Data Quality

Top 6 New Year’s Resolutions for CRM Users

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More and more companies are moving to a data-driven business model––and this trend shows no sign of slowing down in 2023.

That’s because even amid shaky conditions like economic uncertainty, pandemics, wars, and layoffs that significantly change how we live and work, we can always count on high-quality data to give us the facts we need to find our footing.

Marketers have an opportunity––and a responsibility––to use this data to positively transform customer experiences in the new year. In an era where the needs of customers can change significantly at a moment’s notice, data is the key to keeping up with and engaging customers.

As you begin to think about how you can improve your data management practices and get the most out of your CRM data in 2023, here are six resolutions you should add to your list.

How to improve data management in 2023

The risks of duplicate, outdated, or simply incorrect data will increase significantly in 2023. The following tips will help you get a handle on your CRM data to use it to its fullest potential.

1. Simplify data entry

With hoards of new information being entered into their systems every day (over 1.1 trillion MB!), CRM users are facing an avalanche of data––and maintaining its quality can be overwhelming.

The first step to overcoming this challenge is to simplify data entry. Seek to understand the challenges users face when entering CRM data.

For example, ask yourself:

  • How do users input customer data?
  • Does this fit within their existing workflow, or is it causing a disconnect?
  • Are manual errors causing lasting issues?

Once you’ve identified the roadblocks, find solutions to streamline the data entry process. This will help prevent data entry errors, save users time, and boost productivity, freeing them up to focus on engaging customers instead of drowning in data.

Economic headwinds will only continue to affect businesses across the globe​ in 2023, making accurate data more important than ever. Bad data means less accuracy and productivity, which results in less business growth––something no business can afford in the current climate.

Simplifying data entry and prioritizing data quality will allow employees to work effectively (and quickly) as these headwinds continue. To make data entry and management more efficient, consider implementing a data productivity tool.

2. Prepare to address worsening data decay

In 2023, natural attrition and major changes in the workforce will exacerbate contact data decay. Data decay occurs on engagement points in quite a few ways, including:

  • Input errors
  • Attrition/turnover
  • Business name changes​

To address this decay before it negatively impacts your bottom line, you’ll need to look into more productive and automated processes to validate contact engagement points and reassign ownership of CRM records.

For example, you can use a tool like BriteVerify, the contact verification solution from Validity, to validate emails, phone numbers, and addresses. You can do this in real time or perform bulk validation of your stored data to identify invalid contact information. To assign or reassign record ownership within your CRM, the Reassign module within DemandTools V (DTV) is a helpful option to consider.

3. Prioritize data privacy and security

How do you protect your customer data? Data privacy laws are constantly evolving, and poor data security will put your company at risk of a breach—which can destroy your brand’s reputation.

Data privacy and security encompass more than just keeping your data safe from malicious actors. Data privacy laws protect your customers, too, and provide guidelines for how you can engage them. For example, customers need to provide consent to receive your brand communications, and there should be a simple way for them to say that their contact details cannot be used or sold.

When people know they can trust your brand with their data, it increases customer trust and loyalty and strengthens your brand reputation. It’s important to note that consumers don’t just appreciate privacy—they’re demanding it. This demand will only increase in 2023.

In fact, the looming Google deprecation of third-party cookies is going to result in an increased emphasis on the accuracy and the amount of first-party data, or data a company collects directly from its customers, in a company’s CRM.​ The growing consumer demand for privacy is one of the main reasons for the deprecation.

This year, work with teams across your company to create privacy and security training to educate employees about how to safely and legally handle your CRM data—especially first-party data.

To guide your discussions and reinforce the importance of data privacy and security in your organization, check out the costs of getting data privacy wrong and follow these six best practices for data privacy.

4. Prep your CRM for artificial intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence (AI) has hit the mainstream and is helping workers across industries work faster than ever. AI-powered tools automate all sorts of repetitive and manual tasks and can be especially helpful for maintaining a clean, duplicate-free CRM.

Many marketers rely on AI to boost their CRM output by segmenting leads, automating customer service needs, analyzing customer behavior, and accurately predicting sales cycles and viable leads. AI has become a competitive essential, both for its clear business benefits and how it improves the user experience.

Before you can use AI to your full advantage, you need to prep your CRM. Start by undergoing a data cleansing process and investing in a data management platform (if you haven’t already). Any team member that works with your customer data needs to understand how to identify and correct data quality issues, and an AI solution will make this process effortless.

Read through our eBook to learn if you are ready for AI and how to prepare your data for the future of CRM.

5. Establish a cross-functional data governance team

Data governance involves processes, policies, and metrics that aim to preserve your data quality so CRM data can be used effectively across your business. In 2022, 75 percent of teams that increased their investment in data governance cited improved data quality as its main benefit, followed by analytics and business intelligence capabilities.

Each department across your company uses data differently. Establishing a cross-functional data governance team can promote cohesion across your organization, ensure your data is useful for all departments, and prevent data quality issues.

You can form a data governance team by identifying one or two representatives from each department that uses data. Ideally, these should include managers or senior executives that are deeply knowledgeable about the business tools they use, how they generate and use data, and potential areas for refinement.

The data governance team will meet regularly—monthly or quarterly is plenty—to discuss data challenges their teams are facing and possible solutions, as well as plan your ongoing data strategy and discuss which tools you should be using for maximum impact.

6. Promote data literacy

Data literacy is a broad concept that relates to your team’s ability to understand data in its context, including a knowledge of your myriad of data sources, how that data is used, and what data is appropriate for specific needs.

An important goal of data literacy is to help employees realize that they’re responsible for maintaining high-quality data. This is crucial to governance, adherence to data regulations, and building trust in data through your internal quality standards.

Promoting data literacy can help your business achieve net gains in data quality and break down silos across teams for more collaborative communication and efficient work processes.

Start by reaching out to senior-level staff to understand the most common data challenges their teams face, including commonly asked questions or mistakes that are made.

Then, you can create educational resources that explain:

  • How your organization uses data
  • The benefits of data quality
  • Best practices for managing customer data in your systems
  • Ways to seek further support

Include data literacy as part of your employee onboarding process, and consider hosting a regular “lunch and learn” where team members can learn more about data quality trends, challenges, and opportunities.

Make data quality a priority in 2023

Brands can access more data than ever to understand their customers and create deeply personal and enriching experiences for them. Every touchpoint is a chance to earn your customers’ loyalty, and the key to winning their trust lies in their data.

Adding these resolutions to your list is a great first step on your journey to achieving high-quality data. To further set your team up for success in the new year, check out our cheat sheet, Top 5 Complaints of CRM Users & How to Address Them.