How many times have you been tripped up by dodgy data? Probably more frequently than you care to remember. And the reason you don’t want to add up those moments is that they are excruciatingly awkward. They are those times you wish a hole would appear in the floor and swallow you up. Data accuracy is critical, not just to save yourself embarrassment but also your credibility and, more importantly, your company’s ability to function correctly.
What you will learn in this article
- My uber-awkward sales meeting
- 3 great ways to improve data accuracy
- How they apply to you and your small business
- The help of CRM
- How to get started with CRM
The sales meeting to forget
If you followed the TV series, The Office, you would know the pin-dropping embarrassment of my sales meeting with senior management.
The Monday morning meeting started like any other until we started to go over forecasts. Over the weekend, I spent time creating various graphs and pipeline visualizations to show the forecasts for the sales team in the next quarter. I was in full swing when the CEO interrupted me in mid-sentence.
“Hold on. Weren’t your projections out by 25% last quarter?”
Deathly silence enveloped the room. My heart was pumping, and I was lost for words. Eventually, I managed to mumble an excuse, then I sat down hastily, hoping we could quickly move to the next agenda item. Suffice to say, it was a lesson well learned. But it was a situation that I could have avoided if only the data had been up-to-data and accurate.
3 fantastic methods to improve your data accuracy
You can avoid skin-crawling moments like mine by having confidence in your numbers. Without accurate data in real-time, forecasts and projections are as reliable as guesswork and crystal balls.
Whether it’s deal value, close dates, or sales stages, your forecasts are only as good as your data. And, take my word for it; you want your data to be as accurate as possible. Otherwise, you will never escape from your data tripping you up. And almost always at the worst possible times. So to avoid this cycle of data deficit, there are three steps you can take to improve the overall quality of your data in your CRM.
Smartphones are big news if you haven’t noticed already. Today, a smartphone enables you and your team to do pretty much everything you can do on a laptop. And, more importantly, whenever you are out of the office and meeting people. Having access to your CRM like this only involves downloading the CRM vendor’s mobile app. After that, it’s just as simple as downloading any other app for your phone.
So be sure you are fully exploiting the power of your CRM by using the mobile app to let you and your team access and input data on the go. Data is much more likely to be accurate if sales reps can update and log data while still fresh in their minds, either during a meeting or right afterward. This way, you are more likely to get a comprehensive account of what happened than having sales reps wait until they return to the office.
As well as ensuring more up-to-date and robust data, mobile CRM will also help massively with user adoption and getting calls logged on the system.
Living in your inbox
Your sales team – and probably you too – live in your inbox. So ask yourself this: what does a sales rep do first at their desk when returning from lunch, staging a demo, or meeting with clients?
If you think it’s checking your new flashy CRM system, you are almost certainly wrong. In reality, the sales rep’s habitat is their inbox. It doesn’t matter whether they are at their office desk or on the go; they are magnetically drawn to their inbox.
So why not follow the eyeballs and enable you and your team to access the CRM system straight from Gmail or Outlook? Integrating your CRM with email makes eminent sense. Not only will you be increasing access and utilization, but the CRM will also be center stage without anyone having to leave their inbox.
Recruiting a data accuracy champion
Increasing data accuracy will involve changing your company culture where accurate data is the expected norm. This will take a concerted effort but can be reinforced if you appoint a data accuracy champion. They lead by example to encourage others to follow suit. After all, you have invested money in each CRM user, so you have a reasonable expectation concerning Return on Investment by ensuring accurate data input.
How to get started with CRM
If you are still using a cobbled-together manual system or underwhelmed by your current CRM, it’s time to investigate a solution. There’s no doubt that the best solutions come in the form of cloud-based CRM systems for small businesses. These are very affordable, easy to implement, user-friendly, and simple to scale up when your business needs change due to growth.
Having chosen cloud CRMs as the way to go, the next step is to check them out. There is no shortage of cloud CRM vendors these days. So shop around and pick out the ones you like the look of and get a free trial. These are at least 14-days long and are a no-obligation way to get hands-on exposure to evaluate the system. So always opt for the test drive. That way, you can be sure you are making an informed decision.
Data is the lifeblood of any organization. Whether you own a small business owner or are a large corporation’s CEO, this dependence is the same. Ultimately, your forecasts and projections will only ever be as accurate as the figures upon which they are based. A CRM system, though, is one giant step forward in ensuring your data is up-to-the-minute accurate. Contact us today. We are cloud CRM experts and specialize in helping small businesses get the most out of our CRM system.