The unfortunate truth about data is that it can get messy. Pretty quickly. A good CRM database requires regular work to maintain it and t the end of the day, your CRM is only as useful as the data you put into it. So why not take some time to tidy things up at the start of the year? Here are some goals you can set to stay ahead of your data:
1) No more holding on to old, unneeded data. Delete anything you're not using.
Old groups from 2017 that you no longer touch? Delete them. Pipelines without any contacts/companies? Delete them. Contacts that are no longer relevant leads? Delete them.
The biggest source of data clutter is data you don't need or you don't use. Clear them out, and delete them from your CRM so that you can be confident that every single thing you have in your CRM is important and necessary.
If you're not sure if you should delete someone or something, you can always export them out into a spreadsheet and keep them for reference later if needed.
2) No more duplicate data in your CRM.
Second biggest source of clutter? Duplicate records. Maybe you accidentally added the same contact twice, or maybe a teammate didn't realize a contact was already in LACRM.
By pulling up and merging your contacts in LACRM regularly, you can make sure you are not working with duplicate contacts. Clean up your duplicates easily with our Bulk Merge tool (under Settings) here.
3) No more messy data. Create data entry rules for your team (or yourself!).
When you have multiple people entering information into the CRM, it's especially crucial that everyone is entering data in a way that makes sense to everyone else. The last thing you want your team to have to deal with is missing info, or data entered in places they cannot easily find.
One easy way is to set up data entry rules. Rules on how to add a contact/company/pipeline into the CRM, and what information needs to be put in for every record. Some things you can do in LACRM to help:
- Create required custom fields on a contact/company/pipeline. This ensures that a contact/company/pipeline cannot be saved unless that field is filled in. Do keep in mind that the only fields you should make required are those that someone will always be able to fill out when they're creating a new contact/company/pipeline item.
If you always know where a lead came from when you add them to the CRM, the "Source" field should be made a required field. If you only know what your commission for a sale will be at the end of the sale, do not make "Commission" a required field (if not, you won't be able to save the contact before they become a sale!).
- Create the groups you need to use before you need them. If you know you want to organize your contacts based on territory, create groups for all your territories right from the start, instead of creating them as you go. This allows you and your team to immediately sort contacts/companies out instead of having to wonder how they should categorize their contacts.
- Minimize freeform data entry whenever possible by creating dropdown and checkbox list fields. Freeform (or text area) fields are useful for things like meeting and call notes, background context about a contact etc. In other words, things that need to be described in some kind of narrative. The problem with entering a chunk of text, however, is that it's hard to read and immediately parse. If important information is nested in the middle of a large paragraph, it will get lost. So whenever it's possible to turn a piece of information into a dropdown or checkbox list, do so.
Common pieces of information that are best saved as a dropdown or checkbox list: Source, Interested Products/Services, Preferred Type of Follow-up, Geographic Region.
4) No more unstructured permission setups. Review your users' access permissions in the CRM.
LACRM's user permission structure allows you to control exactly what a specific user can see in the CRM, whether they can export or delete data, whether they can edit someone else's contacts, and whether they can make account-wide changes.
These permissions may change as someone's role in the company changes. A team mate that's been promoted to a managerial position may need new permissions in the CRM to see or work with more data. Take some time to review your users' permissions in the CRM to make sure everyone is seeing the information they need, and that no one is getting access to data they shouldn't see.
If you're an administrator, you can review your users' permissions here.
5) No more forgetting to update your CRM. Build CRM time into your schedule.
One more time to hammer the point home: your CRM is only as useful as the data you put into it. The moment you start forgetting to put in notes, your CRM starts becoming less valuable. After all, who wants to dig through a CRM with only outdated information?
Some helpful tips on how to always remember to update your CRM:
- When you schedule a meeting on your calendar, block off 5 minutes after the meeting for entering notes into your CRM. This way, it's on your calendar and you won't have the excuse of not having time to update your CRM.
- If you're out and about and don't have time to type out detailed notes, enter audio notes. Pull out your phone, open up LACRM, and dictate directly into a contact's History. You can always clean up improperly transcribed notes later when you're back at your computer, but having the actual content in the CRM when the meeting is still fresh in your mind helps make sure you're leaving the most accurate and informative data. Learn more about how to enter in audio notes here.
- Review your team's activity reports with them. The easiest way to make sure your team is updating the CRM regularly is to go through their activity reports with them. An activity report in LACRM shows you everything that a user has done in the CRM over a period of time -- the contacts added, notes entered, tasks completed etc. Chatting through an activity report lets you see if there's anything they've done that's missing from the CRM and helps build up the habit of entering information into the CRM.
Not sure how to get organized, or need some help cleaning things up in your CRM? Just reach out to the LACRM team.