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We have a saying at VinSolutions “Bad data in, bad data out”, meaning even with all of the technology we have today, if your customer information is incomplete it is not worth keeping. One of the biggest challenges we have in setting up new accounts in Implementation is getting good data from another CRM/ILM. Every CRM/ILM has their own formats of exporting data and let’s face it; they are reluctant to give you the data you need, since you are leaving them for a competitor. Here are some tips on how to ensure you getting the most out of your data before exporting.
First, when you know you are getting ready to switch CRM/ILM companies, spend some time going through your unsold customer data; don’t assume the data is perfect. Look for customers that are missing pertinent information like phone numbers, email addresses, home address, etc, it is great to have a bunch of customer names, but what good is it if you cannot contact the customer? Consider using a third party that can update customer contact information. Sure it costs but in the end it is worth the investment if you can actual market to a customer that was a lead 6 months ago and is still looking. One sale may make up for the investment you made in updating your customer data.
Next, don’t allow any customer to be an “orphan”. With the high turnover in sales personnel it can be difficult to keep up with re-assigning customers to an active sales person. Changing CRM/ILM companies provides a perfect opportunity to get this done. Customers would prefer to see a specific sales person’s name on a letter or email, rather than the generic “Your Friends at……. “, you will also be ensuring that each customer will be getting followed up with by assigning tasks to the sales people.
After you have “cleaned” up your data and you are ready to export it into an Excel or .CSV spreadsheet, ask your Implementation Manager what information they need to make the transition the best it can be. Every system handles data differently, so it is important to know beforehand what fields are required, what fields can be handled and what your expectations are of the data once it is imported into the system. A rule of thumb is to get as much data as possible from your current CRM/ILM provider, than let your new company tell you what they can and cannot use. Also, have realistic expectations of “Active” customers, bring customers in as “Active” from 6 months ago is not practical or effective. Generally, going back 90 days or less is sufficient for follow up.
Finally, try not to show your hand to your current CRM/ILM provider, do not let them know that you are about to fire them, as many companies will become uncooperative and hold your data hostage. Instead, tell them that you are interested in doing a large ad campaign to your current unsold customers and you need to have all the contact information, notes, dates, etc. because you want to make the campaign as personal to the customer as possible. Remember just because you are switching companies it doesn’t mean your data is going to magically become clean and updated. If you put a little time in beforehand and clean up your data the result will become “Good data in, good data out” than sit back and watch your sales increase.