It goes without saying that what you give is what you get. Like the old saying goes: garbage-in, garbage-out! This is true programs such as Microsoft Excel, but benefits and consequences are magnified in more powerful tools such as CRM. I can’t stress enough that data accuracy is highly sensitive topic in the commercial real estate industry.
CRM for commercial real estate brokerages (or in any industry really) is a game changer.
- It streamlines your daily tasks.
- It makes managing client relationships easier and better maintained.
- It allows for better organization of brokers.
The list goes on and on. However, in order to have a highly-functional CRM system you need to manually enter your data or import it with a spreadsheet.
Looping back to the simple philosophy of garbage-in-garbage-out, a company and their employees should strive for a data ‘culture’ that is as accurate as possible.
The common misconception about bad data
Many people seem to assume that bad data consists only of duplicates. Duplicate data is bad data and it is a common mistake made, but it is not the only contributing factor to bad data in CRM. Ask yourself these questions:
- Am I inputting false information such as a random lease expiration when I don’t know it?
- Am I ignoring important fields that I should have completed?
- Am I not entering data in a streamlined fashion?
- Am I searching for data (such as a contact), before creating a new record?
Garbage-in, garbage-out. With bad inputs, you get bad outputs of:
- Impaired decision making.
- Inaccurate analytics.
- Reduced customer success.
- Redundant and regressive marketing.
- Decreased sales.
Bad data causes impaired decision making. Without accurate data, you cannot make reliable or ethical decisions, and you will end up with inaccurate analysis. With bad contact information, you won’t be able to maintain your level of success nor your customers’ success.
When your CRM isn’t being utilized properly, perhaps due to duplicates or users not updating contact records, different members of your company may be contacting the same prospect with the same material. The prospect on the other end receiving this repetitive contact is making the judgment that your company is disjointed and therefore not reliable. You must avoid this redundant and regressive marketing mistake at all costs.
And of course, all of this boils down to decreases in your sales and profits.
Data importation is not as simple as you think
Many CRM services out there might tell you that data importation is easy and that all you have to do is “map and go.” Truthfully, if you adopt this philosophy, you’ll live to regret it with hours of data clean up and frustrated end users.
From our experience we know for a fact that in order to facilitate successful data importation you have to gather the data and cleanse it in advance. This includes removing duplicates and eliminating fields of data that your team never uses. Taking these steps among others reduces extra time and costs that you will otherwise face.
How to get clean data
The definition of “clean data” is up to you or your company. As an organization, whatever is decided as clean data should be committed to as a whole. Here’s an easy equation for achieving data quality:
Data Quality = Validation + Normalization + Matching + Completion
Let’s break down this equation.
Validation. What’s to be done. Describe the field level as to why it needs to be validated so users are clear on what type of data to enter and why.
Normalization. Keeping your data consistent. For example, make sure you input the correct abbreviations for important fields such as states (TX or Texas, not TXS).
Matching. Avoid data duplication. Create unique rules to define what a duplicate is. Sometimes people have the same name, so make sure you input other important distinguishers such as phone numbers, addresses, e-mail, etc.
Completion. Fill out all of the important information that your company needs for each entry. Again, completion is determined by your company’s needs.
How to get started
If your company is using a CRM that isn’t the right fit for you, look at alternative CRM solutions. We pride ourselves in providing a tailored CRM solution, AscendixRE, for your company. We can help your company decide on your data requirements, aid in imports and data migrations, and training users to not put in bad info (garbage!) in required fields such as Lease Records.
As mentioned earlier, InsideView may be the data automation add-on that your company can greatly benefit from.