According to SalesForce.com 70% of CRM data “goes bad,” or becomes obsolete, annually.
Data is the lifeblood of any organization. It fuels our sales campaigns, tracks our critical customer relationships, and directs us to the various points of contact at clients and prospects alike. It just may be the most important single aspect of your business. Stop for a moment and ask yourself where would your business be without it?
What is Data Shelf Life?
We all love to enter new account data into the CRM or database you use to track customers. It is a sign of progress in building your business. The typical contact record consists of name, address, job title, company, phone number, email address and sometimes more. All these things can change at any time.
Data has a shelf life. People change jobs, get promoted, relocate or even die. Companies change email formats, addresses and phone numbers. In the bigger picture, an email address changing doesn’t appear to be a problem, but as your data continues to erode, you’ll see your email campaign messages bouncing back to you.
You need to call a contact about a hot new product, only to find that he is no longer there. To make matters worse, your competitor has already introduced themselves to your contact’s replacement. Eeek!!!
What Else Could Happen?
With modern marketing tactics leveraging numerous customer engagement channels, new data is coming in rapidly. With so many different points of entry, one misspelling can lead to data duplicates. With prospect’s email in boxes over flowing, a simple duplication annoyance can incite an already frustrated contact. Additionally, if your firm sends printed collateral, duplications only waste money. Not to mention feeling stupid when you call the same contact twice about the same offer.
What Can I Do?
- Over the course of a quarter, contact each of your customers just to check in and say hello, what’s new? It keeps the relationship fresh and gives you a chance to ask if all their contact information is still the same. You can also use this opportunity to ask is John in IT or Tom in Finance still there, so you can update their records too.
- Make a big sign and hang it in front of you. Whenever you speak to a customer contact or a prospect, the sign will remind you to “Up Date Their Data!” If you have them on the line it takes two minutes to update things.
- Use a deduplication program to track all email addresses before they go out in a campaign. This simple task will cut out most of the duplications. If the addresses aren’t exact, the program won’t catch it. You might want to eyeball the list once or twice before running with it.
- Automated data integration can also be a big help to pull together various databases and sync data from different applications. Usually it has a dedupe function as well.
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