Get your CRM cooking with gourmet clean data ingredients

This is a guest post written by Vanessa Rombaut from PieSync.

Right off the bat, we can liken your CRM to a state-of-the-art kitchen in a Michelin Star restaurant. Your data is what comes into that kitchen to make the most delectable meals. So you’ve decided after much research that Freshsales is your state-of-the-art kitchen—great choice! Since you’re a Freshsales user, it’s safe to say you know that the data in your Freshsales CRM is your most valuable asset as a business. Your sales team relies on this data to close deals, quickly contact prospects, and help them be more efficient in their day-to-day job.

But, the sad truth is poor data quality is the number one reason why sales teams avoid using CRMs. Your sales team knows only too well the headache of pulling up a customer file and then thinking, “Wait, are these contact details up to date?”.  

Sure you might be able to convince the odd salesperson who is willing to check and triple check customer data before making a call or sending an email. But, let’s be realistic about it—they’re wasting hours of their time inspecting data when they could be making calls and closing deals. With reports finding that the average salesperson spends only 35.9% of the time selling, you know your sales team doesn’t want to waste time on data maintenance; they want to generate results.

Imagine if, in top kitchens around the world, chefs had to stop every time they were about to cook, and double check on a host of things—that each ingredient wasn’t past its use-by-date, that the labels on the containers in the fridge were correct, and that they really do hold “mizuna” and not “foie gras”?

You’re looking at a slow kitchen and a lot of customers just walking right on out to the restaurant on the other side of the road. And what happens if sales reps have to do this kind of constant checking? They’re going to be a lot less productive and you’re going to be missing out on customers.

Instead of sales teams using your carefully selected CRM to centralize all lead and customer contact data, they start creating their own rolodexes, usually a combination of email lists and post-it notes. If any of your sales folks move on, your customer records are lost forever.

What if you could give your sales team a rock-solid guarantee, that every time they pull up a customer file, the information in it would be correct?  What if they knew with certainty they never again had to triple check a phone number? I’m pretty sure you know the answer—they’d be more likely to use your sales CRM. In fact, you’ll probably reach the highest state that any sales team can reach, the Michelin Star of the CRM world: total CRM adoption.

How do you get to this state of total CRM adoption? Three words: Data Management Policy.

Create a Data Management Policy

Ever heard the phrase, “garbage in, garbage out”? No? Alright, let me explain it to you real quick.

If data entry into your sales CRM is incorrect, usually the fault of manual input errors, you’ve got a case of “garbage in, garbage out.” The best way to combat this is to implement a data management policy. Here are a few things you can do to help get this policy underway:

Train your team

Total CRM adoption will take a little bit of team training, but the payoff is worth it. The first thing you’ll need to do is train your current sales team on the ins and outs of Freshsales. Don’t overload them with unnecessary features; tell them what they need to know to get their job done. You’ll definitely need features like lead scoring, which will save your sales team loads of time so they can get the extra edge in the kitchen. Check out what Freshsales has to offer on that front.

The second step is to create documentation, a “playbook” for how your team will use Freshsales CRM. This documentation is a great reference for current employees and will also help onboard new employees.

Up your data standards

CRM expert Jeremy Marsan from Fit Small Business told me that there are basically two problems when it comes to data and CRMs. “You can have too much data, like duplicate records, or you can have too little, like missing contact info. Both of these are frustrating and can compromise the effectiveness of your CRM.” There are ways to combat these data problems and often, the solutions come down to creating guidelines for your team.

  • Mandatory fields

The problem of employees adding minimal data is the most common and the most overlooked, according to Marsan. “You set up your CRM with an ideal vision of all the data you’ll collect and reports you’ll generate. But in practice, your employees are in a hurry and add minimal data as quickly as possible.” One way to tackle this problem is to define some mandatory fields. By doing this your team can’t save a record unless certain fields are filled in (such as name, phone number and email). Freshsales already has some basic fields that are mandatory. Which fields should be mandatory is really up to you and how your team operates. It’s worth thinking about this before you implement your sales CRM.

  • Drop-down and multi-select fields

Ditch free text fields; they can be highly erroneous. To avoid manual input errors, use drop-down and multi-select fields as much as possible.

  • Deduplicate

Inevitably, a lead or two will have duplicates in your sales CRM. Marsan says the best course of action is to “… identify any situations where duplicate entries can potentially get added and adjust your procedure accordingly.” Freshsales recommends deduplicating before sending out emails and bulk-deleting the duplicates. You can also merge leads so that no data is lost.

Weave your apps together

You’ve got sales cooking it up in Freshsales, but maybe you’ve got marketing using a totally different marketing automation app. Your marketing team is sweating over the fire trying to hand over the best MQLs while they’re still hot. But there’s a big problem, and you’ve probably seen this—marketing automation apps and sales CRMs seldom talk to each other. So marketing has to make a report about all the burning potatoes they’ve got cooking (MQLs), and then pass that report to sales at a weekly meeting. By the time it gets to sales the hot potatoes are more like cold, greasy lumps. Not really what sales is looking for.

You can use an app, like PieSync, to pass this information between marketing and sales. PieSync uses “Intelligent Syncing” to take customer and lead contact data, and synchronizes this information between Freshsales and the marketing automation app of your choice—in real time.  It not only syncs contact information, but also enriched information such as lead scores. That’s right, your sales team can get those potatoes while they’re still smokin’ hot!

PieSync can also sync other business apps such as invoicing and customer care, so you can gain a 360° view on all of your customers.

If you’d like to learn more about “Intelligent Syncing”, be sure to tune in to our webinar.

Once you’ve implemented your data management plan and you’ve got nothing but gourmet ingredients going into your CRM kitchen, you’ll achieve Total CRM Adoption and your sales team will be whipping up Michelin Star sales in no time. Now that’s cookin’ with gas!

Vanessa Rombaut is a tech writer featured in various tech publications and websites. She co-authored the book “The Beginner’s Guide to CRM” and is the Content Manager at PieSync. PieSync connects your databases across your cloud apps so that your sales and marketing teams always have access to the most up-to-date prospect and customer information.