- CRM automation tools will improve the customer experience and make the sales staff more productive.
- Bad data is a threat to the productivity that a CRM application can provide.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications are essential for businesses that want to maintain excellent customer relationships. Experienced managers know this, and for a company wanting to improve its relationship with its customers, you’ll reap many benefits from using a CRM. A vital component of CRMs is data entry because incorrect information can impact relationships with a business’s customers.
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Why is data entry so crucial to a CRM application?
Bad data in a CRM application can significantly impact business revenues annually. Research conducted by IBM estimates up to $3 trillion a year is lost due to bad data. Another challenge that threatens keeping accurate data is data decay. Customers moving, changing jobs, or getting a pay increase are all life events that will eventually happen, and these types of life changes are contributors to data decay. Other contributors include getting information from unreliable sources and data that has aged out or never been updated.
Besides customer data, which is identity data, there is descriptive, quantitative, and qualitative data that all need to be routinely updated for a CRM application to help a business generate revenue continuously. Identity data is about customers. The other three types of CRM data provide more granular details about a customer’s preferences, including feedback on what customers think or feel about a business.
Here is a synopsis of the four types of CMR data:
Identity data contains specific customer contact information, preferred social media sites, and the customer’s interests in the business products or services.
Descriptive data covers ancillary details about a customer like a career, education, marital status, and lifestyle information such as homeownership and interested hobbies.
Quantitative data includes numerical information about customer interactions through purchases, website visits, service tickets submitted, or the number of visits to a business social media platform.
Qualitative data includes surveys or feedback information from customers that focuses on their attitudes, behaviors, and motivations in relation to buying decisions.
The four types of CRM data are used to provide a holistic view of a customer. Additionally, based on the comprehensive view of a customer, a business may have other products or services that may interest a particular customer based on the ancillary data provided as long as the data is accurate.
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Best practices for maintaining accurate data
One of the first steps is getting buy-in from all the sales representatives on the benefits of using a CRM application. Once buy-in has occurred, the next step is to train the sales staff on properly using the CRM application and correctly entering data. Training should be at least an annual requirement. If an updated version has improved data entry with a newly released automated tool, an impromptu training session is recommended to train the staff.
Also, maintaining a relationship with your CRM vendor and inquiring about new features will ensure your CRM application is always current with the latest features. Performing monthly or quarterly audits on new or updated information helps maintain accurate CRM data. Updating older data to prevent data decay is the best practice for keeping CRM information current.
Establishing administrative policies like data entry standards and data validation requirements will help reduce data entry errors. In addition, ensuring the CRM application is user-friendly and available on a mobile device will help keep data updated. Assigning an in-house CRM manager with a small staff that can help the sales staff and performing micro-training as requested is another best practice to help keep data current. Lastly, automating, as much as possible, any manual data entry efforts will initially ensure data is accurate upon entry into the CRM application.
CRM automation tools
Using automation tools ensures data accuracy, improves customer retention, improves prospective customer recruiting, and provides accurate sales forecasting and data-driven decisions.
Here are some specific automated tools that help businesses retain and recruit customers:
Customer record creation: Create customer records from an email in a single click while associating all the emails to the customer’s history.
Lead generation: When a customer fills out a lead generation web page that uses data validation techniques to ensure data is correct.
Data augmentation: Augment a customer’s record using reliable data like LinkedIn to populate descriptive data fields.
Task assignment: Configure workflows that are assigned as tasks to sales representatives.
Notifications: Notify sales representatives about an impending task or message.
Improving the customer experience through automation
Customer satisfaction is enhanced using automated tools like chatbots that consistently respond to customer concerns or questions. By analyzing where a customer is in the sales funnel, an automated marketing campaign email is tailored to meet a customer’s specific interest to stimulate their interest in making a purchase. Any time autofill is used to help customers fulfill orders, it is a win for the customer and the business. Responsiveness, piquing interest, and auto-filling are automated tools that help improve the customer experience.
Best practices for implementing or upgrading a CRM system
Whether implementing a new CRM application or upgrading an existing one, here are some best practice tips to ensure your new CRM application is up and running within the agreed-upon established timeline.
