Scour the data in your CRM to reveal duplicate entries, eroded contacts, and other missed opportunities for sales and service revenue. - Photo by Andreas Lischka via Pixabay

Scour the data in your CRM to reveal duplicate entries, eroded contacts, and other missed opportunities for sales and service revenue.

Photo by Andreas Lischka via Pixabay

Your sales and marketing teams understand the value of using your dealership’s customer relationship management system to store customer data, develop customer relationships, and speed up the sales cycle.

They know the demographic and geographic information your CRM tracks helps them send targeted promotions or increase foot traffic by dealer location.

They may also use specific customer data to improve predictive marketing efforts, such as service reminders, loyalty discounts, and offers tied to the end of a lease or warranty.

But the driving force behind CRM-based campaigns is accurate and insightful customer data, a responsibility that falls to everyone who touches the CRM. Duplicate information and invalid entries compromise data quality and result in sales and marketing inefficiencies, decreased customer retention, and revenue loss.

It’s time to get your data quality back on track. It can be done in three steps: assessment, prevention, and remediation.

Step 1: Assessment

Start with a true assessment of your customer data quality. A robust assessment solution should reveal store-specific data quality issues and how they are impacting your daily sales and marketing activities.

You may find that duplicate data, invalid data, or even malformed or incomplete data are more than a simple nuisance. Their presence has far-reaching business implications.

Seeing in black and white how bad data affects annual revenue and overspending — and alters the competitive positioning of your organization — is often the catalyst to getting data quality processes and tools in place to remove these obstacles to business success.

Step 2: Prevention

Prevention involves focusing on the way data enters the system to ensure user entry and routine data management don’t pollute it with bad data. This step includes educating users on the right way to manage CRM data and establishing protocols for keeping it standardized and clean.

Your list of rules could include:

  • Complete all required fields for a record, e.g. identifying that a customer is a lessee and the expiration date of their lease.
  • Use standardized naming conventions and formats, including abbreviations.
  • Double-check every customer’s information every time they contact the dealership, whether for sales or service.

This step should also include evaluating third-party tools that could help ensure data quality. Examples include email list verification services, email verification APIs for web forms, and scanners and blockers designed to find duplicate data and prevent it from being entered.

Step 3: Remediation

Even data that started out clean can eventually erode. Contact information changes and details about customers evolve. Implementing recurring data cleansing processes to continuously remove or merge duplicates, standardize content, and verify email addresses is key. Third-party software can be used to automate these processes.

Proactively addressing customer data quality starts with following this three-step plan and taking the time to learn more about these tools. You can then revise and develop your own process from there.

Brendan Peregrine is vice president of sales at Validity, a global provider of data quality solutions.