CRM data governance, specifically account/customer data is a key variable for a successful deployment of your CRM tool . CRM data governance is often times ignored by companies or an after-thought of an CRM application roll-out. I have seen in the past where key customer data is duplicated, wrongly entered simply does not show up as expected in the chosen CRM tool-set. This, as you would imagine, can affect how reporting looks, deals are displayed, partner access just to name a few of the various issues. In addition, there are times in fact when bad data can actually have a direct impact on revenue or customer service. If I had to break down CRM data governance into two categories in which issues arise, they would typically (not always) fall in the following categories; lack of proper data management process and little to no cleansing (de-duping, rationalization ect).
Data Management Process
When large to medium sized enterprise business are ready for a large CRM deployment or simply want to work on their data, they should consider a robust data management process to create and maintain your critical account/customer data. Of course this should not be a process that paralyzes your ability to react quickly to market changes or a new acquisition In addition, this process which allows you to be clear with how customer data is managed, created and updated in an ongoing, never-ending process. Oftentimes, the data management process itself can become the barrier adoption of a CRM tool, but this can be managed. It is critical to have your organization/company understand; who your data stewards are, where your data inputs are generated (D&B, Hoovers, rep entry, etc.) and what you allow your end users to edit. The role of a data steward is a key resource to secure to ensure you have consistent, clean and relevant data. While the data stewards manage and maintain a consistent set of data elements across your company, they can’t solve all the issues. It does help greatly to have a consistent mechanism for editing and managing the data such as approval process for data. Informatica put out a great blog on this subject as well in 2012 with a great diagram as below. As you can see its an evolving process and there many parts to a robust CRM data governance process.
The other critical element to CRM Data Governance is how you cleanse the data initially and keep it clean. “Cleaning” your data includes, deuping, rationalization and ensuring controls are in place on the user interface side of your application to keep it clean. This subject differs from governance in that this is more of technology play vs. data management process which can be managed through a business lead process.
There are several of “off the shelf” applications you can purchase which will keep address data up to date, new postal codes relevant that can make a big difference for data quality. I would suggest if you do not have this in place yet, perform a vendor evaluation to see what works for your company. At a minimum, you want the tool to cleanse (filter our junk data and bad words), rationalize (de-dupe) and rationalize (tie to other systems such as opportunities, order data ect).
In summary, you do not need to complicate this area of CRM, but a set of standards that govern how your data is created, edited and retired is critical to having clean info presented to your sales and marketing reps within the CRM tool in your organization. Good luck with your CRM data governance” and as always reach out to me if you have an questions.
Hector Perez Jr