Your CRM is filled with bad data

In recent years, a lot of the hot topics in sales have focused on getting leverage out of your sales team through technology. It all sounds really sexy, who wouldn’t want to get 2x or 3x out of the most expensive asset in a company (its sales people)?

The issue is that most of these techniques rely on perfect information, and we all know the world consists mostly of imperfect information. For any of these fancy tools to work on your team, you are going to need clean-ish data. While there are plenty of data mining tools to help gather the relevant data and make sense of it, you still need to ensure that you are using the latest information and not outdated data to drive your sales decisions.

Why is the data so bad?

  • The data your tech team scraped 3 years ago is old
  • Your Sales team isn’t inputting new leads consistently or correctly.
  • Your marketing automation software isn’t adding new leads to your CRM correctly.
  • Your Sales team doesn’t know how to clean up or update old leads.

Whats the cost to my organization?

  • Every new sales hire takes longer to ramp as they dig through your companies bad data to find good leads.
  • Prospects and Customers will be angry with your sales people when they keep calling into the same accounts. It will make your team look unprofessional.
  • Automated marketing, and segmentation require good clean data to help drive warmer leads to your SDRs.
  • Accurate prospect and customer data is the foundation for cutting territories and assuring that each sales person has enough opportunity to crush their quota.

How do I fix the problem?

I don’t have any silver bullets for the moment, step 1 is really awareness. I’d hire a salesforce admin early, and I’d make data quality one of their key objectives from the beginning. A technical solution that caught my attention in a recent demo was RingLead. They’ve got a platform that focuses almost exclusively on de-duping.

My take-aways from the RingLead Demo:

  • Real-time dupe check when entering a lead
    • Salesforce has a very combersome “check for duplicates feature”, and this drastically improves on it.
    • It adds a real time check for duplicates as reps type in the lead information and warns them before they’re done entering data.
    • Your sales team will love you for this!
  • Related Records
    • Adds a section to each object in SF with a list of related records
    • Saves sales reps the time that they would spend searching the system for other related records
  • Data Cleaning
    • I couldn’t dive into this as much, but they seem to have powerful tools to go back and remove duplicates.

Overall, RingLead seems to be far along in thinking about this problem. They’ve got tips here on how you can do the same thing using excel, and some thoughtful aricles here about the real cost of bad data in your system.

I’d love feedback from people on how they are handling dupes. The main point of the article is that this is something an organization needs to think about as soon as they start scaling a sales initiative. As the team grows and the volume of data increases, this problem only gets bigger and kills a companies ability to execute. Marketing and Sales should team up to prevent the problem.