At the beginning of October at the InterAction User Group one of the key topics that kept coming up was the quality of data.
Without exception everyone agreed that good data quality is essential to support successful business development and marketing initiatives that help firms meet their strategic objectives. But that does not necessarily mean that all data held within the CRM system is of equal importance. The critical data to maintain on the most regular basis is that which is used to meet your key business objectives.
In any firm some clients and contacts are more important than others. So, if the strategy is to grow and retain the top 200 clients then clearly all the effort needs to go into ensuring the data relating to those clients – and the most important contacts at those clients - is complete and accurate. Only then can the firm plan the communications and activities that will lead to growth.
Of course, it’s vital that the strategy is communicated to fee earners and others so they understand why there is a focus on maintaining a particular set of data. It’s also vital that fee earners trust the accuracy of the data in the CRM system. So keeping employee data up to date should be a key priority. Their personal information is the first record fee earners will check and, if it’s not accurate, it will undermine their confidence in the rest of the data.
But do fee earners need to know the ins and outs of how data quality is maintained? The general consensus was no, they don’t need to know the daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly tasks that are going on in the background. They don’t need to know how many contacts in the system have no email the role of completing them can be left to the CRM team.
However, everyone agreed that fee earners do need to know when a lack of data creates risks to relationships. For example, where the fees at a particular client are decreasing, there has been a lack of activity with a particular contact or a partner is about to retire it can lead to data becoming out of date, which fee earners need to be informed about. Because ultimately they are responsible for maintaining client relationships.
But that doesn’t mean the CRM team can sit back and relax. Its value to the organisation – and the fee earners – is focusing its efforts on measuring the quality of the data that is critical to achieving the firm’s strategy and proactively alerting fee earners, marketing, business development, and the partners when a lack of, or inaccurate, data poses a risk to the business.
The value of good quality data is better relationships and satisfied clients, which leads to growth. The costs of poor data are embarrassment when the wrong people are contacted, wasted marketing effort, lost opportunities for new business and cross-selling, and greater risk of losing clients.
The final message from the user group was clear. We don’t need to make a song and dance about data quality, we just need to focus and make sure the data we hold in our systems is complete, accurate and supports the larger business strategy.
For further information about the InterAction user group please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.