Studies show that 3 out of 5 CRMs fail after implementation. Absence of data within these systems has been agreed as one of the critical reason. Forrester Research's study concluded that companies analyze a mere 12% of data that they have. Results of our own 2016 survey from 38 companies resulted in similar results that 9 out of 10 contact records received by the organization does not reach its CRM. With 90% of the data hidden from view, the problem is compounded by the fact that this data is usually increasing at a rapid rate. Not only it could be messy, the bigger question is if it is still relevant.
Here we propose a simple approach to arrest the problem - in 3 steps. The answer lies in consolidation outside CRM into a Pre-CRM database, as not all data needs to be there. The steps are Discover, Consolidate and Migrate.
Discovering the sources of data is the first step. From our experience, some of usual data sources are:
Consolidation is the next step. A Pre-CRM contact database with all custom fields needs to be created and all the discovered data from first step needs to be exported to this repository. At Contactous, we have had three observations after this step has been carried out - First, it is shocking to everyone on how much data they had within the organization. One medium sized organization which manufactured IT peripheral products saw its Pre-CRM database balloon to a near million records! Our second observation was to see creativity breaking loose within the team who saw this database - patterns emerged, leads surfaced and possibilities on what can be done in campaigns went high. The third observation was in the sudden effectiveness of marketing automation programs who had to rethink the weight and warmth of leads in view of this Pre-CRM database.
Migration to CRM is the final step. Now that leads start to surface, the owners of the contacts selectively transfer the records to their CRM. Tens of thousands of handpicked records find their way into CRM within days, increasing its effectiveness and giving the intended CRM benefits back to the organization. The functionality of Pre-CRM's native connection to the CRM is critical, without which the approach will fail at this step.
This Pre-CRM could be as simple as a carefully designed spreadsheet or a purpose-built application like Contactous. The tool is secondary. Acting on those 90% contact records is the key.