Love Your Data

10 January 2016 by Naresh Raj

According to a number of organisations (Gartner, IBM etc.) who have researched the CRM industry, only 20% of CRM implementations succeed in meeting their original objectives (thanks Pareto).


According to a number of organisations (Gartner, IBM etc.) who have researched the CRM industry, only 20% of CRM implementations succeed in meeting their original objectives (thanks Pareto).

But why is that?

Data. Garbage in, garbage out as they say.

Garbage in garbage out

We’ve seen it ourselves; both client and provider can spend much time and effort on developing a fantastic system that fits the bill but it fails because there’s not been any consideration given to the data eventually added to that system.

Some of the common issues include:

  • Spelling mistakes in names and addresses
  • Prefixes (Mr, Mrs etc. if you still use these) that don’t match the gender of the contact
  • Vital data missing – postcodes, email addresses etc. You need these to effectively analyse and segment your data further down the line and provide a relevant experience to your contacts
  • Data in the wrong fields – this often happens when data from more than one system is added to the CRM
  • Data entered in varying formats – no agreed entry format between users
  • Duplicate records

None of the above issues might sound big enough to cause the failure of your CRM but, together, they mount up. After all, I bet you hate when you get a piece of marketing communication that doesn’t address you correctly or doesn’t have your address right, right? This is what, in the eyes of the recipient, makes the difference between relevant marketing communications and spam. It can also damage your organisation’s reputation if you don’t correct the problem and let things persist.

So, here’s our quick tips for giving your data some love and, hence, improving your members’ experience:

What are your own organisation’s data issues?

Analyse what your specific data issues are and prioritise them – pick off the large issues and you’ll make the most gains

Clean your data regularly

Don’t see this as a one-off exercise you do just before dumping all the data into your CRM; you should put a plan in place to manage this regularly – annually at least or on an ongoing basis via automated emails where relevant (where you have missing data for example). Also, consider adding the use of Postcode Anywhere to your CRM system as this helps maintain data quality once the new system is in place

Appoint a ‘data guru’

Ensure there is someone in your organisation with clear responsibility for data – a Data Controller (you should have this as part of your ICO registration right?). And this isn’t a member of the IT dept; it should be someone in marketing who understands how the data will be used

Have a data entry policy

Implement a data entry policy and communicate it to all staff who need to enter data into any of your connected systems (not just your main CRM)

Data isn’t an afterthought

Whether you are implementing a new CRM or integrating existing systems, don’t leave your data quality to the end. Incorporate it into the project and dedicate suitable resources into checking, de-duping and consolidating forms of data

Data might not be the ‘sexy’ side of CRM implementation but it is vital to the success of such a project. It can help users feel positive about the system when the data is all correct and in the right place the first time they see it; it makes the experience more positive from the outset.

We always encourage our clients to consider it at the early stages and work with them to identify potential issues. After all, our CRM implementation success depends on your data quality. We love your data, you should too.