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Improving Data Quality: The Key to CRM Success

Recent studies show that companies using customer relationship management (CRM) software can have an increase in sales of about 29% and boost productivity by up to 34%. Those percentages—and others like them—prompt many organizations to implement a CRM solution within their first five years. 

But the work doesn’t stop with simply finding a CRM solution, such as NetSuite. It needs to be implemented correctly and used effectively for a full chance at success. And that starts with data quality. 

The Pitfalls of Bad Data Quality

The old adage “garbage in, garbage out” holds true over CRM data as well. If you import or add poor quality data into your NetSuite CRM, the output will be equally poor. That poor data quality can have quite the ripple effect, too, leading to inaccurate forecasts, missed opportunities, wasted resources, and lower customer satisfaction. 

Most businesses don’t set out with the intention of adding data of poor quality to their CRM—or any system, for that matter. The data quality can be affected by a data import from a previous CRM or other data source that lacked proper validation. It can also be impacted by manual data entry, whether that’s incomplete data entry or duplicate records created by users who have not checked for existing records. Data can be lost or corrupted during transfer or storage. Data can also become outdated or irrelevant if sales teams are not updating and enriching data on a regular basis. 

Maintaining good-quality data takes time, and that’s a resource no team ever seems to have enough of. According to another study, sales reps spend more than half their time on administrative activities that are not directly tied to the sales process. They’re likely, then, not to be keen on spending any more time on CRM data than they have to. However, data quality is paramount to the success of the CRM solution and the business. So let’s talk about how to set your CRM up for success by promoting good data quality. 

A Universal Struggle for Data Quality

Most brands, even those high-tech brands that are investing in cutting-edge technology, struggle with data quality in their CRM. The good news is: You’re not alone. Take a look at these obstacles to good CRM data quality. How many of them sound familiar?

  • Information is outdated and hasn’t been updated recently. Sometimes businesses change and employees leave. Don’t annoy folks by leaving a personal number for a former employee as the main contact number for the entire business. It won’t end well. 
  • Data was pulled from outdated or unreliable sources. The internet is a wonderful place and search engines can help you find all manner of information, but there’s no guarantee it’s the correct information to add into a CRM record. Third-party customer data platforms aimed at helping you supplement information on leads are also not above having older information that needs updating. 
  • Tech stacks are all over the place. Sometimes information is stored in different places and different formats. If there’s no uniformity to how data is structured for upload, you’re likely to end up with a mess on your hands.
  • Leads don’t always want to tell you everything. Whether the individual isn’t comfortable sharing specific information, doesn’t know it, or has it incorrect themselves, this too feeds into creating inaccurate and missing data on your side. 
  • Manual tasks are overwhelming. Let’s be real: No one wants to spend hours and hours doing manual data cleanup, especially not when that time could be better spent on higher-value activities. Like closing a deal. 

How to Set Up for Success

Now that we know what we don’t want, it’s time to figure out what to do that will make sure data quality is as squeaky clean as possible so your NetSuite CRM and your teams are set up for ultimate success. 

Start with Clean, Reliable Data
Whether you’re setting your NetSuite CRM up for the first time or entering data for a new contact record, if you start with inputting clean and reliable data from the get-go, your data quality will start high and stay that way. Update information on a daily basis; don’t wait to enter any new contact information you receive. For bigger data uploads and imports, watch for import or integration errors. Tech teams can be incredibly helpful in fixing issues quickly and reviewing configurations to pinpoint problems that could result in bad data. 

Maintain Your Single Source of Truth
Since so many departments will access and use the data in the CRM, it’s important that it is your single source of truth. Integrate your NetSuite CRM system with other business solutions so that data can freely flow between them. Remember: Manual data input will often be missing crucial information, which means it’s not a single source of truth, and impacts your data quality.

Define A Data Management Process
Improving data quality and data hygiene requires a defined process. Make sure users know exactly how your NetSuite CRM should be used, which means telling them what happens when data quality slips! Define exactly which CRM fields are critical for the organization, how the entered data should be formatted, and what you expect users to do with data as they build relationships and work with the customers. Wherever possible, limit manual data entry and automate workflows to keep your data quality high.

Run Regular Data Audits
Don’t leave the door open for data quality to deteriorate: Regularly audit your NetSuite CRM to check on your data. Is existing data correct? What’s missing and how quickly can it be updated? Run a quarterly audit to start and consider running audits more frequently as your data volume grows. 

Train the Team
No matter how great your data quality is when you start with your NetSuite CRM, if user adoption is low or inconsistent, your data quality will be, too. So be sure to train your teams. This can occur through company-wide training, one-on-one sessions, workshops, or even customized tutorials. In each of these trainings, be sure to reiterate the statistics on success for both the individual and the company if everyone maintains ongoing responsibility for improving data quality and fully adopting the NetSuite CRM system. 

Build Data Quality Where You’re Already Working

Surveys are showing that less than half of sales professionals use their CRM on a daily basis. Not only that, 40% of them rely on Excel and email to store client information. What does that mean? The CRM data is incomplete, data quality suffers, and the business as a whole pays the price. It’s clear: Organizations that want to thrive need to have robust and accurate data in their CRM. But other than hanging empty threats over your teams’ heads or trying to find room in the budget to incentivize those who actually do the work of maintaining CRM data quality, what else can you do? 

Here’s an idea: If almost half of sales reps are using something like email to store client information . . . why not use email to update your NetSuite CRM? 

It’s easier than you think. What if your teams had the ability to create, edit, and update NetSuite records without ever leaving their inboxes? What if they could add email attachments? Or with a single click, connect an entire ongoing chain of emails by conversation or email address to a specific record in NetSuite? What could that do for your NetSuite CRM data quality? 

If that sounds too good to be true, it’s not. What it is, is CloudExtend Outlook for NetSuite. See how quickly it can improve your NetSuite CRM data quality for free. Try it now.