Data Stewardship - The Key to Helping Clean Dirty Data

CRM Systems - The Ultimate Sales Tool

Photo Credit: http://communicatebetterblog.com/2013/03/
Photo Credit: http://communicatebetterblog.com/2013/03/

In an ideal world, your CRM system would be fast and full of pertinent, up to date information. You’d be able to run forecasts without a second thought. Right before a meeting, you’d have all the details right at your fingertips, so you can convert your lead into a customer. Your sales team would be entering in data from tradeshows and bombarding the CRM system with insights and ideas. But wait….did I just hear you groan out loud?

What did you say? Your sales team isn’t using your CRM system? Why not?

Here is a typical day in your sales team’s life...

  • Because your system has duplicate records, Stan just pitched the same client that Larry had the day before. Stan looks like an idiot. The client is annoyed.
  • Jane can’t find Robert Smythe in the system, although she knows that she entered him in a week before. (She had him down as Bob). She wastes fifteen minutes searching and then enters him into the system again.
  • Larry is looking at three records, all showing Rebecca MacIntyre at AT&T. He just spent ten minutes scrolling through each one to figure out which record has the most recent data on it.
  • The sales manager, Ted, is trying to forecast his numbers for the quarter, but doesn’t trust the data. He knows that because of duplicates on the system, his estimates are artificially inflated. He has run a dupe check, but suspects that he didn’t find them all.
  • The summer intern has spent two weeks manually going through all the duplicates on the system, but is only a quarter of the way through. She is ready to go back to school.

Here’s the problem. And it’s not your sales team. Or your IT department.

You need a data steward. A data steward is someone who takes the desires and needs of the sales department, the IT department, and the higher-ups, and then manipulates the CRM system to produce the data that everyone needs properly. The data steward could be just one responsibility of someone already in the business, or a full time job. They could be responsible for implementing the vision, or enforcing it. Their primary responsibility is to listen to the needs of the company, maintain the data based on those needs, identify the data quality issues, and make sure that good data is being entered into the system.

Sounds complicated.

Even if you are a small company, you should have a data stewardship program in place. That sounds daunting, but it could be as simple as making sure that Ted from Sales is talking to Ed the Data Steward/IT guy about what new company information they captured at the trade show. Or that the CEO remembers to include Ed in the meeting they are having about starting to capture all the Ripples from the Google+ circles.

At it’s more elevated level, a data stewardship program takes into account the strategic goals for the company. Hosted CRM systems like Oracle CRM On Demand allow for endless flexibility so a data steward can slice and dice the data any way the business requires. And, even more important, when the data governance rules change, the data steward can adapt the system easily.

But what about all the junk?

There’s a fix for that too. At ActivePrime, we have a suite of programs designed to help. Start off with running our free Data Quality Report on your database. It will evaluate just how many duplicates you have. It’s quick, relatively painless, and we promise it’s completely private and secure. Then, once you’ve got a grip on what needs fixing, use our CleanCRM to get rid of the duplicate records. It’s faster than doing it one by one, trust us. After you’ve got squeaky clean data, keep it that way by using CleanEnter and ActivePrime Search. These tools use fuzzy logic to find records, even if they are misspelled. They make finding and entering records quick and easy, cutting down on wasted time.

By creating a plan for wrangling your data into submission, and putting it into action, you will have a CRM system that is actually pulling it’s weight. Your sales team will be happy, your clients will be happier, and it will, ultimately, impact your bottom line. Sign up for a free assessment of your dirty data today and we’ll get you on the right path to success.