From the smallest business to the largest, a CRM can be an invaluable asset. Whether you're using Super Easy CRM or another, less awesome product, it’s where customer management truly begins. However, every tool is only as good as the user and the material it’s working with.
So assuming you’ve mastered your tool, this leaves the latter part; what CRM data is valuable and worth keeping? The exact answer will vary depending on your business, but some fundamentals are universal. So, let's explore what types of data you should be inputting into your CRM in more depth.
Data you should be inputting into your CRM First, broader types of data tend to be more valuable. These categorizations should help frame what follows, as you may want to pick at least a couple of each kind.
The first type is simple identity data; who your audience, lead, or customer is. Initially, this can include such simple data as your contact's name and contact information. Then it can extend to, say, social media handles, especially if you're in the B2B market.
Or it could include a physical mailing address if your business mails physical products – which you could use for anniversaries and special occasions to help increase loyalty and customer retention. For this type, Movers Development rightly asserts that it can tremendously help audience and customer segmentation. Indeed, with enough accurate identity data, you can better grasp who precisely you're targeting. This is the foundation of personalized, effective marketing, and SMART goals will often hinge on it.
The second type is descriptive data; data which, as the name gives away, describes your contacts. While identity data can fuel demographics-based segmentation, this one can enhance psychographics-based segmentation. It typically includes such details as marital status, home, car ownership status, etc. This type of CRM data is also quite valuable for the B2B market, as it can include your contacts' job titles, company positions, and personal notes.
Zoho finds descriptive data valuable in another regard as well. It rightly notes that “your organization might have several different sales processes in place[;] deal closure, lead follow-up, order management[…]”. As such, descriptive data can significantly help measure productivity within the workforce, too, beyond quantitative data.
The third type is quantitative data; specific, objective, and measurable data points. These will typically include historical data, such as purchase amounts and frequency, website visit frequency and duration, and marketing engagement. Some will argue that such data tells half a story, but it is a critical half.
Specific, tangible metrics can best explain audience and customer behaviors, regardless of gut feelings and feedback. For marketing specifically, this type too can serve as a very robust foundation. HubSpot notes that quantitative data drives behavioral and value-based segmentation – both demonstrably useful approaches. In addition, the M in SMART goals stands for measurable, which quantitative data serves best.
Finally comes qualitative data; subjective perceptions, satisfaction, and so forth. Predictably, this type primarily comes from surveys and direct feedback, such as social media comments. This type of CRM data is no less valuable, as it leans on the direct audience and customer feedback.
It can help reveal the second half of the story where quantitative data cannot, such as why X metric falters. For example, negative perceptions of customer service can explain lower sales, and poor brand perceptions can explain poor customer retention. In terms of marketing, Relevate offers a handy example of lead source as qualitative data.
A simple "where did you hear about us" survey can inform your marketing focus. In terms of employee productivity, qualitative data such as a simple burn-out quiz can also help inform managers' timely interventions.
With broader categories in order, you may likely not need all data types therein. If you’re reading this article, chances are you want to keep things simple, focused, and effective. So, always with one eye fixed on your unique business needs, consider the following data you can most likely use.
First, you will no doubt need to know the basics of your audiences' and customers' identities. You should know their first and last name, which you can use to personalize communications and marketing outreach.
You should know their contact data, so you can contact them as needed. And, most likely, you'll need such data as birthdays, subscription or membership anniversaries, and so forth – which you can use for outreach, discounts, gifts, etc.
Second, you will probably need some basic descriptive data. Such data as marital status and education can add another layer to audience segmentation, helping you better focus your efforts. If you’re in the B2B market, you will need your prospects' and customers' professional information too; their job title and company position, for sure. It will allow you to understand them more deeply, and better cater to their needs to secure success.
The third type of data you should be inputting into your CRM is historical data. Your customers' purchase history alone should help you segment customers based on value and inform your marketing efforts. Engagement metrics with your website, social media, emails, and other platforms or outreach are also invaluable for optimizing outreach. Simply tapping into support ticket history can yield actionable insights, such as preferred contact times, expectations, and past resolved issues.
Finally, you should by no means depend on quantitative data alone. Remember, quantitative data will often pinpoint "what," and qualitative data will often explain "why." Both are necessary to address shortcomings or improve, so direct feedback can be undeniably valuable. You may start with customer satisfaction and use those insights to inform your operations. You can also explore brand perceptions to refine your brand image. And of course, you can gauge your Net Promoter Score as an excellent metric to evaluate your perceived effectiveness and appeal.
All that said, simplicity is very much a quality worth pursuing. There's often little reason to waste time inputting data you can put to little use, after all. Yes, being thorough can often help, but it's equally productive to focus on what makes sense for your business. You can collect physical mailing addresses, for instance, but why do so if you don't need them?
At the same time, it's vital to regularly clean up the data which you do keep. Don't be afraid to cull inactive contacts after long periods, check for duplicate data, and discard data that's not actionable so you can focus on data that is. In combination, those simple practices and knowing what types of data you should be inputting into your CRM should let your CRM shine and truly work toward your business's growth.
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