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Is sales misusing CRM data?

A properly used customer relationship management system can turn a small operation into a significant force. All too often, though, executives and sales teams under-utilize or misuse their CRM system and its data.

Sales teams often find their efforts stymied by one major problem: inaccurate data resulting from a lack or misuse of CRM tools and a rushed process that fails to account for the right metrics.

Leveraged correctly, though, a CRM solution will help keep your contacts and accounts organized and increase both the quantity and quality of leads. According to Software Advice, 74 percent of CRM users report seeing improved access to customer data through their systems.

The facts are clear: good CRM users outperform their competitors. So why don’t all companies employ these tools, and how can current users make the most of their systems?

1. Capturing the wrong data
Experian reports that companies lose 12 percent of their revenue on average to bad data. Streamline your data collection processes to reduce that number—don’t ask for data you don’t need. If you have no plans to send direct mail, for example, don’t ask for contact addresses.

If it’s important that you’re registering people’s age and location, for specific targeted campaigns, make sure that information is logged correctly—and by everyone.

2. Focusing on the wrong metrics
The “performing” parts of your data can easily distract you, but if you see a million site visitors and no form submissions, something is wrong. Eschew vanity metrics in favor of information that tells you where prospects are in your pipeline.

To avoid getting distracted by vanity numbers, Baseline recommends identifying metrics that impact your bottom line, establishing standard outcomes, and measuring performance against those numbers.

The most critical insight into your company’s sales activities comes through dashboards. If you’re not able to see exactly where you are today compared to the same time last year, or compare this year’s sales to last year’s, you’ll be missing out on crucial insights. Dashboards and reports give you these tools to view all in one place—without having to click around the system.

3. Failing to act on good data
An alarming number of businesses don’t act on the data they capture, even when it’s good data. Quality CRM data should impact every aspect of the business from sales to marketing to support.

Most CRM systems have some kind of marketing capabilities or are integrated with third-party marketing systems. This feature of CRM systems is often underused—typically due to complexity of learning, lack of staffing resources to manage it, or just a general non-practice of using marketing to increase sales.

For example, if you’re able to send an initial email blast to 10,000 customers and prospects, and you get 200 responses for your product, 30 of which actually purchase your product, you can instantly see how effective that campaign was.

Over time, you’ll be able to see what marketing activities are the most effective, and you’ll have honed the best way to get your message across.

Don’t fall prey to these common CRM mistakes. Instead, leverage your data collection and turn your CRM into the engine that drives both your relationships and your revenue.

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