Your Customer Relationship Management system is one of the biggest assets for your business. It enables you to store customer contact information and past interactions, which help you streamline your sales and marketing campaigns. Companies are investing heavily in CRM, as the global CRM market is projected to reach $80 billion by 2025.
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However, collecting and storing data in the CRM system to maximize customer engagement isn’t enough. It’s essential to regularly manage the customer database to ensure that your sales team gets access to accurate, actionable data.
Let’s talk about how companies manage their CRM databases and how you can do the same.
1. What is a CRM Database?
A customer relationship management (CRM) database is an organized collection of customer data stored in an electronic form. It’s a part of the broader CRM system, a computer program that enables you to manage interactions with existing, past, and potential customers.
The information stores in a CRM database includes:
- Customers’ name and contact information
- The last date of communication
- Purchases customers have made
- Lead sources and scores
- Recent website visits, social visits, and other engagements with your brand
- Additional information about customers, such as their hobbies, relationships, etc.
Now, why should you manage your customer database system in the first place? Well, the success of your sales and marketing depends on how well you define and target your ideal customers. Once you’ve defined your target personas, your reps will need to understand the prospects and personalize their pitches to drive sales.
At each step, data is required. You and your reps need to know where your
prospects are located, the companies they work for, the people they know, and factors that can influence their decisions. IBM research showed that in the US alone, companies lose $3.1 trillion annually due to poor data quality.
If you don’t manage your CRM database regularly, you’ll have outdated customer data, which won’t lead to any positive results. Efficient management of this information ensures that you know where your prospects stand and how you can engage them.
2. How Are Companies Managing Their CRM Database?
Are you looking for ways to streamline customer data, drive more sales, and fuel customer adoption? Follow these strategies used by the largest tech companies to manage their CRM databases.
1. Understanding Their Customers’ Needs
First things first, understand your customers really well. Businesses often presume that they don’t know enough about their ideal customers. That’s mostly not the case. There’s a lot of information available, but you need to see it through the right lens.
Look at your customer database through the lens of a salesperson. Understand your customers’ lifestyle, how they go about their day, what problems they are facing, and what it is that can change their lives and make them successful.
When it comes to customer database management, most companies focus solely on technical implementation. It’s essential to develop the mindset of sales professionals and look at things differently.
2. Avoiding Incomplete Contact Records
You don’t need to know a lot about your prospects. It might be tempting to collect as much data as possible, but too much information can overwhelm your reps and complicate the sales process.
Limit data collection to only vital contact information needed to establish future contact with your customers. However, it’s equally important to know enough about your prospects to be able to identify and solve their problems.
If you don’t know who they are, what they need, and how to contact them, you won’t achieve any results. So, while collecting limited customer information is crucial, ensure that you don’t create incomplete contact records.
3. Standardizing the Data Management Process
The lack of clear instructions and directions on managing CRM data can lead to poor data quality system, data duplication, and outdated information. According to Harvard Business Review, 57% of employees believe that leadership doesn’t provide clear directions for management tasks.
To overcome this hurdle, companies need to standardize the data management system process and define user workflows. For example, you can set a standard for the quality of data needed to create a new lead, account, or contact.
In the absence of a set process and predefined demographics, your sales reps may miss out on crucial information. This might lead to inaccurate records and poor levels of data quality.
4. Conducting Data Audits
Over time, your CRM database will get cluttered. Whether it happens in three months or one year will depend on the volume of data you input. But sooner or later, your database will be full of inclusive, unresponsive, and outdated leads eating up your storage.
Regular data audits are needed to trim these unnecessary pieces of information. Ideally, companies should audit their databases once a quarter. But again, you can play around with the frequency depending on the amount of data. Regardless of how often you run the audit, the aim should be to have only active or “hot” leads in the database.
5. Entering Data in Real-Time
Let’s say your sales rep communicated with a prospect, scribbled down his name, contact number, and other details on a piece of paper, and created a contact in the system two months later.
Maybe an urgent task came up, and the rep couldn’t make a new contact in the CRM database. But, the more time a rep takes to create a contact, the more unlikely it gets to get a sale. It’s essential to enter data in real-time immediately after interacting with a prospect.
Or better, you can automate the mundane data entry for your employees. Automated CRM automation eliminates the need to manually enter data and create customer contacts. It also helps you avoid inaccurate and incomplete data entries.
6. Validating Contact Information
Customers’ contact information is the most important lead data to be stored in your CRM system. Therefore, be sure to double-check the information, such as email addresses, phone numbers, and social profiles, before entering them into your database.
An effective way to ensure data accuracy is to use lead forms to collect customer data. This way, you’ll be able to filter high-quality leads.
7. Eliminating Duplicate and Unresponsive Contacts
Coming across duplicate contacts in the CRM database could be the most annoying thing for any salesperson. Save your sales reps from the frustration and eliminate duplicate contacts from the database. Duplicate contacts are created when someone enters the same contact with a different name or contact information.
Analytical CRM system has regular data audits, as discussed earlier, are the go-to way to eliminate duplicate contacts. Similarly, too many unresponsive contacts can also be frustrating for your sales reps. They may make your database look fuller, but your representatives won’t get anything out of them. Furthermore, working on unresponsive leads will cost your company both time and resources.
As with duplicate contacts, be on the lookout for unresponsive leads and delete them from your system. Data audits are good to get started but take a step beyond. Instruct your reps to readily delete unresponsive contacts if they encounter them.
Implementing a CRM system is one of the best business decisions you can ever make. But that’s not enough. Considering the volume of leads and data available, having a system to organize and manage that information is crucial. After all, a well-managed customer database system will play a critical role in boosting your sales and marketing teams’ performance and overall business profitability.