I just returned from a quick vacation in Colorado and Wyoming. I have visited various parts of Colorado and Wyoming upwards of half a dozen times, and the scenery still leaves me breathless. During this particular trip, an unusual geographic formation caught my eye. It was a table-top hill in the middle of a field. My friend, who I was visiting, shared that this hill was created solely by wind. Over an extremely long period of time, the wind deposited sediment and rock at this seemingly random location where it continued to grow in height. This formation is prime example of how a molehill can become a mountain over time in the right conditions.
At the beginning of this formation’s lifespan, moving the couple rocks that started it all would have been incredibly easy. Conversely, moving the current mountain would require a large amount of explosives used by a highly trained team. Data integrity operates the same way. If a company’s marketing automation tool or CRM is allowed to be polluted with poor or incomplete data from the beginning of time due to a lack of discipline or effort, it will quite literally require the movement of heaven and earth (and probably some serious $) to rectify the situation.
I was recently discussing how ridiculous and seemingly dumb some sales representatives can be at times (I am one so I am allowed to say that) with a good friend of mine. He works in marketing for a large company, and he shared that Shell Oil was marked as a small enterprise in his company’s CRM. Shell Oil. The company that was ranked #4 in 2014’s Fortune 500. Although this seems borderline humorous and innocent, let’s think about the implications of a single, incorrect data field like this one.
- Marketing Automation Campaigns – Most companies segment marketing communications and campaigns in order to tailor the content and messaging. Company size is one of the most common segmentation engines for both marketing and sales. If yours is a company that is trying to sell a product or service to a company the size of Shell Oil, it could be a fatal error to send a Shell employee an automated message or piece of content intended for a company a fraction the size of Shell.
- Sales Staff Assignment – Most companies have sales teams organized dependent on the business and resulting deal size of the accounts and prospects. What if a SMB/SME account representative came calling on Shell thinking that they were about to speak with a company of only 250-500 employees? This representative could risk coming off as unprepared or unprofessional on an initial conversation.
One, tiny little field in a CRM system can create the above dysfunction. On the other hand, clean data and a dedication to CRM integrity can benefit both the marketing and sales teams. Below are a couple basic benefits of long-term data integrity that should motivate your sales team to commit to adopting your CRM to its fullest capabilities.
- Marketing Automation Campaigns – If we think about a campaign geared toward driving a product demonstration, a handful of minor details will make or break the effectiveness of this campaign. Once a contact has registered for the event, the marketing automation tool should drop this contact out of the “Drive Registration” campaign and place the contact into a “Build Excitement” or “Continued Reminder” campaign until the date of the demonstration. Second, the marketing automation tool should be able to trigger a scheduled task for the appropriate sales representative in the CRM based upon certain activities or behaviors. A campaign of this nature is a direct example of a marketing automation tool passing a qualified lead to the sales team. This automatic lead qualification can only be correct if the initial data entry by sales is clean and correct.
- CRM Lead Scoring – Lead scoring in a marketing automation tool is good. Lead scoring in a marketing automation tool that is pushed to the CRM for easy access by the sales team is great. Specific activity history and engagements taken by the lead being pushed to the CRM is a game changer. The more intelligent of a conversation that your sales team can have, the higher the probability of that lead moving on to the next lifecycle stage. Lead scoring in a Customer Lifecycle Marketing platform is a combination of engagement points (marketing and sales) and profile score. Sales and marketing are equally responsible for the data that populates lead scoring criteria.
It is VERY easy for your company’s data to devolve into an unorganized quagmire of duplicate records, incomplete data fields, and just plain wrong information. This slippery slope can be effectively combatted by educating sales representatives on the power of CRM utilization (both positive and negative). It is important to fight for clean data every single day as an organization as data is one of, if not, the most valuable resource for the modern marketer and salesperson.