CRM Implementation Best Practices – Part 4, Data Management

Last week we shared CRM Implementation Best Practices – Part 3, Implementation. This is our CRM five part series:  1) Getting Buy-In, 2) Planning and Budgeting, 3) Implementation, 4) Data Management, and 5) Impact and ROI.

Part 4 – Data Management 

Inconsistent, inaccurate, duplicate, and incomplete data can cause chaos even after a successful implementation. The more effective CRM implementations have made a focused effort on data integrity. Some firms use a data steward who assumes the primary responsibility for managing the accuracy and reliability of a firm’s data.

Hear from these panelists how, if you practice good data management and implement a constant cleansing process for your CRM, you will be able to actually realize its full potential. That’s when your CRM data is really an asset!

View More: Hafley comments:

We use CRM as a broad data management system. We have in it not only clients, but also referral sources and people who attend our events or subscribe to our newsletters or blogs.

Before CRM we had seven databases and knew that people were getting multiple copies of mailings. So we focused first on getting that data cleaned, because we knew that from a business-case perspective, we’d be able to show that we were providing better client service, saving money on printing and postage, and ultimately getting the materials to people on a more timely basis. That was phase one.

We also knew that each of our attorneys has a business development account, and we had a system where the data was getting entered three times, which was obviously very ineffective. So we worked with Cole Valley on using the tracking module to come up with asystem that enables the attorney or the attorney’s secretary to enter a business development expense, get reimbursement and create a report.

We also helped marketing use the module to create a tracking system that shows how much we’re spending on entertainment versus individual corporate sponsorships. So it’s been a win-win all the way around. We’re actually working on phase four right now.

“If you spend time on the front end making sure that your data is the best it can be, you’re going to be a lot better off. The data stewards aren’t going to have much in the way of cleanup.” — Kim Hafley

Joseph_Barb_PP (1)Barbara Joseph comments:

Having a data steward really helps us get the most from CRM. She can run all kinds of reports, and see changes or updates to the data that have come through. Particularly when a new attorney syncs his or her data with the database, the data steward looks at it and notices if there are any process errors. If so, she goes in and tries to correct them. Otherwise, it’s that junk-in, junk-out issue. The reports she runs at different intervals really help, and ContactEase has all those reports built in so you can easily get them. That’s been very helpful.

It’s easier to manage shared contacts if each of our attorneys doesn’t have 2,000 of them in the system. CRM enables our attorneys to choose whether to share an Outlook contact, or keep it personal. We’re not asking them to delete anybody from their overall contacts, but just to choose which to share with the overall system. If they haven’t had any contact with someone in the past five years or can’t verify that the person is alive or dead, we ask them to make that contact personal or delete it.


When I did the audit I mentioned, one key question was “Where does all the data in the firm lie?” I’m not just talking about the mailing lists, but also Outlook data, Excel spreadsheets and maybe industry lists or other mailing lists.

I wanted to look at that from the get-go and determine where the communities of data were and what made the most sense in how to bring it in. It’s very easy to end up with garbage in, garbage out, so you essentially get one shot at this. Finding and cleaning the data took six to seven months, because it was like building a layer cake. How do you bring in new data so you don’t put garbage on top of clean data? That was really a huge challenge for us.

If you spend time on the front end making sure that your data is the best it can be, you’re going to be a lot better off. The data stewards aren’t going to have much in the way of cleanup, and it won’t take as long as before. It’s still critically important, because once you let it go, it goes downhill really fast.

Stay tuned for next week’s article – CRM Implementation Best Practices – Part 5, Impact and ROI. For the full whitepaper visit our website –

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