Businesses with customer lists as their lifeblood, are struggling to survive with lists and databases filled with errors. Mind well, it is not a compulsion for them, nor are they vulnerable. They are well aware that data entered for every customer is a potential opportunity for business, and it is mandatory for them to keep their records up to date to and avoid any hiccups which may cause their sales to flat line. This is an effort to list some of the reasons why customer lists are thought to be complex, whereas appropriate data cleansing clubbed with other data management activities can put the customer first, whereas brand and products next – because it is the customer who makes the other two exist and survive.
Establish processes to eliminate duplicate information
Absence of consistent and reliable data cleansing processes to manage and maintain data and information, are sited to be the top reason for inaccurate customer lists. If two, out of a team of sales personnel, input the same lead but with minor change in the name or abbreviation, they will end up duplicate entries. Due to the nature of their work, both of them will continue to pursue the same prospect. This ultimately will waste their valued time, turning the potential lead grow cold due to overlapping efforts.
Companies can avoid such fiascos, by setting up protocols internally to standardize the process of onboarding new leads. When sales team members are populating the company name, or the salutation for a customer, or the area or city name; they should be required to input the details exactly as it is spelled on the company’s website, letter space, letter case and all other aspects should be taken care of. Better yet, take assistance of professional data entry professionals. They not only ensure input accuracy but also eliminate duplicate information, saving your team the time and cost involved.
Limiting the access to customer list would not reduce errors, but data cleansing will
Customer lists, whether it is maintained on a CRM or may be on a collaborative worksheet, makes the work across all departments sharing it; like a double edged sword. Various departments in a company has access to the data to process information to perform their jobs, as sharing information can improve efficiency, transparency, and productivity. But it comes with a risk. The risk of other departments accidently might change or delete critical information. In case something like this happens, it is enough to corrupt your data, costing you more than just potential leads and new business opportunities.
To mitigate the side effects of accidental edits and data corruption, limit permissions, access and editing rights, may work up to some extent but is not the solution you are looking at. As we saw, information is crucial for every department to perform their tasks, and restricting access would invite chaos only. Instead cleansing customer lists, a robust process of detecting and correcting (or removing) corrupt or inaccurate records from a record set, table, or database and identifying incomplete, incorrect, inaccurate or irrelevant parts of the data and then replacing, modifying, or deleting the dirty or coarse data, certainly will help.
CRM can handle outreach and tracking, but without accurate data?
Manually emailing prospective clients is a time consuming process, with lots of room for human errors, resulting in inconsistent communication. An over worked sales rep may forget or misplace information such as last point of contact when managing a hefty customer list.
CRM systems facilitate the integration with marketing automation to help with outreach, but for which they need customer lists that are pre-segmented to send emails to each contact – automatically. These emails can be personalized for target audience, equipped with correct contact information and automatically scheduled to go out at specific time, and based on specific action. Upon sending emails, CRMs can track the progress of the campaign, to the extent of measuring open and click rates; and all this to help sales teams to easily move leads in the conversion funnel. But the most important thing that we missed out here, which even the CRM cannot take care of on its own is – the data. If the data is all goofed up and corrupted, the best CRM also will fail miserably in providing results.
Customer lists are only as valuable as their accuracy
We have been telling this time and over again that customer lists are only as valuable as their accuracy. Data cleansing experts are experienced enough to consider such pitfalls while they are preparing and managing customer lists, that improve the productivity of your sales teams. When you use appropriately cleansed and processed data for your CRM, only then you are sure that you sales reps are on their toes with the information they need to follow up clients and opportunities that drive growth and revenue.