Implementing a new CRM application
Purchasing a new CRM application indicates you have executive buy-in from top-level management. If you don’t have the buy-in, there is a potential for the CRM application never to be fully implemented. Once you have executive support, you need to be sure all potential application users understand why a CRM application is being purchased and how it will benefit each user.
If any section in the organization has unique needs, be sure the selected CRM application can be customized to meet those needs. Don’t be shy about asking questions about the vendor’s product, and make sure the selected CRM application can meet any unique business needs.
Once a CRM product has been selected, a rollout or implementation plan with clearly identified due dates for each phase details what needs to be done before the application goes online. Training needs to occur in one or more phases that coincide with the completion date, allowing employees to use the application immediately. During the rollout and a month or two after implementation, onsite vendor support may be available, if needed.
Upgrading a CRM application
If your business is upgrading an existing CRM system, you already know what the current CRM application lacks. Knowing what the application lacks is an impetus for creating a clear statement of requirements.
Once executive buy-in has approved the CRM upgrade, listed are the following steps for a successful upgrade:
- Form a project team consisting of a project manager and at least one employee from every section that will use the application in the organization.
- Create a project plan by dividing the project into phases with due dates and identifying critical path issues like data migration and user training that can impede the project’s progress.
- Perform a substantial data cleaning before the data is moved to the upgraded CRM application.
- Knowing what the previous CRM application lacked is a starting point for testing the new CRM application’s new features, which includes any unique customization features that a section may routinely use.
The benefits of a business using a CRM application
Finding customers is one aspect of a successful business, but keeping each one of those customers is even more critical. The primary task of a CRM application is to excel at customer retention, giving a holistic view of each customer. Accurate and updated information is essential, so data entry updates must reflect correct information about each customer.
Data entry errors can negatively impact a business’ sales revenues. A CRM application helps a business maintain its customer base by using a shared centralized database that eliminates sales staff searching through paper files and records to find information about a customer or a potential prospect becoming a customer. In addition, all communication and interactions between internal sales representatives or customers are facilitated through a CRM application.
Here are some other salient benefits of a CRM:
Automating data entry: Customer information is automatically collected, aggregated, and categorized for the sales staff.
Calendar reminders: For existing or prospective customers, a reminder with specific notes for an existing customer or preference notes for a prospective customer based on their search on a business website.
Organized contact data: This feature helps sales representatives keep track of customers’ contact information and provides sales staff details on when a customer accesses or downloads information from the business website.
Generate sales reports: Using sales dashboards and reports, the sales manager can keep a constant pulse on quotas, closed deals, and personal performance.
Automated forecasting tools: These tools allow sales managers to forecast monthly or quarterly sales results using monthly recurring revenue (MRR) or year-over-year metrics to identify trends or take positive action to improve the results.
Sales team communication: Communication among team members is enhanced by using CRM collaboration features like tagging or sending emails within the CRM application.
Customer relationship applications are designed to support every customer’s needs. To meet every request from an existing customer or even a potential customer, the information in a CRM must be correct.
Selecting a CRM application
Many CRM vendors offer a 14-day or 30-day trial period that allows you to evaluate the scalability, ease of use, functionality, and integrations with other software products. Selection by a committee involves stakeholders from every section of the organization, which ensures every voice is heard. Between trial periods provided by some CRM vendors and selecting a CRM product by committee ensures a high probability that a business will choose the best CRM product for their company.
Looking for the latest in CRM solutions? Check out our CRM Software Buyer’s Guide.
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What is CRM data entry?
CRM data entry is the process of inputting relevant customer information, such as contact details, interactions, and preferences, into a customer relationship (CRM) system. This helps businesses manage relationships, track leads, and analyze customer data to enhance sakes, marketing, and customer service efforts.
How can I ensure accurate CRM data entry?
To ensure accurate CRM data entry, implement standardized procedures for data input, use data validation tools, and train staff on CRM usage. Regularly audit and update records, encourage team collaboration for consistent data management, and use integrations with other software tools to minimize manual data entry and human error.