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CRM Database Clean Out: Why? And Where to Start?

The role of CRM manager was created because customer relations management is an intricate, detail oriented practice that can't be accomplished solely by software. Though CRM software is very useful (see infographic) the fact is that CRM databases often get outdated, overstuffed, and inaccurately organized over time.


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#1 Fear the duplicate

Many marketers think that duplicates in the system are no big deal but unfortunately, this is not the case. Duplicate contacts lead to lower open rates, customer journey interruption, and wasted employee time (as they sift through the CRM to find the right contact). In short, duplicates are messy, and often lead to mistakes, so it's better to take the time to get rid of them. There are softwares that can help you do this, but the tried and true way is simply cracking down and deleting or combining email addresses as you see fit. Once they are gone, make sure to set up a system to prevent them from coming back.

#2 Pick 3 lifestyle questions and include them for every contact

It's a given that your CRM should include basic customer information like name, age, and profession. However, companies these days are going far beyond collecting the basics. Hobbies, income level, family history, location, and personality all tie into a customer's journey, and getting and storing this information in your CRM can be extremely useful. If you don't know where to begin, choose three lifestyle traits that you would like to know about all of your customers and then put those questions into a quick survey.

Click here to discover how feedback surveys are essentials to know your customers.

Record any answers in your CRM immediately, and also make sure to record which customers are responsive to surveys. For those who don't respond to the survey, make it your goal to collect this lifestyle information in other ways, such as over the phone or through social media. Either way, make it your goal to get these lifestyle questions answered for every client. It will keep your team curious and asking the right questions, and it also helps to humanize your customers and help you develop your marketing persona.


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#3 Say goodbye to lost causes

In your CRM database, there are going to be leads that have never bought, or worst case scenario, customers who have left your company. When it comes to these dormant customers, you should do everything you can to try and bring them back. Send out a genuine, thoughtful survey with the intention of hearing their concerns and fixing them. Take every response you get seriously and work to repair any salvageable relationships. For leads that never went anywhere, you can create an ultra targeted nurturing campaign as a last attempt to try and get them through the door. But if all this fails, if their open rate is 0, their engagement is 0, and they have shown a steady lack of interest in your product for over two years, it's time to let them go. Clear them out of your CRM. All these dead customers do is bring down your open rates and make you look desperate. There are other interested customers that are far more worth your time.

#4 Rank

As mentioned above, you only have so much time, and you need to make sure that your focus is directed towards your most promising potential customers and your most loyal current ones. Adding a ranking system to your CRM database will help you organize contacts in order of type, importance, and likelihood of purchase. For example, you could rank your customers with numbers based on the following categories:

  1. Most likely to give positive word of mouth
  2. Most likely to convert into a customer
  3. Most likely to repeat purchase

These three simple categories will help you to rank and identify your customers in terms of what they have the potential to offer your company, and how likely they are to offer it.

When organized and managed properly, your CRM database is arguably the most powerful marketing tool that you have. Make sure to take advantage of all that it has to offer by creating up to date, comprehensive profiles of all of your contacts. The CRM database should be a useful resource for your marketing employees, not a frustrating and chaotic excel sheet. 


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