Successful salespeople are often deemed untouchable.
It is a brave sales manager that will take disciplinary action against a salesperson that is making her quotas, simply because she has not updated the CRM. Most good salespeople recognise the value of CRM – for tracking and managing activities and pipeline – especially in complex selling environments.
Yet, administering CRM eats into face time with customers.
A poorly planned or implemented CRM system is frustrating.
One of the biggest sources of frustration for CRM users is duplicate records – Accounts, Customers, Leads. Frustration, in turn, can quickly turn into resistance, and, ultimately, system failure. When your top performers stop trusting the CRM its value becomes questionable.
Duplicate records are not always obvious.
Is Mr S Jones, CIO the same person as Steve Jones, IT Manager?
Is The TeleFX Ltd the same company as Tele(FX) Limited?
Missing information, inconsistent information, spelling errors, abbreviations – these are all examples of how multiple records can be captured to represent the same customer.
Of course, customers are not always individuals. They can be family groups, companies, clubs, government agencies. Is a subsidiary the same customer as the parent? Is a branch, or a regional office, the same customer as the head office?
Duplicate records can cause more than frustration – they can create conflict and confusion. You sales team, or customers, shouldn’t be treated like the confused baby in the video…
Imagine two of your top sales people, both working on a significant opportunity – together making up 15% of your funnel for the year. After 6 months effort they discover that they are working the same client – different relationships, different naming conventions – the CRM didn’t pick it up.
Who gets the commission? What about that discount the one had to negotiate – or the free services thrown in by the other? Do both deals apply? Or will the client simply decide that you are too unprofessional to do business with? How do you explain the sudden drop in the pipeline to your boss, or your shareholders?
You may not need to imagine this scenario – something similar may have already happened – particularly in larger companies with regional teams.
Or it may seem a little extreme.
Maybe in your environment inconsistent, duplicate customer records only have an operational impact.
How many times do you send the same marketing email to the same customer – not realizing that they are captured multiple times? Analysis by Gartner suggests that annoying customers in this way can reduce campaign effectiveness, and cut potential revenue gains by up to 25%.
CRM software simply is not designed to manage complex duplicates. Popular applications, like MS Dynamics CRM or Salesforce.com, provide some basic checks that will stop outright copies from being captured into the database.
Simple, inconsistencies, like a space or a hyphen added to a name, can bypass these checks.
This is why these vendors, and others like Oracle and SAP, have partnered with third party data quality vendors to provide more robust cleansing and matching capabilities.
Data quality for CRM must cater not only for simple data capture errors, although these can significantly affect customer data quality. We must cater for regional differences, for abbreviations, for missing or changing information, and for the various other realities of the modern sales person’s life.
Our goal must be to reduce frustration by recognizing that sales is an imperfect science – we simply do not always have all the data, or the right data, especially at an early stage in a sales cycle.
We want to identify potential duplicates at point of capture – to avoid the conflicts and issues that will come into play otherwise. Of course, if we deployed some time ago and already have problems, we want to be able to automate corrections, matches and potential merges so as to take the load off our sales team
Quality customer data will improve your customer’s and your sales team’s CRM experience.