Two common concerns for professional services firms (accounting, management and IT consulting, AEC, and legal) surrounding CRM deployments are how to initially pull clean contacts into a CRM system and how to then keep them clean once they are there.
This is a unique challenge professional services firms face because it's very common for firms to have duplicate contacts across multiple divisions within the same CRM system. Let's look at an accounting firm whose services includes audit, human capital, tax, and business advisory services. It's routine for a member of each of these teams to have a duplicate instance of the same contact with similar or varying information attached to the contact record. In other words, it's nearly impossible to start a project with "good" data.
Because these duplicates exist, it makes it very difficult, if not impossible, for the firm as a whole to put out consistent messaging and effectively cross-sell services to existing clients. This is especially troublesome for marketing teams who are working to prevent marketing communication going to the same contact multiple times. It doesn’t look great if four members of your team from four different divisions are reaching out to the same contact at the same time trying to sell different things. As obvious as this may seem, we see it happen all the time.
It's time for professional services firms to come clean with their CRM data to strengthen long-term relationships with their existing clients and ensure data accuracy within their CRM in the future.
We have identified the following four steps to assist professional services firms with contact migration and management: prepare, analyze, migrate, and manage.
Where is your data coming from? This is where you identify the data sources where your records exist which could include Outlook, an incumbent CRM system, ERP, spreadsheets, or another homegrown data system. This is also where you divide business vs. personal information and flag contacts that should be included or excluded in CRM.
We have the ability to choose which fields from CRM will sync to the primary record and which fields will remain private. This means if you have the home phone number of Paul Brown but your colleague doesn't, that field will be hidden and remain for your eyes only.
At the end of the prepare step you will have a targeted list of uncleansed contacts that are ready to be cleansed.
Time to come clean. In this step of the project your data gets cleansed based on analysis and business rules.
Important aspects of the analyze phase of the project include:
- Identifying who owns a contact
- Identifying who can view a contact
- Defining rules of engagement
- Discussing private data needs
Normalization, data enrichment, and data security are all taken into consideration as we work towards creating a comprehensive list of cleansed contacts that are ready to be imported into CRM.
Now it's time to move. We begin by segregating existing contact records in Outlook and then executing business logic on the contact data set. Then we migrate data from the staging area to CRM. We will work with you to determine the best method for migration, whether it be SSIS vs. 3rd party tool. Your output will be the same: cleansed contacts in both CRM and Outlook.
Once you've gone through the process of normalizing your data and importing a clean batch into CRM you want to keep it that way. It's difficult to keep data clean on an ongoing basis and if you don't, user adoption will suffer. Enter the role of data stewardship.
Designating a member of your team as the CRM data steward (this does not need to be a full-time role) and giving them the tools they need to keep the data clean will ensure that your CRM remains pristine. Regularly scheduled data cleansing activities and a commitment of a data steward resource will ensure that you have clean data going forward.
This methodology we have developed ensures that your contact data is comprehensive, clean, and continues to stay that way so your organization’s CRM remains accurate (and useful) moving forward. Properly migrating and managing your CRM contacts will allow your marketing team to access marketable data that can be used to increase customer intimacy.
Do you work at an accounting, consulting, AEC, or legal firm and feel that your CRM system could benefit from data cleansing? Contact us today to learn more about contact migration and contact management for professional services firms.