Is Your CRM System Vulnerable to Inaccurate Data?

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Firms around the globe, regardless of company size, are trying to obtain a full 360° view of their customers by integrating multiple sources of data with a core CRM system. These organizations intend to enable employees to better understand their clientele and, in turn, allow them to win and acquire more business. These strategic objectives, however, cannot be achieved without accurate data. A recent December 2010 research brief from Experian QAS entitled “Improving Contact Data for CRM Users” elaborates on this theme and emphasizes the importance of having quality contact data. Experian QAS assists firms with their CRM data cleansing and governance strategy, specifically the arduous task of a large-scale contact and address data cleanup. Key findings from the study pertaining to U.S. organizations are highlighted below:

  • 87% have a defined strategy for maintaining data quality
  • 71% note that efficiency is the primary reason for sustaining contact data
  • 53% cite client satisfaction as the top driver for focusing on contact data quality

Other critical research highlights that CRM practitioners may find quite interresting are as follows:

  • 90% suspect that they possess inaccurate data on contacts and prospects
  • 79% reveal that over the past three years, inaccurate data has caused at least one negative consequence in their business
  • 73% are currently managing the quality of their data in some sort of manual fashion
  • 56% report that the element of human error is the top reason for not trusting their data

Inaccurate data makes it extremely difficult for firms to better understand and improve customer and prospect relationships, streamline operational processes, and enhance business intelligence reporting, which are the most common reasons to execute a CRM strategic implementation in the first place. Incorrect data results in hampered sales and marketing performance, as users constantly have to scrub, cleanse, and massage their data. As they have to spend more time and effort on reconciling, users will probably become extremely frustrated. Moreover, executive management will lose faith in the accuracy and validity of the KPI reporting metrics found on the real-time dashboards and forecasts. All in all, users from top to bottom of the enterprise will unfortunately become less inclined to adopt the CRM system of choice.

To overcome these data management challenges and pitfalls, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 contains powerful functionality designed to help manage, control, and enrich customer data. Examples of this functionality are below, and can be found in CRM 2011 by going to Settings – System – Data Management.

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Duplicate Detection

Create system settings and rules to monitor, detect, and manage duplicate data found in any list of records or results from an Advanced Find search. This feature improves data integrity by preventing the creation of duplicates. It also provides a safeguard by alerting you of duplicates resulting from the import of data from another CRM system.

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Examples of built-in out-of-the-box Duplicate Detection Rules are below.

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Bulk Edit/Delete

Based on Advanced Find criteria or from a particular grid list view, you can edit or delete bulk records. Assuming you want to make the same change to multiple records, a single edit can be applied to all of the records in question, thereby saving precious time. Records containing inaccurate data or stale data that is no longer needed, such as old sample testing entries, can also be deleted in bulk. Doing so will preserve data quality and system storage space. This feature can also be run periodically.

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Export/Re-import

In the case where different updates need to be made to different records, you can export data from CRM to Excel using the Export to Excel button. After making the necessary updates in Excel, you can then reimport the data back into CRM using the Import Data Wizard.

Import Wizard

Users can create records in bulk by importing thousands of records, such as contacts or accounts, from other CRM systems into CRM 2011. The source data must be in a .csv file, .txt file, an XML Spreadsheet 2003 (.xml) file , or a compressed (.zip) file. Existing data maps for source records can be utilized or you can choose to create a new one. The import process runs in the background and, upon completion, import records are classified for review as successes or failures.

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Maintaining data integrity is critical to the success of a CRM implementation. The plethora of Data Management tools in CRM 2011 enable firms to place more trust in the quality of their data. Since users can access their data more quickly and rely more on its accuracy, they are now better positioned to realize and leverage the full business value of the data and respond more efficiently and effectively to client demands and market challenges and opportunities.

by Customer Effective,  Georgia Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner

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