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Of the various platforms we use for business operations, there’s one constant that makes every one of them work: data. The systems we interface with make accessing this data much faster and easier, but we could technically get by without them if we needed to. Without data, on the other hand, every one of these systems is no better than a book without pages.
All this probably seems obvious, but it’s a useful rubric for thinking about data in terms of quality. Few of us could get far without the data we depend on in our day-to-day work. Yet we rarely give the quality of this data a second thought. But how useful is a book filled with identical passages, inaccurate or outdated information, or just plain nonsense?
Clean and accurate data is as essential as the data itself. It’s what gives the systems we use the ability to provide analysis and insights, the results of which drive business decisions. Of the business systems that depend on clean data for accuracy, few are as important as CRMs — because the only thing that’s more valuable than a business’s data is its customers.
What Is Data Cleaning?
Data cleaning is the process of identifying and correcting structural errors and inaccuracies in a database or dataset. A data error could be as simple and small as a duplicate entry or an incorrectly formatted date. Or it could imply a much larger set of incorrect data that was imported by mistake. Put simply, data cleaning ensures the information an application uses to function is accurate and correctly formatted.
In the broadest sense, any data cleaning process involves several steps, starting with the identification of the type and severity of the errors. Once problems are identified, the process evolves to accommodate the specific errors. For example, typos, formatting issues and duplicate entries are comparatively easy to fix compared to missing information, which can involve finding data outside of the system or extrapolating the missing data by using existing values.
Meanwhile, any cleaning process should include passing the corrected data through a normalization phase for formatting consistency, as well as a final verification to ensure the process was successful.
How Does Dirty Data Impact Your CRM?
At its core, a CRM is a database application, plain and simple. It’s designed to collect and store a wealth of information about your business and customers, including contact information, communication history, detailed customer profiles and purchase history, to name just a few.
What makes a CRM so valuable to businesses is its ability to analyze the data it collects and stores. Understanding customer preferences, identifying trends and forecasting sales are just a few of the essential functions of a CRM. But even the smallest amount of dirty data can throw a wrench in this predictive and analytical prowess.
One of the most common causes of dirty data is duplication. If a lead signs up with multiple emails or phone numbers or a salesperson creates a record that is already in the system, it adds a ghost customer to the database. While a few duplicate records won’t impact your CRM’s reporting in any meaningful way, if it’s repeated consistently or on a large scale, it can and will start skewing analysis. And once it’s at this point, data cleaning becomes an extremely time-consuming and expensive process.
Missing and Incomplete Data
A missing email address or surname here or there won’t lead to a meltdown, but small human errors can add up fast, especially for businesses that depend heavily on customer analysis. For example, missing customer information makes it difficult to get a complete picture of your customers. This lack of business intelligence could lead to marketing efforts with messages tailored to customers you don’t fully understand. In a worst-case scenario, your company could end up developing products or services for customers that don’t actually exist.
Often the most insidious form of dirty data is inaccurate information. Whether through software or user entry error, incorrect data in a CRM can have serious, lasting implications across an entire organization. What makes this form of bad data so dangerous is that it’s difficult to identify until it’s too late. An accumulation of inaccurate data can go unnoticed until its effects are felt in missed forecasts, bad business decisions, poor customer service, hindered business growth and a loss in credibility for the business.
Why Is Clean CRM Data Important?
Having clean, well-organized data for your CRM is essential for your business’s success. It’s the bedrock your marketing campaigns and sales forecasts are built upon. More specifically, your customer knowledge, including preferences and preferred methods of communication of your target audiences, directly impacts the effectiveness of all your campaigns. Without a data cleaning process and the tools and practices to promote information accuracy, you’ll end up paying higher costs to have data cleaned. And in the long run, those costs could include decreased sales, ineffective marketing and sub-par customer service.
How Can LinkPoint360 Help With CRM Data Cleansing?
LinkPoint Connect for Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics is a solution that puts the power and functionality of your CRM directly in your email. By leveraging LinkPoint360’s seamless integrations, you give your sales, marketing and support teams the ability to interface with essential customer data without leaving their primary communication tool. This approach makes updating records and adding accurate, highly contextual information to your CRM simple and easy, significantly reducing friction and enhancing clean data practices.
LinkPoint Connect provides your teams with:
- Simple email capture. Right from within their email, teams can easily capture the whole picture of their customers in a single click. Because it’s contextually linked to the appropriate records, the information is always available where it’s needed most.
- Easy record management. A simple, intuitive interface that feels right at home in Outlook makes updating records second nature. With every important detail at their fingertips, your teams can easily remove outdated information or populate missing fields within their day-to-day workflows.
- Reliable synchronization. LinkPoint Connect promotes data synergy by combining and accurately syncing essential calendars, tasks and contacts. Your teams have all their essentials in a single unified workflow.
