Don't Let Bad Data Ruin Your CRM

poor deployment or integration, it can boost the reputation of the CRM system and get more people using it and wanting it to succeed.

That means the data retains its value and becomes a reliable source of information.

Without cleansing, CRM data inevitably becomes less accurate over time. Data hygiene is all about maintaining the value of data, and that means battling decay on an ongoing basis.

If the CRM has been established for some time, a retrospective clean-up is necessary, and this should be continued as an ongoing commitment to data cleansing to maintain a high standard of quality.

Key elements to doing this include:

  • developing a joined-up approach to data management, from the boardroom down;
  • ensuring your strategy includes every department that touches on data, and every system used to process and manage it;
  • understanding acceptable quality levels;
  • understanding regulatory compliance; and
  • having a desire to cut down on manual data checks and improve return on investment.

Without these driving forces, your CRM system will remain inefficient.

There also needs to be a fundamental change in the organization so that bad data isn't entered into the database in the first place. That might involve retraining call center staff or making sure the fields in the CRM system are correctly aligned to the information requested during calls.

Finally, the CRM system needs to be shielded from mass injections of bad data. Often, this takes place right at the beginning, when data is exported from another system and imported into the system. Not only is the data transferred "warts and all," but the export-import process is also ripe for data corruption to occur. Fields may become jumbled, special characters lost, and junk injected into the heart of the CRM system. If you prevent this kind of dirty data import, you can preserve your CRM health more effectively.

Data Quality Tools

Many CRM applications do not come with data quality tools, but that doesn't mean you can't introduce data quality measures into an existing system. By choosing a tool that bolts on to the CRM, your business can benefit from fully integrated data quality solutions, including automatic deduplication, matching and merging, and the ability to manually review fuzzy matches that may otherwise go undetected.

As the data quality in your CRM is elevated, the chance of failure drops. This allows your business to gain fresh insight into its operations, with accurate and timely information leading decisions on a daily basis.

Martin Doyle is the CEO of DQ Global, a provider of data deduplication, address verification, and data-cleansing software.

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