Is Your Data Outdated? 5 Common Mistakes When Using CRMs and How to Solve Them

Having poor-quality data is costing your business a lot of money. Some estimates put the cost of bad data at $3 trillion for organizations in the United States. Poor data has also caused the failure of up to 40% of recent business objectives. Companies need to sift through and manage many types of bad data, ranging from human errors and system errors to outdated information. Still, the latter plagues most company CRMs without systems to catch the problem. You need a way to solve outdated data without slowing down.

If your marketing and sales CRMs house outdated information, you have an incomplete perspective on your business operations—you also lose insight into your clients. If keeping your CRM updated and integrated with your operations has slid onto the backburner, here’s a quick refresh on how CRMs are business-critical platforms for any organization. We also walk through five of the most common mistakes businesses make in keeping their data updated—and how to solve those problems.

The Importance of Having a CRM in Today’s Business World

91% of businesses with at least ten employees use a CRM—and many of those that do also report seeing jumps in revenue, customer retention, and conversion rates. A CRM is a dynamic database of your prospects’ and clients’ details to track marketing efforts, in-progress sales efforts, and activity throughout a customer’s lifespan. Without this platform, your business operations can start to break down:

  • Marketing can’t cleanly pass off leads to sales teams.
  • It’s hard to manage the timeline of individual transactions and see aggregate trends.
  • Client account details (like key contacts, status details, and strategies) get lost in silos and individual employee folders.

When all the members of your revenue team can easily view, revise, and add information to your CRM, business runs much more smoothly.

The Only Thing More Important Is Having Updated Data

While a well-running CRM is important, it’s only necessary because it provides the correct data and insights at the right time. If employees make decisions based on incorrect, incomplete, or outdated information, its value becomes compromised. Obsolete data can easily lead to:

  • Inefficient and frustrating communication with prospects and clients
  • Lost opportunities to upsell or cross-sell
  • Slow approval processes
  • Fractured client relationships

Related: Common Marketo and Dynamics Limitations: Improve Your Processes

5 Common Mistakes Companies Make When Using CRMs

Prioritizing data cleanup and recognizing the liability of outdated data is an excellent first step. But the problem can be too generalized or significant to solve at that level. Instead, identify where your company has made these five common mistakes regarding outdated data in CRMs. 

1. Having Incomplete or Inaccurate Data

If you had to picture the primary problem with data in your CRM, it would be this one. On the face of things, it’s a natural problem to have. A marketing professional (or your marketing automation software) might input just a few key fields of information for a new prospect: name, email, product of interest, etc.

This makes sense, because there should be very little required information at this stage. An excellent strategy to minimize the barrier to entry on contact forms and subscriptions is requiring as little information as possible from your leads; simultaneously, the last thing you want is a barrier that stops your employees from creating a new valid account record.

However, the problem can quickly snowball from there. Revenue team members might not fill in or regularly update the information or archive old details, especially if they don’t know which contact to focus on or which deals to prioritize. Critical information will never be provided in your CRM, old contacts won’t be removed, and anyone walking fresh into a new account has a hodge-podge of authentic, aging, and incomplete data to work with.

How to Solve It

Here are some solutions to both increase the amount of data added to your CRM and ensure the information is appropriately updated:

  • Set required fields for every stage so the account profiles, opportunities, and other pages reach a minimum threshold of ‘complete.’
  • Require the account managers to update or review key fields every quarter, six months, or year.
  • Regularly audit CRM details against all the pages within each CRM account and any integrated platforms.
  • Create a data integration ecosystem so the CRM automatically updates as new details come in from anywhere in your tech stack.

2. Operating the CRM With Insufficient Customization and Configuration

Many of today’s most popular CRMs are built with plug-and-play functionality. Almost any company can effectively make do with a standard iteration of a CRM. However, it won’t be a perfect match straight out of the box. Your team must tweak or modify the CRM to account for your company’s workflow, required data fields, and unique tech stack. Trying to force a CRM to work without customizing or configuring—or, in Salesforce’s case, engineering—can make your company start to bend around the platform instead of the platform bending to your business.

This can quickly lead to poor-quality data. Your employees may reappropriate different fields and try to include the data they need to be measured. Critical quantitative data may be relegated to miscellaneous or ‘Notes’ boxes, where it’s much harder to measure or share. You also can’t enact custom processes for checking and improving data.

How to Solve It

This problem requires a little more intensive work but is well worth it. Pull together representatives from each part of your revenue team and discuss the most inflexible or frustrating aspects of the CRM. If you have an in-house CRM expert, start compiling projects that begin with your top priorities. If you don’t have an in-house expert, consulting with your CRM provider or an agency can help you identify what changes can be made.

3. Poor Data Integration

Data integration has quickly evolved from an ideal situation to a business necessity. Virtually every platform in your company’s tech stack needs constant communication. Suppose they don’t speak to each other. In that case, your customer service rep’s updates in a platform like Zendesk won’t ever reach your sales team using Salesforce, and marketers also need to have that data to avoid sending a poorly timed promotional email.

However, poor data integration issues often go deeper than needing more data integration. Some common problems are:

  • One-way data syncing
  • Incompatible data types, leading to frequent errors or erased data
  • Poor data syncing that isn’t frequent enough
  • No automated “double-checking” efforts that catch and eliminate errors throughout the day

How to Solve It

The best way to solve this problem is to treat it as a separate initiative. A dedicated project for managing data integration and choosing a third-party ecosystemic tool can help set the foundation for seamless integration.

Related: Getting the Most From Your Revenue Stack: Unifying Data With an Elastic Solution

4. Lack of Data Governance

Data governance processes focus on managing data security, data integrity, and strategies for gathering and storing data. Many businesses don’t have a clear data governance policy. Instead, protocols are created over time, and the rules about who can access or change different pockets of data are unclear. This can lead to people accessing data without the proper clearance or even using tools and platforms to do it, resulting in a massive data breach.

How to Solve It

Develop clear-cut processes for your data ecosystem. Crystallize how data can be gathered (either manually or automatically). Also, decide which team members are responsible for ensuring compliance, implementing data management processes, and identifying problems with data.

5. Issues With Sales and Marketing Alignment

In organizations, sales and marketing teams often find themselves naturally at odds. This can manifest as only entering data into their respective tools—sales teams in their key account management software and marketers into their campaign engines, for example. Without insight into each other’s processes or an integrated RevOps strategy, sales and marketing teams might fail to provide the details other departments need.

How to Solve It

Changing workflows and communications to ensure both teams are on the same page can go along in ensuring collaboration. Automated data integration across the two departments’ platforms can also make the data easier to find, more up-to-date, and more straightforward.

Start Using Your CRM to Its Fullest Potential

Adding a CRM is one of your company’s best steps to boost operations. But if you’ve taken that step and it fell flat, it’s time to look at how you manage and integrate your data. At Vertify, we provide data integration ecosystems built to help your tools and employees speak to each other with straightforward data and a focus on performance. Schedule a demo to see how better data integration can transform your CRM.

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Matt Klepac