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CRM Data Management for the Savvy Administrator

Accurate customer data improves all aspects of your business, from prospecting and marketing to closing deals and keeping customers happy.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is the focal point of customer insight and knowledge for any data-driven business.

Your CRM database empowers you to understand your target market and identify business opportunities.

However, your insights are only as good as your data collection and management. Unfortunately, only 33% of marketers feel comfortable relying on their CRM to drive business decisions.

Men and women marketers collaborating about business decisions.

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Failing to collect the right data and ignoring database hygiene will leave your business in the dark.

Here’s the good news:

There are several good habits you can implement to keep your CRM database organized and accurate, so it can empower you to grow your business at all points along the customer journey.

Keep reading to learn:

  • The importance of your CRM database
  • How to collect accurate customer data
  • Best practices for maintaining your CRM database

The Growing Role of Your CRM Database

A CRM database supports sales teams by storing prospect information, logging customer interactions, and providing actionable insights.

Traditionally, CRM software was mainly reserved for sales teams. As the line between sales and marketing blurs, software providers have increasingly added marketing automation features to CRM tools.

Properly set up CRM software empowers your entire organization to understand customers better and make smarter decisions.

The data you collect in a CRM can be used to identify bottlenecks in your customer journey, brainstorm new product features, and improve conversion rates.

In addition to customer data management, your CRM data can offer valuable insights into internal activities and team efficiency.

Customer data management is an essential task for all sales professionals. You need to keep detailed records for each customer to nurture a relationship and increase their lifetime value.

CRM database systems serve as the central storage location for the data you capture about customers. With a CRM Database, your entire organization has one access point for customer insights.

The Types of Customer Data You Should Be Collecting

There are hundreds of details you could collect about each customer. However, not all data is equal.

Data-driven businesses need to find the right balance between data collection and simplicity. Collecting too much data takes up valuable storage space and makes it difficult for your team members to find the right information.

The key is to collect only the data that helps you make business decisions. Here are some examples of the type of data you should be collecting and how it helps your business: 

  • Basic data. This includes contact information and demographic data, such as email address, job title, and organization. Basic data is useful for record-keeping and segmenting your customer base.
  • Behavioral data. Behavioral data tracks the interactions between your business and your customers, such as product views and website page visits. Tracking interactions empowers you to identify friction in your sales process and user experience.
  • Attitude data. Attitude data refers to how your customers feel about your brand and your products. Understanding your customers’ feelings lets you identify the gaps in your customer experience and provides insight into what matters to them.
  • Journey data. Journey data tells you how your customers discovered your brand and what steps a prospect takes before becoming a customer. Examples of journey data include click tracking and referral tracking. Your team can use journey data to allocate marketing resources better and identify new business opportunities.

Your customers are multi-faceted, so your data collection should be too. If you only focus on one type of data, your team will miss out on the big picture.

CRM Data Management Strategies

Now that you know what type of data to collect, you can start planning how to collect it.

Remember, insights from your CRM database are only as good as your data collection and hygiene.

Sales woman in office meeting with laptop.

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Here are the best practices to help you collect the right data, minimize extra noise, and get the most out of your CRM. 

Create a CRM Database Management Plan

Cleaning up a messy CRM database takes a lot of time. You need to get your database right the first time.

Before you enter contact records and integrate your CRM, you need a CRM database management plan.

The first step in creating your management plan is to identify the objectives for your CRM. In other words, the results you want to see from using your CRM.

Typical objectives include:

  • Increasing lead generation
  • Improving accuracy in reporting
  • Facilitating seamless customer handoffs

Talk with the other departments in your organization to understand what each stakeholder wants from your CRM.

Once you know your objectives, you can begin to outline your plan.

Your plan should address the following questions:

Creating a management plan will help you fine-tune your processes and figure out how your CRM can best support your bottom line.

Creating a management plan will help you fine-tune your processes and figure out how your CRM can best support your bottom line.

Audit Your CRM Database Regularly

Even the best-laid plans can go astray. That’s why it’s essential to perform regular audits on your CRM.

