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October 23rd, 2014 by

A few years ago I wrote an article on cleaning dirty data in your CRM system, See link for details on Dirty Data cleaned Dirt Cheap. The gist of the article is that data management needs to be a sustained activity that is accomplished over time and not a one-time event.  CRM Data management is like technology compatibility in the sense that it is an ever moving target.

Data does not have to be perfect all the time, but does need to be fit for¬†use in your sales operations cycles. Even if your CRM platform is backed up, updated, and managed on your behalf, your data management is an area that needs to be maintained and included in your CRM strategies.¬†¬†¬† A CRM tool is the central repository for the lifeblood of your business ‚Äď sales.¬† When your business is using your CRM tools (Mobile, Web, Social etc) well then it becomes a tool where dashboards, data lists, reports, become a way to help your teams win the heart of your customers.

What is clean high quality data?

The top five characteristics of high quality data are:   Accurate, Complete, Consistent, Unique, and Timely. These items can all be addressed with a system usage guide (user policy document) to ensure that everyone knows what is expected.

Data are of high quality if “they are fit for their intended uses in operations, decision making and planning.” (J. M. Juran)

Practical Steps to help your situation

  1. Establish usage guidelines for data entry (intelligent naming conventions)
  2. Confirm your integrated system are not creating data issues (E-mail, Social, ERP/Accounting, web)
  3. Confirm your imported data, is compared either before or after, and has not creating duplicates
  4. Assign a Data Steward (DS) to help advocate and educate on data compliancy
  5. Use the proper built in tools and 3rd party tools to assist
  6. Use experienced consultants to give you the jump start you need

We’re entering a new world in which data may be more important than software.¬†¬† Tim O’Reilly

If you would like to discuss upgrading your system, or to see a free demonstration, please contact Simplesoft Solutions.

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September 18th, 2013 by

Giving a Voice to Your CRM Data 

I’m pleased to republish portions of an article by Don Farber, Vice President of Sales & Marketing of Vineyardsoft.   Thank you Don for your permission to adjust it for CRM and share this:

Do you know when your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) data is trying to tell you something important, such as:

  • ‚ÄúHey ‚Äď this opportunity¬†close date has passed¬†. . . ‚Äú
  • ‚ÄúHeads¬†up¬†¬†‚Äď support call #123 is¬†going to miss its service level . . . ‚Äú
  • ‚ÄúDid you know that Acme, Inc. has significantly¬†dropped its purchases from us . . . ?‚Ä̬†

Enabling your CRM data to speak to you ‚Äď instead of you going to it ‚Äď enables you to become a more ‚Äúdata-driven‚ÄĚ organization and be more responsive to the needs of your staff and customers.

Giving your CRM data a voice starts with identifying what you want your CRM data to tell you. For example, you might not need your data to alert you when an opportunity’s forecast close date is coming, but you might want it to tell you if that opportunity becomes overdue for closing.

There are eight conditions under which your data should speak to you:

1)     Date-sensitive conditions.  E.g., leases or support contracts about to expire.

2)     Approaching thresholds.  E.g., support reps with too many calls assigned to them.

3)     Exceptions to normal processing.  E.g., orders below a certain total with discounts exceeding a certain percentage.

4)¬†¬†¬†¬† Things that have not happened ‚Äď but should have.¬† E.g., a repeat customer who has not purchased within the last 30 days.

5)     Data Integrity.  E.g., checking to see if phone numbers have the correct number of digits, or that a requested discount has received the needed approval.

6)¬†¬†¬†¬† Trend Analysis.¬† E.g., an account manager whose sales numbers have increased or decreased by ‚Äėx‚Äô percent over a certain time period.

7)     Data Inconsistencies.  E.g., a project that is less than 50% complete but has used up more than 50% of its budget.

8)     Data Changes.  E.g., changes to a client’s credit limit or credit rating.

Once you identify such conditions, you’ll require a technology that gives a voice to your CRM data, and one such technology is Business Activity Monitoring (BAM). BAM solutions monitor your CRM data for important conditions and then trigger one or more automated responses. In this way your data is the initiator of intelligent actions across your organization.

BAM is a unique combination of four underlying technologies.

First is a Business Intelligence (BI) component. BAM is very sophisticated in terms of the types of conditions it monitors within an underlying CRM application. And, unlike traditional BI solutions, BAM monitors in an automated manner; it automatically scans your data for the information that your organization is interested in.

Once a BAM solution identifies the conditions that you‚Äôre interested in, the second component — Alerts ‚Äď takes over. Typically, alerts are delivered via a wide variety of devices, including instant message, email, fax, mobile device (e.g., cell phone), dashboard, Twitter‚ĄĘ and so on.

The third BAM component is Reporting ‚Äď and is an extension of alerts. In some cases, alert data may be no more than a short text message sent to your cell phone; in other cases, it may be an analytical report (e.g., ‚ÄúForecast Sales Report‚ÄĚ), a customer lease, or even hazmat item warnings.

And finally there is the Workflow component of BAM. This technology enables a data-driven environment in which the CRM data itself not only initiates an awareness within an organization’s staff, but goes even further to actually act on that CRM data.

For example, a BAM solution that detects that a sales opportunity has not been followed-up on could not only send an alert to the sales rep who owns that account, but could also schedule an activity (such as a phone call) for the sales rep to make the next day to that prospect.

How has your company‚Äôs business processes evolved to give a ‚Äúvoice‚ÄĚ to your CRM data?

A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.


Remember to check our CALENDAR and register for free training, demo sessions, and the Heartland SalesLogix Users Group Events.

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