Garbage In, Garbage Out

Garbage In, Garbage Out

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In a big data world, ‘garbage in, garbage out’ has never been more relevant to your CRM process. A bit like social media followers, you can easily have a false sense of security with a big database and big mail shots. However if the data isn’t accurate, you’re wasting your time and the process could even be counter productive; losing a prospect is much easier than winning one.

You need clean, relevant data that you understand and can trust.

Your CRM system needs to monitor the customer journey, track the sales pipeline, be accurate and the go-to place for sales activity. If you look at an account you should easily be able to see who the prospect is, their requirement, communication, customer journey status and who internally is looking after them. It can even be used for forecasting potential revenue and the implementation and management of a KPI structure. CRM should make your life easier.

If your system is bursting with contacts and hasn’t been cleansed for a while, it is worth investing the time. This can be a great job for a junior sales person as they learn the ropes – an ideal way to practice their phone and research skills.

You can’t track an accurate sales cycle (key if you are a new business) if your data is inaccurate. I regularly receive updates from a yacht company offering yachts for sale. As much as I would like to buy a yacht, I can’t. If you are measuring your sales cycle from 1st mailing through to conversion and the first component is incorrect, the end result is irrelevant.

It’s essential to know where a prospect is in the customer journey. You don’t want someone you have met and are on first name terms with to receive a communication titled “Dear Mr. Smith” introducing them to your company.


  • New Lead
  • Cold
  • Warm
  • Hot
  • Client

Forecasting is an important discipline for sales teams and essential for management. By segmenting your prospects into how likely they are to convert to a customer, you can forecast potential revenues.


  • 25% – Qualified Prospect. Have met or spoken to at length on the phone. Genuine interest. Still some way to go in bringing the client over the line.
  • 50% – Above + proposal received. Follow-up meeting/action has been set.
  • 75% – Above + contract received. Almost certain to convert.

If you know where the qualified leads are being found and who internally is finding them, you can tailor future research activity and influence marketing/advertising spend. It can foster healthy competition internally and is often the one area of CRM that is correct!

Keep a clear record of all communication with prospects including written communication and detailed calling/meeting notes. Ensure your system can log incoming & outgoing emails and that your sales people are diligent in logging all calls and meetings. KPI structures are a great way to ensure this good practice.

CRM can structure daily sales activities – each morning you simply look at your Tasks. Each touch point should have a follow up task; be that an email following a letter, a call following an email or a call following the mailing of a proposal. Relying on ‘memory’ or notes in your notebook is not good practice.

With your CRM system cleansed it’s time to start looking at how, when and what you communicate with your prospects. To follow…


Written by Samantha Wright