As a full-service software provider, Selltis has helped many manufacturers, reps and distributors with CRM implementation and integration with other platforms, including email, calendar systems, ERP and more. While most companies tell us the data they want to import is of high quality, we often find that optimism doesn’t align with reality.
Importing bad data into a CRM can cause more problems than it solves. Until you can answer the following questions with confidence, don’t bring the data into a new system:
- Is it possible there are duplicates in the data (like when customers call different reps or branches to see who will give them a lower quote)? If so, how will we decide which are kept in the final data set and which – if any – are purged?
- If we’re currently storing our data in separate locations (like in reps’ individual spreadsheets), are our storage formats consistent (addresses in one field vs. multiple fields, names listed by first or last first, etc.)? If not, what steps can we take to bring them into alignment?
- Are reps on the same page as far as what our data categories (such as lead vs. opportunity) mean? When was the last time (if ever) that we actually defined them?
- How many different sources of data should we incorporate, and when? (While it would be great to integrate, for example, your list of engineers into your database, how much will you benefit from that data vs. how difficult will it be to get it ready?
- What kind of hierarchy makes sense for our data in terms of quotes, opportunities, projects and customer contacts? Does (or can) our current system support that hierarchy?
- After we implement/integrate using this data, will it be easy for reps to keep the data clean? Have we set up pull-down menus and other controls that encourage data uniformity and integrity, and have we kept blank text fields to a minimum?
If you’re not sure about some of these, don’t worry: You can assign one of your IT staff (ideally someone who also understands sales), an outside consultant or your software provider to help you clean your data before moving forward, giving you a solid foundation upon which to build your CRM database.
We’ve never worked with a company that had perfectly clean data from the start. The good news is that we’re here to help, and companies with realistic expectations will be poised for success. While data clean-up and import will take time to do right, you’ll enjoy much cleaner, more accurate data moving forward than what’s contained in those Excel spreadsheets your reps have been passing around.
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