Truth About CRM Data- WITH THE SUMMER coming to a close, we are now more than six months into the pandemic, and sales and marketing teams are still adjusting to the new normal when it comes to finding and growing revenue. The spread of COVID-19 has removed the option of people getting together for traditional meetings, networking, and large gatherings. This challenge has forced organizations to elevate their focus on digital transformation, but many are discovering a harsh truth when it comes to the execution of this process: Critical CRM data is often stale, missing, or wrong. Here we’ll discuss why this happens, how to effect permanent change, and the implications going forward for you and your business.
As a practitioner implementing CRM for many years, I’m aware that ensuring the accuracy of core account and contact data is a challenge. Arriving at a single, accurate database has always been a big part of the struggle in getting a CRM platform rolled out. And the reality is that the day after your system goes live with users, the information is already out of date. Philip Grosch, partner and global sales force transformation executive at PricewaterhouseCoopers, says, “We know that 75 percent of front office transformations fail, not because of the technology, but they fail because you don’t enable people.”
As time passes, few organizations have a strategy or the manpower to constantly update and ensure that contacts and who they work for remain valid and accurate with the right data points populated. The primary users of CRM, after all, have jobs that require most of their time, and administrative priorities like CRM data will always be secondary in their minds.
Many firms have tried to address these challenges with incentives or mandates, neither with very much success. In addition, companies with more employees and bigger budgets have attempted to augment their CRM data by using data source providers, but ensuring the accuracy of these services can often be a challenge. Regardless of their approach, when COVID-19 changed the way we do business, managers and executives became acutely aware that the state of their CRM data was insufficient, leading to consequences across their sales and marketing organizations.
One of the first obstacles to overcome was messaging and communications. In conversations with many of the firms I counsel and interact with, it became clear there were two main problems. First, a significant number of the contacts people were engaging with had never been entered into the CRM system. Second, the contacts who had been entered had not been updated, so their titles and other critical information—including whether they were still working for the same organization—were out of date. The implication of these two challenges was this: No digital transformation could take place if reps were unable to communicate with the right people and in the right contexts.