Heidi Tucker, Vice President of Global Alliances, regularly contributes articles to MSDynamicsWorld.com on topics of interest to the Microsoft Dynamics community. Her most recent series has been on the topic of using data and insights for strategic advantage to generate revenue and stay ahead of the competition. InsideView augments Dynamics 365 with the type of data and insights she writes about through our offering, InsideView Insights. You can learn more here.

The posting below is an excerpt from the original article published on MSDynamicsWorld.com on March 26, 2019.

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Sales and marketing depend upon the data contained within your CRM system. When it’s properly taken care of, that data can fuel your company’s success. Left unattended, it becomes an impediment to growth. 

How CRM data drives success

For marketers to effectively fill the sales funnel, they need to define their ideal customers, target the right markets and personas, and know how and when to engage them with the right messages.

Once these qualified leads are handed over to sales, the reps need detailed information to understand their prospects, personalize their pitch, solve a specific challenge, and relate to relevant business events. They need to know who to reach out to and, in a perfect world, how and when to reach them.

Data – clean, complete, reliable data – is required for every step of that process. Sellers and marketers need data and insights about their prospects’ companies such as who they are, what industry they’re in, and their size in terms of revenue and employees. They need to know where they’re located and if they are affiliated with other companies and subsidiaries. It’s helpful to know financial details, relevant news, and contact information. 

They also need data about the individuals in those companies, including titles and job functions to identify potential buyers or influencers. They need to know how to contact them and, better yet, how they’re connected and what the decision-makers are interested in.

When they don’t have that data, or the data in CRM is outdated, they waste time researching across the internet or chasing the wrong leads. They send irrelevant messages, possibly tarnish your brand, and miss the right opportunities all together. 

The cost of bad CRM data adds up quickly.  But for most companies, it’s a large “hidden” expense of missed opportunities, rather than a hard dollar cost.  That’s why many companies don’t fully realize the cost impact of bad data, and don’t invest early enough in a solution to keep their data clean and complete on an ongoing basis.

With dirty data, the investment in CRM is minimized and many CRM deployments fail to deliver their expected ROI because the data in them isn’t useful.

Inevitable decay

Left unattended, data gets dirty, if for no other reason than because of change.  A recent study found that 64 percent of all workers are comfortable job hopping – defined as spending less than two years in a  job – up 22 percent in the past four years. That fact alone can account for a significant portion of your contact records going bad each year. According to SiriusDecisions, the typical B2B company’s CRM database has critical errors in 10 to 25 percent of its contact records at any given time. And some studies suggest much higher percentages. Then consider the changes to companies like relocations, mergers, acquisitions, growth, bankruptcies, and on and on.

Clearly, managing your CRM data and having a plan to ensure that it is clean and complete needs to be a priority. So where do you begin?

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