For many people, the new year is a time to set goals and freshen things up a bit. Many companies do this, too. They clean their files, organize their data, and clean out the old in preparation for the new. This is also a great time to add one simpler task to your list: a CRM checkup, cleanup, and tune-up.

You may wonder what a CRM checkup is? It’s essentially a data update, or a time you set aside to clean up duplicate, misfiled, and incomplete records. Much of the work can be completed internally, but some, such as identifying customers who have moved and updating their forwarding address with post office information, is easier to accomplish using a third-party database vendor or list vendor.

Some Essentials of a CRM Checkup

#1: Review records.

You can run basic reports to find incomplete files and records in your database. You can also review customer files and compare names to find potential duplicates. When running such records, be sure to manually review any potential duplicates. Some will be easy to spot; XYZ Company matched to XYZ Company may be a clear duplicate but others, such as James H. Black at XYZ Company, James Black, and Jim Black may all refer to the same person. You may need to do some detective work to ascertain whether or not an item is, in fact, a true duplicate or whether your company just happens to have a lot of Mr. Blacks as contact people. (Stranger things have happened!)

#2: Update customer communication preferences.

Another task that you can tackle during your cleanup project is to update customer preferences. If you do not already track customer communication preferences, it may be wise to add fields now to do so in the future. Customers increasingly expect companies they interact with to remember and utilize their chosen communication preferences. If someone prefers a phone call over an email, it is both courteous and good service to place that phone call. It is also wise, since they may not answer emails swiftly. To update customer preferences, consider sending a short, simple email out to your customers asking them to confirm their choices and offering them the option of changing any at this time. A little courtesy goes a long way to improve customer service.

#3: Remove defunct records.

Customers come and customers go, and some companies go out of business. Designate someone at your company to update records annually, and collect information on companies that have stopped ordering, stopped doing business with you, or who have gone out of business. It will not pay to send marketing or other communications materials to such companies.

The beginning of the year is a great time to freshen things up and gear up for a great year. Your database is a great place to start. Your CRM system adds great value to the company’s objectives, but it can only be as valuable as the data it contains. By starting the year off with clean, updated information your CRM system will be successful in doing its job.

Let Accounting Systems, Inc. Help You

At ASI, we work with companies to find CRM solutions that fit their business needs. ASI offers integrated CRM software with Acumatica and Sage 100. For more information on how ASI can help you gain the most from your CRM and ERP, contact us today.