Using customer relationship management (CRM) software to administer and prioritize your prospect and customer base will increase your revenue. However, sales, marketing and CRM work more efficiently if the data is accurate. Inaccurate and incomplete data means that your marketing efforts are wasted because your prospects are not receiving your emails and other communications. The more fine-tuned your marketing system is, the more prospects and customers you will reach. Sharpening your CRM data will increase your ROI, revenues and profits, and it will reduce frustration and wasted time. Here are 6 ways you can sharpen your data to boost your marketing and sales efforts.

1. Verify New Data

As you receive data from your various marketing channels such as your shopping cart or landing pages, the first step is verifying it. Adding new email addresses can look good on paper, but if they are inactive or misspelled, then they won’t add any revenue to your bank account. Anyone can type incorrectly or transpose numbers when entering them. Double check new data before entering it in your system.

2. Add Missing Data

Not all data is available when you first get a prospect’s or lead’s contact information. If you want to plan an email campaign, you can’t send it to leads if you don’t have their email addresses. Spend time periodically to update and complete prospect information by reaching out to your leads, researching online or calling their company for missing data. It is common for attendee lists from trade shows to only have some of the contact information you need; therefore you should have a process in place to gather the rest.

3. Eliminate Duplicates

Duplicate records are clogging up your system, but they may not be readily apparent. Here are some reasons that you may have duplicate records:

  • Listings under a maiden name and married name
  • Listings of the same person under more than one company due to a job change
  • Listings for a full first name and a nickname
  • Typos or misspellings in one of the listings
  • Listings under more than one job title
  • Changes in home or work contact information

Commonly, about 10 percent of CRM data is duplicate listings. Routinely removing duplicates or merging them will help give you a more accurate database.

4. Update Your List Periodically

Depending on how you communicate with your leads, you need to update your list at minimum yearly, and preferably once a quarter. About 11 percent of the population moves every year to new homes and new jobs. If you send out your marketing pieces in the mail, then you are required to update the list 95 days before mailing to qualify for Post Office discounts.

5. Add Context

Adding more details to each record will improve your knowledge of your leads. While adding basic contact information is a no-brainer, you should note as much information as you can in your initial meeting, and continue to add to it as you nurture your relationship. Details such as where you met, demographics, opinions, relationships with other clients or prospects, inter-company relationships and other unique details can offer more meat for the CRM system – and the people who use it – to work with.

6. Enforce Spelling

To help your CRM program sort and segregate data, you should enforce spelling for titles and other standard words. For instance, one entry may say “CEO,” while another lists the same title as “C.E.O.” By creating drop down boxes for data entry, you can enforce specific spellings of keywords for better management by the CRM.

What do you think of this list? Have you experienced lost data or duplicate leads before?