CRM Hygiene

The Essential 4-Step Guide to Improve CRM Data Quality (And Why It’s Important)

Lee Moskowitz
Director of Growth Marketing
Table of contents:

Sales teams rely on their CRM as the lifeblood of their go-to-market strategy. Unfortunately, CRM data is often incorrect, incomplete, or just plain missing.

Salesforce estimates that 91% of CRM data is incomplete and 70% of that data deteriorates and becomes inaccurate annually.

And LinkedIn’s 2022 State of Sales report shows almost half of sellers (45%) say dirty sales data is their biggest data challenge.

So if you’re concerned about the health of your CRM, you’re not alone. 

Perhaps more concerning, though, is the fact that the problem is getting worse. In fact, 49% of sales professionals say they plan to rely on CRM software “significantly more” in the coming years, and if their CRM data is bad, that’s a recipe for disaster.  

How much is bad sales data costing you? 

Enterprises report poor data quality is responsible for an average of $15 million per year in losses. 60% of companies can’t even estimate their total losses because they don’t measure the effect of bad data in the first place. 

An easy way to quickly assess the impact of bad data on your revenue engine is to take a look at how it interferes with a smooth sales process. 

One report showed inaccurate B2B contact data wastes 27.3% of sales reps’ time. That’s 546 hours a year per full-time inside sales rep.

4 reasons to improve your CRM data quality

Besides lost revenue and growth opportunities, why should you make the effort to improve your CRM data quality? 

#1: You can see what’s actually happening in your deals 

A complete and accurate CRM will help show you which deals are at risk, which are healthy, and exactly which key milestones every opportunity has (or hasn’t) hit.

#2: You get an accurate picture of rep performance

CRMs with complete data will show you who’s over or under-performing and why. This helps you have better performance conversations, implement more effective coaching, and make personnel decisions faster.

#3: You can execute more effectively 

With better CRM data quality, you’ll have more contacts, more accurate contact details, and contacts that are actually linked to the right accounts and opportunities. The result? Sales and marketing efforts are more accurate, more targeted, and more impactful. 

#4: You’ll save time

A CRM you can trust means less time spent chasing down the right people. Sellers can stop doing manual data entry and get back to doing what they’re best at: selling.

Don’t lose visibility, efficiency, and ultimately revenue due to a problem you can fix. Here are four steps to improve your CRM health: 

How to improve bad sales data:

  • Automate CRM data entry
  • Enrich existing contacts (and find new ones)
  • Make sure activities and contacts are getting linked correctly
  • Double-check that all your sales tools are writing data back to your CRM correctly

Step #1: Automate CRM data entry

Every relevant sales action should be logged in your CRM. Missing activity data jeopardizes deals and gives you an inaccurate sense of performance and coverage.

Relying on your sellers to do this will take their focus away from selling. Plus, the data may still be incomplete, inaccurate, or inconsistently entered. 

Twenty-five percent of sales reps said updating the CRM frequently takes time away from selling, and 95% said they’d be more likely to hit quota if they spent less time on non-revenue generating activities.

Your best bet is to automate this process with an automated data capture tool. The tool should connect with your email, calendar, and sales outreach platform and map the activity and contacts back to your CRM. Make sure whatever tool you choose maps data back to the correct account or opportunity.

Ultimately, getting all activity centralized in your CRM is going to help you answer these questions: 

  • Are reps doing enough activity?
  • Is each rep doing what they’re supposed to do for each opportunity they’re working? 
  • Do we have the right contacts engaged in every account?

And when automated data capture in place, you’ll be able to see the baseline of all rep activity. From there, you can pull reports that show:

  • Reps with significantly fewer emails logged in the last 30 days than the rest
  • Reps with significantly fewer meetings logged in the last 30 days than the rest
  • Reps with activity that is logged but not linked to a specific contact

This helps you see where to begin with troubleshooting to get deals back on track.

Step #2: Enrich existing contacts (and find new ones)

Records are only useful if they’re accurate. Duplicates, missing details, and unlinked contacts make it harder to prospect and work deals.

According to Forrester, 63% of purchases now have more than four people involved versus just 47% in 2017. More contacts means more complexity for your CRM.

Time to take a look at the contacts in your CRM. Here’s what to look for: 

  • Contacts that aren’t linked to an account
  • Duplicate contacts
  • Contacts with missing information
  • Contacts that haven’t been updated in the last year

If you want to tackle your contacts clean-up manually, you’ll need to have your reps comb through contacts and ensure they’re linked correctly.

Then, you’ll have to make sure they have accurate and up-to-date contact information. Then, you’ll need to de-dupe – more on how to do that here

Ultimately, you should look for an all-in-one solution to prevent duplicates, enrich data, and ensure all contacts are automatically linked to the right account. 

Step #3: Make sure activities and contacts are getting linked correctly

Fresh, active, and up-to-date opportunities are key to a healthy CRM. Missing data here can lead to inaccurate forecasts and ineffective outreach.

Here’s what you want to look at: 

  • The open opportunities that don’t have at least one contact
  • The open opportunities with no emails logged in the last 30 days
  • The open opportunities with no meetings logged in the last 30 days

Once each open opportunity has contacts and activity linked, it’s easier to assess whether it’s a valid deal and what stage it’s in, along with the proper next steps.

Step #4: Double-check that all your sales tools are writing data back to your CRM correctly

The revenue operations tech stack just keeps growing, and with it, so do the integrations. From Gong to Outreach, you likely have multiple systems all hooked up to write back data to your CRM. 

The major problem most companies have: lots of integrations equals lots of duplicate data. It’s difficult to ensure accuracy with each activity and contact. On the other hand, if you don’t have the proper integration set up, you wind up with data silos, which prevent your team from accessing and executing on the most holistic view of the opportunity. 

Review each integration and ensure it’s accurately writing information to your CRM. If any concerns arise, look for a solution that can centralize data from every source so you only have one tool writing back.

Automatically update your CRM: here’s how

SetSail is built to solve the missing, incomplete CRM data problem. 

First, SetSail integrates with your entire go-to-market tech stack, collecting data from every source and accurately writing it back to your CRM. No duplicates, no missing information, no incorrect data. 

Then, SetSail helps you use your sales data as a competitive advantage. You can see what’s working in your sales process, including which behaviors are most effective at growing revenue.

Finally, you’re able to replicate this activity across your sales team, so you’re not just getting more accurate real-time data, you’re also improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your entire revenue operation. 

Curious to see if SetSail is a good fit for you? Schedule a demo here.