How to Clean CRM Data Before a Software Integration
One of our favorite topics on the Datix blog continues to be the power of enterprise software integration. The power gained from a total view and insight into your shop floor and inventory right through to your customer and target markets is invaluable. However, one simply can’t just decide to integrate their ERP and CRM systems and complete the sync in the next day. As we mentioned in our infographic, Enterprise Integration: 8 Crucial Considerations, there needs to be a careful planning process and timeline in place for your integration operation for it to be as successful as it truly can be. In that infographic, we pointed out that clean data is one the first steps on the road to successful software integration. You already know that inaccurate data encourages missed follow-up calls, multiple sales people calling the same person and slip-ups that seriously impact your sales performance and customer satisfaction. Integration of systems filled with ‘dirty data’ and duplicate entries will just magnify those problems by populating all of your enterprise systems with the errors; making it even harder for your employees to use the system, and degrading the credibility of your software’s data. Long story short; clean your CRM data up before you move it anywhere else or integrate it with another enterprise system.
So, how do you go about making sure you have clean CRM data in the run-up to your software integration? Read on for some key steps!
Do a Mindful Cleanse of Existing Data
The first step to clean CRM data is taking the time to go through your entries with a thoughtful eye. Consider what information you have that is truly useful and what might be superfluous and unnecessary to integrate with your ERP. Do you have customers that have been out of contact for a long time, and that probably won’t be making orders in the future? Are there employees that you know no longer work with their current company and thus won’t be useful going forward? Consider getting rid of them so that you only have to sync your most current and relevant data when you integrate. If there are crucial fields missing from a certain contact, try reaching back out to the contact to get the full picture on them. If you figure that they aren’t worth the effort, then discard them as well. If you’re nervous about deleting data and losing valuable customer information, you can also store it in archives so that it is not synced, but still not lost just in case they do eventually come back around to your business.
Your search and data purge truly needs to be through—go even further than customer data by looking through any other information stored in CRM, processes and duties that have been recorded in your CRM. Tasks that were never attended to or simply checked out may still be lingering around and don’t need to be transferred. Consider this an opportunity for a much-needed spring cleaning of your CRM—benefiting not just your upcoming integration but also your entire sales process.
Merge Your Duplicate Records
During your clean up, ensure that you are merging any duplicate records that you find. You don’t want to reinforce these mistakes even further when you do send that CRM data to your ERP—you’ll only be spreading inaccurate and sluggish data across your organization. If certain fields are redundant (i.e. Employer and Company), consider creating a flow that will merge them and standardize the entries within them. The work you do now to build a foundation of clean CRM data will make it easier for you going forward.
Style Sheet and Standard
Once you have cleaned all the data that is already inside your system, you need to start enforcing policies to keep your CRM data clean in the run up to the integration. Ideally, you should already have data entry practices in place. However, because clean data is integral to a successful enterprise software integration you need to work even harder to make sure your entire team has hand in the accuracy of your information. Your sales team, along with everyone else who has a hand with inputting CRM data, needs to have a best practices guideline for how to input specific fields or tasks within the system; if phone numbers are written with hyphens, or state names abbreviated or spelled fully, for example. Inconsistent acronyms or shortened company names can mess up crucial functions you need your integration to operate, and muddy the reports that you are drawing from that data. A clear, well-enforced guideline ensures that every employee is acting the same way inside your enterprise software in the period preceding an integration, ensuring that the CRM data that you worked so hard to clean is kept that way.
Another way to ensure clean CRM data before an integration is creating a hierarchy of security and data access for your team. If everyone has the same, full access to your data they will be more likely to make errors or accidentally delete fields or records you need to succeed. Allow users only the access they need to sufficiently complete their work and input all the information they need. Your manufacturing team, for example, might need more than to be able to assign orders and production to certain clients—not the power to create new ones or alter current information. Not only will security roles streamline the user experience of CRM for your employees, increasing user adoption, it will also make sure you have all of the (correct) information you need when it comes time to integrate.
Integrating your CRM software with other enterprise applications like your ERP or Business Intelligence systems can give you the information you need transform your business into a customer-focused powerhouse. However, integration needs to be done carefully and correctly for you to truly realize the full benefits of data sync and selling and production history. Keeping on track with your best practices for entry and performing a thorough house cleaning before an integration is the best way to ensure clean CRM data before any enterprise integration.
For help with an upcoming CRM and ERP integration or advice on enterprise data best practices, contact an expert at Datix today.
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