you keep data errors to a minimum.

Choose an integration-friendly CRM platform

Anything can be built in terms of software, but at what cost? A better option might be to select a CRM platform that already comes with great integrations out of the box. Many CRM platforms these days do integrate well. So go check if they have a market place and check if they offer the integrations you need for your business.

Benefits of a data-rich and well integrated CRM

By conquering data quality and integration challenges, you unlock a number of CRM of benefits:

  • Improved customer experience: A unified customer profile allows you to personalize interactions, anticipate needs, and deliver exceptional service.
  • Enhanced sales & marketing efforts: Accurate data fuels targeted campaigns, improves lead generation, and boosts sales conversion rates.
  • Streamlined operations: Automated data flow eliminates manual data entry tasks, freeing up valuable time and resources.
  • Data-driven decision making: Clean and integrated data empowers you to make informed decisions based on reliable insights.

We wrote an entire blog post about the benefits of using a CRM platform for your business. And I’m sure you’ll find even more benefits specifically to your own business as you start using a CRM.

The better the data in your CRM, the easier your work becomes as a marketer or sales person. We would as far as to say that the CRM is the beating heart of your company. The ROI of your CRM platform is largely determined by how well you use it, and data is an important part of that. A clean and well integrated CRM is the foundation for a thriving customer-centric organization. With this, you’re on your way to build stronger customer relationships, drive business growth and achieve your goals.

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