Get Your Customer Data Ready for CRM to Shape BEFORE Implementing
5 Tips for Getting Customer Data Ready for CRM
According to Gartner, 40% of business initiatives fail due to bad data — and Customer Relationship Management projects are no exception. Dirty data can ruin any CRM project. If your sales team begins using a new system and the data is inaccurate, they won’t trust the system and end user adoption will plummet. Avoid this blunder by cleaning your data BEFORE you begin any CRM project.
Cleaning customer data is tedious and boring. Try these hacks to make faster work out of a dreary task:
Get Data into a Spreadsheet
The best way to review and massage data is to start by putting customer information into a spreadsheet. Spreadsheets make it easy to sort, replace, and fix data quality issues. If you are currently using CRM, you can export customer data into a CSV file — Comma Separated Values files are easy to import into any spreadsheet application.
If you use Microsoft Outlook to organize contacts, you can export contact information into Excel using these instructions.
Fix Unseparated / Unlabeled Data
Is your customer data lumped together and not properly labeled? Fix it using Microsoft Excel’s Text to Columns feature. For example, maybe you have one field listing customer names like this:
You can separate customer names into first and last names following these instructions:
First, Insert an empty column to the right of the customer names.
Next, Select the column containing customer names.
Now, select Data / Text to Columns.
Choose Delimited and select Next.
Select Space as a delimiter and click Next.
Finally, select Finish.
Note: If you receive a message stating, “There’s already data here. Do you want to replace it?” Select No and start over. Add additional columns to the right to accommodate all of the data being separated.
Don’t forget to add new labels to your columns.
Check Data Quality Using Sorting
The best way to look for bad data is to take your spreadsheet and sort your data – giving you an easy way to review lots of rows at one time. Here’s how:
Select all of the data in a worksheet by pressing CTRL + A at the same time.
Select Data / Sort and choose the first column. Select OK. (Note: If your data has headers, check the box, “My data has headers.”)
Scan down the first column and look for anything that stands out, such as rows that are alphabetized in surprising ways, names that are spelled in different ways, etc. These are all clues that there might be issues with the data.
Repeat this method for each column.
Fix Mismatched Data
When you checked data quality, did you find that the same company name was spelled in different ways? Did you find that sales reps names weren’t spelled out or nicknames were used? You can fix these issues using Microsoft Excel’s Find & Replace feature. Here’s how:
Identify the mismatched data. (e.g. “Acme Company” and “Acme Co.”)
From the Home tab, select Find & Select. Select Replace.
In the “Find What” box, type the data that you want to replace. (e.g. “Acme Co.”)
In the “Replace With” box, type the data that you want to keep in your spreadsheet. (e.g. “Acme Company”)
Select Replace or Replace All. The program will replace the old data with the matching, new data. (e.g. only “Acme Company” will be listed)
Repeat this process with each piece of mismatched data.
Manage Different Office Locations
Do you serve one company with different office locations? You can address this issue by adding a “Site” field to your spreadsheet.
Add a column to the right of the “Company” field.
Label the column “Site”.
For companies with multiple locations, label each location. (e.g. “Boston Sales Office”, “Austin Field Office”, etc.)
These hacks will save you hours of manual data entry. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry. Many CRM vendors can connect you with consulting services that will clean data for you or you can learn more about Claritysoft’s QuickStart program.
Not ready for full-featured CRM?
Try our free CRM Excel Template.