March 27, 2018

How to Get Great Data Out of Your CRM

BY Caitlin Delohery IN CRM Software 2 Comments

Your CRM does so much. It organizes your contacts, streamlines your daily workflows, and automates the heavy lifting of your business. It’s a personal assistant, a project manager, and a savvy marketer, all rolled into one.

And, on top of all of that, your CRM can produce the kind of data that helps you run your business better. From website traffic reports to contact response data, from days-to-close metrics to ROI on outreach efforts, your CRM gives you the data that allows you to not only improve your today but maximize your success tomorrow.

Here’s how to get great data out of your CRM.

Create a CRM strategy.

Without a good CRM strategy, you and your team are just collecting information willy-nilly. This can lead to total chaos.

So, whether you’re a solopreneur or a larger business, plan out how you are going to implement and use your CRM. Think about how you are going to define your favorite metrics, the data you need to support your larger goals, and who on your team owns what info.

Here are some questions to guide your thoughts.

  • What data do I need my CRM to collect?
  • What is the function of my CRM data?
  • What metrics will help me reach my larger strategic goals?
  • Who is responsible for entering data into my CRM?
  • What existing tools will my CRM integrate with?
  • What devices will be synced with my CRM?
  • How will we perform quality checks on CRM data?

Standardize your data collection.

Once you’ve got your strategy on lock, the next step is putting it into action so that your entire team reliably and consistently gathers the info you need most.

Here are a few tips on standardizing data collection:

  • Educate your team on the importance of sticking to the standards.
  • Set clear guidelines for how to record info.
  • Define custom fields that easily slot into your existing workflow.

Implement templates across your organization.

Think of templates as another way to put standardization into action. By creating forms, emails, and to-do list templates, you can sculpt the way information is entered into your CRM.

Create standardized workflows, so that you and your team perform the same actions — and capture the same info — every time you do a certain task.

For example, if you create a custom form to fill out every time you return from a speaking gig or sales conference, you can be sure to capture the right info for new contacts, every time.

You’ll no longer have to dig back through your email or scour your desk drawer for a business card you may or may not have kept. Templates will help you do it right the first time around so you’ll always have the best data right at your fingertips.

Integrate your CRM with your email and social accounts.

Automation is your superhero when it comes to the kind of standardization that yields gold-star data. So, when you integrate your CRM with your email and social accounts, automation will rescue you from the perils of boring work and the havoc that human error can wreck on your info.

All your contacts’ info and your most recent correspondence will be logged directly into your CRM. No muss, no fuss.

This also saves you the hassle of navigating back and forth between your CRM and your various inboxes and helps you follow up as efficiently and knowledgeably as possible.

What’s more, when your email and social data is synced with your CRM, you can ensure that you’re getting the best, most up-to-date data as possible on all your contacts.

Check your work.

Even if you do everything right, follow all our steps, it’s likely that something can still go wrong. Call it Murphy’s Law of Data Entry. So, to really get stellar data out of your CRM, spot check your contact records and regular reports to make sure you don’t miss any sneaky, persistent errors:

  • Cross-reference your contact records against your email inbox or your own knowledge of your network.
  • Periodically audit some of your contacts to make sure nothing funny is going on — no fields were transposed, no data is being omitted, no monkeys have snuck in and replaced all the vowels with banana emojis, etc.
  • Investigate any analytics that seem out of left field to make sure reports were set up correctly, and there’s no other monkey business afoot.

So there you have it — how to make sure you get rockstar data out of your CRM.

Looking for more on that good, good data? Check out our article on paying attention to the metrics that matter.

Caitlin got her roots in inbound marketing before it got its name. As a teenager in the 90s, she promoted her independently published magazines by writing about the importance of indie publishing all over AOL. Now, Caitlin is passionate about moving people and society forward. She follows thought leaders in the National Speakers Association, the staffing industry, and all human rights movements. She loves learning and helping people learn.

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