A CRM audit serves two purposes. First, it helps you assess whether or not your CRM database continues to serve its purpose. Second, it allows you to clean your customer data and tweak processes and automation.

If your CRM software isn’t working for you, you don’t want to get stuck in another annual contract. So, you should conduct a CRM database audit once a year at minimum.

A man conducting a CRM Database Audit Presentation.

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In addition to your annual audit, you can schedule data cleaning every quarter or every six months.

Assessing the Effectiveness of Your CRM

Your CRM database management plan begins with the objectives your CRM needs to meet. When you perform an audit, you have the chance to ask, “Is my CRM database meeting expectations and supporting my sales process?”

Perhaps your CRM software lacks essential third-party integrations or custom reporting functions. Or maybe your CRM can’t scale with your business.

If that’s the case, you might need to find another CRM software that better fits your needs. Otherwise, it may just be a matter of finding better ways to use your CRM to support business growth.

Cleaning Customer Data

Your data quality affects the performance of your CRM, and bad data generates poor insights. Unfortunately, insufficient data happens. People can get careless, and mistakes accumulate. 

Data hygiene is the process of cleansing your data by removing duplicates and ensuring the accuracy of your records.

Data hygiene process

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Regular CRM data cleaning prevents the build-up of low-quality data and gets your CRM insights back on track.

Your data cleansing should include the following:

  • Deleting or merging duplicate records
  • Removing unsubscribed customers
  • Deleting unused workflows and reports
  • Disconnecting unused integrations
  • Verifying the accuracy of analytics reports

We recommend using a standard cleaning checklist to ensure the consistency of your data audits.

Unfortunately, CRM database audits and cleaning consume a lot of time.

Here’s the good news:

You can outsource your data cleaning. Several agencies specialize in cleaning CRM data.

Alternatively, you can look for CRM cleaning software to assist you during the auditing process.

Invest in Data Enrichment

Data enrichment is the process of supplementing basic customer data with information that helps paint a complete picture.

For example, let’s say your basic data capture for a prospective customer includes name, phone number, and email address.

You can enrich this data by adding information such as job title, company name, and salary range.

The enriched data gives you more information about each customer and more ways to filter and segment your entire database.

Woman with laptop doing Data Capture

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Data-driven businesses have two options when it comes to data enrichment: data consolidation and third-party services.

Data consolidation refers to merging the data from multiple silos in your organization. Instead of having one dataset for marketing, one for sales, and one for billing, it can all be combined in your CRM.

If you’ve already consolidated your data but you’d like to add more details to your records, you can use third-party sources.

Third-party data enrichment services use authoritative data sets to supplement your existing customer records.

You can use third-party services to add verticals such as credit ratings, zip codes, and buyer personas.

Learn Proper CRM Database Management Hygiene

If you can improve your data entry practices, you won’t have to spend as much time cleaning your data later.

Create an internal CRM guide for all of your team members. The guide should include details about each customer variable, including:

  • Name
  • Description
  • Data type
  • Entry protocol

Additionally, you should include a list and description of essential workflow automation processes.

Your CRM guide should be used to train anyone who uses the CRM, so everyone understands how to correctly record information in the software.

Final Thoughts: CRM Database Maintenance and Management

Your CRM empowers you to create better customer relationships more efficiently. With the help of software, you can better track each customer interaction and use analytics to discover the broader trends in your pipeline.

Remember to keep your CRM clean and create a database management strategy to help you get the most out of your CRM database.

Tools like Cirrus Insight can support better CRM hygiene practices by syncing with your inbox and ensuring accurate customer data is automatically entered into your Salesforce CRM.

Increases your CRM productivity with Cirrus Insight’s 14 Day Free Trial today.

Maddy Osman
Maddy Osman

5+ years of content writing for companies such as Cirrus Insight, Automattic, HubSpot, Sprout Social, Bluehost, Wix, and more. My background in WordPress web design contributes to a well-rounded understanding of SEO and how to connect brands to relevant search prospects.

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