Building a Higher Level of Confidence in Your CRM Data

What is your sales organization’s level of confidence in your CRM data? Less than one-quarter (24%) of all respondents in our 2019 World-Class Sales Practices Study indicated that their sales organization is “highly confident” in their CRM data. (Click to tweet) This has not changed significantly from 24.9% two years ago when we last conducted the study in 2017. Even among the segment we identified as “World Class” in this year’s study (i.e., organizations that excelled at all of the Top 12 World-Class Sales Practices that we have been writing about over the past few weeks), only slightly more than half (59%) agreed that their sales organization was “highly confident” in their CRM data.

This might not seem surprising but, if CRM is a core technology for many sales organizations, it should be a red flag.

While it is not the focus of today’s blog, there can be many reasons why this problem exists – sub-optimal seller experience, technology implementation without sales process alignment and minimal efforts in place around data management, to name a few. Whatever the reasons, when your sales organization is not confident in your CRM data, it not only impacts adoption level and diminish your ROI, but it also can impact what you are doing with the information (i.e., making business decisions). (Click to tweet)

Today’s focus is a proactive approach to increasing your sales organization’s confidence in your CRM data. Here are three steps to do just that:

#1. Periodically spot-check your CRM data. (Click to tweet) When was the last time you as a sales operations leader spot-checked the quality of your sales data in your CRM? If you don’t remember, it’s probably a good time to do one. If you already do it periodically, you are on the right track – but how often do you have your sales managers spot-check your CRM data?

As a sales operations leader, you can help support your sales managers by reminding them to do periodic spot-checks. It can be as simple as a weekly spot-check on opportunity data prior to their forecast review meetings, or it can be a more structured quarterly review with your sales operations team to determine which CRM fields are still used and relevant. Partnering with your sales managers so that they also are doing periodic spot-checks will be even more effective in improving the sellers’ level of confidence in your CRM data.

It’s also important for sales operations to help keep this data both current and relevant by setting up a structured approach to data management – cleansing, deduplication and augmentation. The combination of sales keeping it updated themselves PLUS sales operations keeping it clean, accurate and relevant is necessary if you want to re-gain your sales organization’s confidence in level in your CRM data.

#2. Ask your sales teams not only how they are currently using CRM, but also how they want to use it. (Click to tweet) You know how sales managers and your sales operations teams are using CRM, but do you know how your sellers are using it? Make it a point to ask them, instead of presuming how they are using it. If your sellers are primarily using CRM to enter information on their contacts, accounts and opportunities, no wonder their confidence is low.

You can provide them with valuable data by investing in additional sales technology that proactively compiles, analyzes and delivers contact and account intelligence as well as opportunity risk levels. Periodically ask for feedback from sales managers and sellers, and partner with IT to find out what else is possible with CRM so that you can continue to ensure it is delivering value. In order to improve their confidence level in CRM data, data quality should not only be about accuracy but also about how valuable the data is for the seller. (Click to tweet)

#3. Find out how others are using data in CRM. (Click to tweet)  If your CRM is indeed your sales organization’s “source of truth,” then other functional teams such as marketing, customer service/success and finance also will find value in the data it houses. Find out how they are using this data, as this information might uncover new insights that also might be useful for your sales team.

For example, if marketing is using data from CRM to compile an analysis around buyer persona and won deals to determine which solution or service each persona is most likely to purchase, you might partner with marketing and IT to figure out a way to use this analysis and proactively recommend a solution or service based on the buyer persona information sales enters in CRM. By providing sales teams with insights based on other functional teams’ analysis, you are helping to ensure CRM is delivering value to the sales teams.

 

When sellers are able to get something of value from the data in CRM, their level of confidence in CRM data will start to improve. (Click to tweet) And sales operations leaders can be the catalyst for this transformation through a continual focus on delivering “data quality” – data that is both accurate and valuable to the sales teams.

 

On a related but separate topic, we just launched the survey for our Annual Sales Operations & Technology Study and we’d love to have you participate! Your participation will help us continue our research on sales operations and sales technology, so that we can continue to share our findings and best practices through our blogs. Click here to get started.

As a thank you for your participation, you will be among the first to receive the full report before it’s made available open market. You will also be able to download an asset immediately after completing the survey, and be invited to become a member of our research community!  Thank you!

 

Questions for you:

  • How confident is your sales organization in your CRM data?
  • How is your sales team using CRM today? How else do they want to use it?
  • In what ways can you partner with IT to help make CRM more valuable for your sales team?

 

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