- Enhanced campaign insights. By streamlining sales and marketing workflows with an integration tool that promotes clean data, you stand to enhance your sales and marketing efforts. With LinkPoint Connect and squeaky-clean data, your campaign reports become campaign insights.
With a streamlined approach to leveraging and managing CRM data, LinkPoint Connect is a tool that your sales and marketing teams will certainly thank you for. But more importantly, with LinkPoint360 tools, you help ensure clean, accurate data that results in significant benefits across the daily operations of your entire organization.
5 Ways Database Cleaning Benefits Your Business
Apart from the net positives of avoiding the worst-case scenarios associated with dirty data, keeping your data squeaky clean has other benefits. Your CRM is designed to provide your organization with tools to improve decision-making, enhance customer relationships and drive growth. Bottom line: Cleaner data means better results. Like how a finely tuned car runs better in a race, investing in cleaner data results in better business outcomes and a high-performance CRM that delivers its full value.
1. Improve Marketing Campaigns
Today’s marketing is a discipline driven by hard data, plain and simple. With so many advertising platforms, media channels and countless competitors vying for the same eyes and ears, it’s next to impossible to find an audience and craft an enticing message for them without making data-driven decisions. Businesses need complete customer profiles to inform every strategic decision for every marketing effort they invest in.
As you can imagine, clean data is absolutely crucial. Having a full view of your customers that’s built with accurate information means your marketing efforts are much more effective at locating and connecting with the right audience. Using dirty data, on the other hand, can result in a marketing message that falls completely flat, assuming you’re lucky enough to target the right audience in the first place.
2. Increase Productivity
Another benefit of clean data comes in the form of increased productivity for everyone. By simply using cleaning tools that promote data best practices and ensuring the information you add to your CRM is accurate, you’ll improve your business’s overall productivity. And naturally, better productivity results in lower costs, happier customers and higher revenue.
And make no mistake, these compound productivity improvements reach every corner of an organization. From the sales, marketing, customer service and tech teams to the executives that depend on accurate reporting for better business decisions, clean CRM data makes everyone’s job easier. Accurate and dependable data means less time correcting mistakes, less time chasing down dirty data points and less time second-guessing forecasts. And this formula equates to a surplus of lead generation, sales, service and growth.
3. Ensure Reporting Accuracy
The sole reason for using a CRM is to enhance customer relationships by collecting relevant data and analyzing it to glean customer clarity and insights. Data is foundational to this purpose, but data without insights is just information. But while accurate reporting is the primary goal, the results are useless if they’re built on things like unwanted observations, duplicate leads, erroneous segmenting and incomplete customer profiles. It’s been said repeatedly, but it bears repeating: Dirty data leads to dirty reports. The quality of your CRM’s reporting is directly linked to the quality of the data it uses.
4. Repair Company Wide Communications
Dirty data affects far more than your business’s sales and marketing teams. Tech departments, customer service teams and every level of management suffer when business and customer information is inaccurate. The results are reduced morale and a communication breakdown that can spread like wildfire.
Proper data cleaning methods lead to inverse effects, such as better communication between teams and team members, stronger morale and higher levels of trust throughout the entire organization. When your employees see the results of a CRM at peak performance, they’re happy to invest more effort into learning and mastering it. Focused, motivated teams with great communication naturally lead to higher levels of organizational agility. By working with accurate data, your business can more readily and effectively adapt to changing market forces.
5. Enhance Brand Perception
Looking at your customer’s satisfaction levels can be a good way to gauge the quality of the data in your CRM. When your campaigns and messaging consistently miss the mark, the result is a misalignment between customers and your brand. The result can be a loss of business with once-loyal customers who feel your offerings aren’t a good fit. In the worst-case scenario, it could result in negative perceptions that are difficult to scrub clean.
Conversely, accurate customer profiles help your teams capture new leads and keep existing customers happy. Clean data equates to better sales, service and support and far better brand perception. When every customer touchpoint is built on a foundation of accurate information and marked by smooth interactions, your customers feel it.
Start Organizing Your Data With LinkPoint Connect
Solutions from LinkPoint360 enhance your existing CRM solutions by giving teams the tools and practices necessary for clean, accurate data and easy information management. By using LinkPoint Connect’s streamlined approach and cleansing techniques, you can promote higher engagement with your business’s CRM and ensure a better return on your investment in customer relationship tools. But LinkPoint360 solutions do more than ensure cleaner data. By seamlessly integrating your two most important business tools, LinkPoint Connect can improve workflows by up to 50%, supercharging your teams as well as your CRM. Schedule a demo to learn more about LinkPoint Connect for Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics. Or if you’d rather punch the gas, get started with a free trial today.