Data Quality “#1 Concern” for CRM Adopters, Survey Finds


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Would it surprise you that as many as 23.8% of respondents to a recent survey are still not using a CRM system, but are tracking sales with Microsoft Excel — or not tracking any lead and sales pipeline until the revenue is realized?

That’s one of the findings in a recent survey by DiscoverOrg, titled “CRM & Marketing
Automation Systems Report
,” which noted that even with such low-cost quality providers as Zoho, and SugarCRM, adoption lags behind expectations.

Maybe they tried it and found that bad data rendered it worthless. After all, a recent Gartner study found that the #1 reason for CRM adoption failure is bad data.


“Reps have to rely on this data to get to quota and set meetings, and when they go into the CRM systems to get the data they need to do their job, and it’s bad data, they stop using it.”

The survey identified “data accuracy” is the #1 concern of those who do use CRM systems. One wonders if it’s any coincidence that the survey also found that “more than half of respondents reported that they relied on sales representatives to update and cleanse their automation system data, and that 46 percent reported that “more than half of their database being inaccurate.

“Many companies are cutting corners by asking sales reps to update customer data – even though they’re already under enormous pressure to update many sources of information,” said Henry Schuck, DiscoverOrg’s co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer in a recent interview with CustomerThink.

“There’s a terrible feedback loop,” Schuck said, adding that DiscoverOrg provides a database solution that updates information, an app that sits in “that keeps data refreshed in real time,” with over 15,000 companies tracked and updated.

Is it possible to incentivize reps to keep, you know, somewhat accurate data in the system? Schuck said that some companies use gamification around data, for such specific data items as direct dial phone numbers, with leaderboards in Salesforce to track who’s ahead. “There are some gamification companies designed around getting reps to do what you want them to do within Salesforce, they’ll gamify what you want your reps to do,” Schuck said.

Having bad data in the system is a vicious cycle, Schuck noted: “Reps have to rely on this data to get to quota and set meetings, and when they go into the CRM systems to get the data they need to do their job, and it’s bad data, they stop using it.”

If management has good leads, verified and updated, fully scrubbed, in the CRM system, “then using CRM becomes vastly more important,” he said.

And even companies using CRM aren’t fully sure what to do with it. Schuck said the survey, which focused on the IT industry, found that from a segmentation perspective, “over 40 percent of CRM users cannot segment their data base by company size, 30 percent cannot segment by industry, so what that says is that you’re sending the same generic message to everybody, to a Fortune 500 and an SMB. You’re not speaking the customer’s language, you’re sending the same message to the CEO and to the analyst. It makes proper marketing difficult.”

But it all comes back to the quality of the data, as the study found: “Prospects have indicated that they are more likely to respond to a message that is directed to their job title or company type. Without the ability to target prospects, vendors risk losing their credibility with potential clients, increasing opt-out rates and removing companies from their pipelines indefinitely.”


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