Why CRM Maintenance Matters

Jake Lans

You value every current and prospective client, but without CRM maintenance, you may not be getting as much out of your client relationships as you could.

Your CRM is a powerful resource for both building new business relationships and maintaining existing ones. Right now, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) contact lists are in flux. Many companies devote valuable time and resources to crafting the perfect email campaign only to find that their contacts have been laid off, been furloughed, or have moved to new companies. 

While CRM maintenance is always critical, now is the perfect time for companies to clean up their act. In this article, we take a look at how you can make the most of your network by avoiding the many pitfalls of a poorly maintained CRM. 

What Can Go Wrong with Customer Data

CRM databases are important for marketing and sales pitches, whether you’re bringing in new clients or upselling existing ones. But the success of your email campaigns depends on accurate, updated data. Without regular maintenance, you can expect some of the following issues to pop up: 

  • Misspellings: Whether your team accidentally misspelled a name or the contact input their name incorrectly, it ’s common to find misspellings and incorrect formatting whenever data is entered by hand. Entry errors look unprofessional and can quickly damage an important relationship.
  • Incorrect Contact Information: Emails, phone numbers, and addresses need to be both accurate and uniform to be useful. A difference like “U.S.” vs. “USA” can make it difficult to pull data on your clients. Missing zip codes could make it difficult to run an effective mailing campaign, while email typos can cause crucial messages to bounce.
  • Outdated Company Information: Ensuring contacts are linked to the right companies is critical for effective marketing. Inaccurate or out-of-date data can undermine otherwise promising campaigns. In addition, employee titles and industry type must be current and standardized (titles should either be “CEO” or “Chief Executive Officer,” not one or the other).
  • Messy Properties: Your CRM’s data points, or properties, should be intentional and pre-determined. It can be all too easy for a salesperson to create new properties on the fly, leading to extraneous or duplicate information that makes it difficult to pull accurate datasets on region, client status, industry, and other key categories.
  • Duplicated Data: Doesn’t that client already exist? Duplicated accounts leads to contacts receiving multiple emails. In addition to appearing unprofessional and undermining client relationships, it can also lead to inflated campaign projections and disappointing results.
  • Junk or Spam Contacts: Your existing CRM data will age out over time and become less useful. It’s better to proactively remove contacts with low engagement levels and delete any “junk” contacts that bounce. In addition, conduct regular quality checks to ensure that all emails are business accounts and to delete fake, throwaway, or spam emails.
  • Competitors or Existing Clients: Without a clean CRM and proper segmentation, you could end up sending the wrong campaigns to your contacts. For instance, you certainly don’t want to send a generic pitch to a valued existing client. You can use CRM filters to make sure you’re reaching out in a way that’s appropriate for your sales funnel. 

Why Contact Maintenance Is Critical 

With proactive, ongoing contact maintenance, you can enjoy the following benefits of a well-managed CRM: 

  • Well-Used Resources: Try this: market to people who actually want to engage with your brand! Clear out those contacts that are likely sending your emails to their spam folder anyway. Then, use a clearly segmented CRM to filter contacts and direct specific services to a more focused, interested group.
  • Precise Campaign Statistics: You need marketing performance data you can trust. Don’t let a messy CRM undermine that data by inflating the number of bounces or unread emails. 
  • Sender Reputation: Undeliverable emails and spam complaints hurt your sender reputation. Over time, if enough recipients mark your emails as spam, your domain score goes down, and the email service may automatically block your campaigns. It takes a long “safe sending” phrase to get back on the good list. 
  • Higher Conversion Rates: Certain contacts are never going to engage with your campaigns. If you get rid of consistently bad contacts, you’ll have higher conversion rates and won’t be wasting your time on someone who has never opened your emails. 
  • Ensure Compliance: To better comply with regulations like GDPR, CCPA, and the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, you should not send marketing materials to anyone who has already unsubscribed. Avoid data duplication to help prevent accidental violations. 

How to Maintain Your CRM 

To avoid the above issues, you’ll want to commit to a regular CRM maintenance schedule — at least once quarterly. Clean up your data to avoid duplication, incomplete entries, and other errors, and enrich your data to expand the database if possible. Review CRM formatting to help ensure your template is working as intended,  and of course, check user access, licensing, and any potential CRM vulnerabilities. 

CRM maintenance can be a full-time job, and some organizations designate a current employee to perform these tasks manually. Others use automated tools to help streamline the work. Many organizations outsource the work completely, relying on an external party to provide the expertise and software needed to successfully maintain a functional, useful CRM. 

No matter what you decide, make sure you adhere to a regular schedule for CRM maintenance, and keep in mind that the strength of your client relationships is at stake. Now that we’ve described the dangers of a neglected CRM, here are the principles you can follow to achieve a clean CRM. 

Jake Lans

Digital Marketing Manager

Cut his teeth as a literary scout. Thunderfoot growth team since 2019. Spends his free time perfecting his slapshot and reading Dean Young.

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