Managing Data – what goes wrong?
Our previous blog discussed the importance of keeping a close eye on the business objectives of CRM projects, pointed out that CRM is adopted not installed, and considered what to do about some common challenges which can cause these projects to fail.
It also looked at the benefits from treating each department to be included in the CRM rollout as a profit centre within the overall project. This implied the need to have a clear plan for managing data.
Just possessing a lot of data is a waste of time. The ability to analyse data, draw conclusions and easily take action is where real competitive advantage comes from. Trouble is, most organisations have a virtual sea of data around their businesses, contained in multiple Outlook contact lists, data warehouses, marketing lists, accounting packages, spreadsheets, old CRM systems, Word lists and as hard copy lists. In many organisations each business area may be running their own database or databases, possibly in multiple locations with inconsistent naming conventions.
A key part of the move to a single view of the truth is having an overarching and clear plan for cleaning and migrating all this data into one place. Your shiny new CRM system is a waste of money without clean data in it.
- That seems straightforward, what could be the problem?
1. Defining a “best”record
Data can be a surprisingly emotive subject. Any discussions about data can quickly turn into a discussion about potential new working practices. Involve departmental heads and teams early in workshops to explore what data should be contained in a definitive client / prospect / contact record and develop an agreement of how cleaner better data will benefit them in their roles.
2. Planning stages of data migration
Spend time on a data migration and mapping plan which all parties agree to, if need be, department by department. As Microsoft Gold Partners Kynetix follow a version of Microsoft Dynamics “Surestep”. This provides an established deployment process and a range of useful documents to ensure success in managing project implementations.
3. Creating consistent naming conventions
Naming conventions within systems need to be consistent across the business. Over time the taxonomy used within a business can vary from department to department. What exactly is a “lead”, and how does it differ from a prospect, an enquiry or a suspect? If a Client hasn’t bought from you for two years should you still call them a Client or are they really a Hot Prospect?
4. Agreeing firm dates to start using it !
At the start of a project there may be entrenched ways of working. The benefits of moving to a centralised single view of the truth need to be understood by departmental heads. Involve each of them in clear actions and timings to agree definitions, clean and migrate data from each department into the central record, and set cast in stone dates to begin using this new dataset.
Beware your large CRM project drifting back to where it started with data in multiple locations again. Manage data usage pre, during and post each departments go live dates. Marketing departments with their liking for keeping specific marketing lists can be a culprit.
Managing the data component of CRM implementations can take more time than you think and require an objective, often external perspective on the most practical way forward. For a no obligation chat about CRM data management challenges Contact Us