Has it ever happened, that you make a follow-up call, only to find out that another member of your team had already contacted the customer? That would be a little embarrassing but where was the confusion? After cross-checking you clearly noticed that there was no record of a call being made to the contact, but there sure was a duplicate contact, assigned to another sales rep!

Inaccurate or incomplete CRM data often hamper sales and marketing performance. Many of your contacts would have changed their phone number, email address or even their company, leading to an accumulation of redundant and incomplete data in your CRM. So how are you going to maintain clean CRM data? Help yourself with these 4 tips to not only get your CRM system under control but also to save time and headache down the road.

#1 Maintain Complete Data

Ask yourself one question: How complete are my records? Believe it or not, incomplete information is not a good sign for data quality. The CRM requires you to fill in numerous fields that are mandatory. It’s time-consuming! The best way to deal with this is to set important fields as mandatory: like name, email address, phone numbers, and address. So, determine the fields that are most important for complete information and encourage users to fill in those important details.

#2 Existing Duplicate Records? Merge Them

Preventing duplicates work great when adding new contacts manually, collecting leads/contacts using web forms, importing, etc. But what about eliminating duplicates from your existing data? By now, you will surely agree with me when I say that duplicate records are not necessarily identical. Let’s say, two contacts have the same last name, email address or company name but one record has a phone number or address that is not found in the other. This is sometimes frustrating as some of the crucial information that you are looking for is scattered in both the records. In that case, instead of blindly deleting one record and potentially losing important data, you can merge the information into one contact.

#3 Maintain a Style Sheet

While automation does most of the work, human efforts are essential for data quality. One way to make data entry easy and maintain consistency, is by introducing naming conventions. Sometimes you see the same country name in different formats. For example, USA, US, United States of America. You can avoid this by creating a list of abbreviations and standard data entry formats for data items like postal addresses, company names, designations, etc. Having a standardized format for all the data helps you generate accurate reports and filter records based on the exact criteria.

#4 Use Roles for Security

With data pouring in from several sources and multiple users accessing it, maintaining a clean CRM database is not that easy. One best practice is to restrict access to data in your CRM account. Define roles that will help you control the access rights of users while working with CRM data. That way, users will modify only those records that are relevant to them.

We all realize how important it is to add clean data in the CRM system… and not just that, to avidly maintain it too! Maintaining data quality is not a one-time event. If not taken care from the beginning, you may end up having a tedious task ahead.

These are my top tips, do share your techniques to maintain a clean CRM.

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