Most marketers will tell you that having a clean prospect or customer database is important to do their job more effectively. However, in the constant pursuit of attracting new leads for sales, maintaining the data in your CRM is often an overlooked task with no owner and done sporadically (if at all).
Whether it’s duplicate leads, incorrectly tagging a prospect or customer, or text that is entered in ALL CAPS, bad data issues like these end up creating more problems for you. The lack of clean CRM data means your day is less efficient, your reports may be inaccurate, or your emails may go to the wrong contact!
No matter how insurmountable clean-up may seem, it’s a hill we all need to find the time to climb. Here are three steps to help you get started.
Find an Owner and Schedule the Maintenance
Yes, it’s easier said than done, but if data clean-up is done regularly then it won’t seem as big of a task. But who will take this on? You? Your CRM Champion? Sales Ops?
Whoever you choose, your best bet is to find a person in your company who is more process driven or analytical in nature and who likes working with data. They need to own clean-up and make it part of their regular activities. Whether it’s taking a few minutes at the start of every day or a once-a-month scrub, incorporating clean-up into your regular routine is a very important step in your journey to a clean database.
TIP: To carve out the time, schedule it as if it were a meeting, that way you block out the time you need (e.g. an hour a week or 15-minutes a day).
Keeping Your CRM Data Clean Starts with Data Entry Best Practices
The key to maintaining a clean database? Set up guidelines before the data is entered into your CRM.
1. Keep Data Entry Consistent
When data is being entered manually it’s important to set out some general guidelines. How do you want people to enter phone numbers? Dashes between the numbers or dots or spaces…etc. Whatever you choose, you need to think how these fields work with the other systems you use and enforce that standard across your company.
2. Store information in the right field type
Keep the data consistent with your field type. If you want people in your company to enter a number to answer a particular question, use a number field or a drop-down (not an open-ended text field). For example, if you have a question in your CRM about the number of bathrooms a prospect wants in their new home, set up the field so it’s a drop-down list with numbers already listed as options. This way when you create a custom list to target people in your campaign, no one will be missed when you send your email.
3. Document data entry rules early, communicate them to your team, and enforce them!
Every person in the company who uses the CRM needs to do their part in keeping the database clean. To help make it easier for them, document and then communicate, the data entry practices you want them to follow.
If you know what you want your data to look like, create a quick cheat sheet so they can post it in their work area. A simple one-page doc can go a long way.
TIP: It’s a good idea to have those rules as a “News” item on the landing page in Lasso CRM so all users see them every time they log in.
4. Think about the impact on reporting
The saying garbage in, garbage out (no matter how cliché) sums up this point perfectly. If your data isn’t entered into the correct fields or inputted incorrectly, this can impact your reports and result in basing your business decisions on bad information.
5. Communicate to the team what each data option means
As part of the cheat sheet (or by taking advantage of the News section on the landing page in Lasso CRM), make sure to define the options associated with each field. For example, for the Ratings field you may have options such as A-Hot, B-Warm, C-Cold etc. mean. Does everyone on your team understand what an “B-Warm” lead is? In your cheat sheet include definitions of each rating so people understand where the registrant fits into the process and can assign them to the correct rating. The accuracy of this information can help with your campaigns and reporting.
While no one likes to be seen as the “bad cop”, remind your team that clean data is for their benefit…the better the data, the better your company can market to your prospects.
Lasso CRM Clean-up Tricks You Can Use
Inside Lasso there are a number of tools you can use to clean up your data. If you’re looking for more detail on data manipulation, you can review the blog 7 Steps to Maintain a Clean Database for more information.
Probably one of the biggest headaches we face as marketers. In Lasso, you can merge duplicates in the Sales Center or Client Admin areas of the system.
1. Sales Center:
The big advantage using Sales Center is that you can see what data is associated with each record before you merge them. You can then select the data you want to keep or remove when the merge happens so the merged record will only include the contact or question information you want. This approach is best suited for one-off duplicate management—it gives you complete control, but it’s a manual process.
2. Client Admin:
If you haven’t cleaned up your database in a while, and you have a lot of duplicates that you want to remove in bulk, this may be the right option. However, registrant merges using this method aren’t a manual process (i.e. you can’t oversee each one individually) so you need to be aware how merging duplicates will impact your data across projects, sales rep assignment for registrants, etc. It’s best that you speak with your Client Director before you begin. Depending on the clean up, you may want to opt for consulting services to assist with the work.
Bulk Changes: Ratings, Sales Reps, Questions + more
There are several fields in Lasso that let you change the data associated with a large number of registrants at one time. These include:
- Sales Rep assignments
- Secondary Sources
To make these bulk changes, you build a custom list with your criteria and then perform the different actions to the registrants in the list.
Making mass changes using this functionality is helpful if you have older leads with incorrect ratings or who are assigned to sales reps no longer working there.
This functionality helps even if you’ve changed your mind. You may have set up the system a while back using labels for sources that aren’t as relevant today or maybe you changed your lead rating system.
Add To/Remove From
By creating both dynamic and static lists, you a take advantage of the Add To/Remove From functionality in Lasso. This works very well when doing more complex clean up and removal of older information in your CRM. I recommend reviewing the blog 7 Steps to Maintain a Clean Database if you want to explore this further.
For those of us who may not be doing regular maintenance today, it’s time to get started! I know that it can seem daunting—so the key is to focus on one area of your CRM at a time.
Sit down and make a list. Even as the list may grow, you’ll start with the framework you need. Make progress each day and take the steps necessary for a cleaner database.