How Enhanced CRM Data Can Transform Prospecting

For businesses, 2016 is the year when data will truly come of age. We’re shifting toward a download (5)society where everything is connected, from the watches we wear to the appliances in our kitchens. The data everybody generates has the potential to give us unprecedented insight into the people who are buying what we sell. For sales teams, it’s a gift.

Raw data is, generally, too cluttered to be useful. The challenge is to make sense of it. Your CRM is simultaneously growing, and decaying. Data decays at a rate of about 2.1 per cent, per month, and once it’s out of date, it’s practically useless.

Can the CRM play a part in the data revolution? How can we modernize and take advantage? It’s time we made sense of data and put it to work.

A New Approach to Data

My colleague Steve Webster wrote an interesting blog about a sales call that he made last year. He’d identified a potential lead, and reached out to them over the phone. After being passed a secondary contact, he realized that he’d been talking to the CEO of the company. He referred to this as his Sliding Doors moment, because in a perfect world, he would  have known that from the data at his fingertips. Here’s how he feels about the importance of this correct, clean data:

Data is the lifeblood of the modern economy, but the arrangement of that data into information and knowledge is what really helps to make those better, more memorable connections. Research is key. The important point here is that, for the busy sales professional, that information is available in neatly packaged bundles. Somebody else has done it for you, so that you can make more calls and enter validated, more accurate, more complete contact information into your CRM. No longer do you need to spend vital time trawling the Internet, if you have the condensed information at your fingertips. And for the data-shy salesperson, you don’t even have to re-key the information anymore. You still have to click the “update CRM” button with your hand however, but I’m sure someone somewhere is working on that.

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Just how clean is your data? Identify where your data requires attention, allowing you to choose which areas to improve.

The prospecting process can be transformed when we enhance and clean our data.

Think of it this way. If a business holds valid data about potential leads in its CRM, the sales department can shorten the time needed to get in touch. The CRM can do more than just hold data: It can also pull in enhancements from other sources.

Enhanced data would include:

  • The CEO’s profile from LinkedIn
  • His social media feeds
  • His geographic location
  • Pertinent information about his business
  • Blog posts and other publications

Armed with this information, we’d be able to place a more effective call immediately. The CRM becomes a living, evolving customer database. It helps us to speak to the decision maker with certainty, and it makes that first conversation count.

Filling the Knowledge Gap

Enhancing data is a two-stage process.

Cleaning the Data in the CRM

When CRM data is contaminated, the single customer view is not maintained and there is no single version of the truth. Marketing is less effective, reports are incorrect and decisions are based on flawed data.

The first step – getting clean data – is critical. We know that the data in the CRM is constantly decaying. We’re also probably going to have some duplicate records, and records that are invalid; they may fail to save properly. Enhancing all this dirty data is only going to result in more confusion.

Enriching the CRM Records

Once we have a dataset that’s error free, we can start bringing additional information in.  We need to enrich data with external feeds to give us a more rounded view of each individual within it. Enhancing your data will provide you with more correct and complete data.

Clear Benefits

Using enhanced data in your CRM aids results. It gives you context, which results in better insight. It cuts down on search, which improves ROI. And it gets you to the right person faster.

The data your business already holds is a priceless asset. If you want to get to the right person first time, clean, enhanced data could turbo charge your ROI.

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