Bad data is a challenge for all organizations, in all departments. As a sales manager, I see how it impacts the sales enablement process on a daily basis. For instance, when salespeople lack complete lead and contact record data, they aren’t able to connect with potential buyers when those buyers are in need. In addition, bad data is a time suck. SiriusDecisions says that sales professionals spend an average of 30% of their time researching contact information and entering it into their CRM. Incomplete data is the number one reason that salespeople give up on their CRM.

Here are some ways to solve the bad data issue for your sales team.

1. Automate the data entry process in your CRM

The manual entry process is broken. We’ve all had to copy and paste 15 values into our CRM while trying to find phone numbers and emails. Use technology to enable your sales reps with clean data, and automate the process of moving that data into your CRM. If you can take the research and entry time down from 30% to 5%, your reps will have more time to close deals.

2. Standardize your data to accurately segment

After defining your target market strategy, it’s important to identify target personas in the buying cycle. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to report on titles in your CRM if they are not standardized to a single convention. Data standardization applies a schema, or rules, to how data is formatted in your CRM. To you and me, Director of Marketing and Dir. of Marketing are the same title, however to a CRM, they are two different titles. Work with a data quality specialist to determine the right schema for your organization, and then use technology to enforce those standards in an automated fashion.

Once the data is standardized, you can segment your data to find the main contacts at your target companies. You might find that your next demo will be in front of multiple people, and perhaps you want to get to know them beforehand. Now you can find those contacts, segment them for outreach, and feel confident that you have their accurate contact information.

3. Update missing fields for a more complete picture of your buyer

Missing information also makes it impossible to segment leads and accounts. It’s important to fill demographic fields like Industry, Employee Size, Annual Revenue, and Address so you can build a target market strategy. We call this the high art of getting the best buyers: The fastest, least expensive way to dramatically increase sales. The best buyer strategy has probably helped companies double their sales faster than any other single concept. In a sentence, there’s always a smaller number of best buyers than all buyers. That means that selling to them is more profitable than selling to all buyers.

Incomplete data is actually the number one reason that salespeople give up on their CRM, and the CRM system fails. Enable the salespeople who are mining contact information or trying to complete their records. Give them the tools and technologies that will seamlessly move information from LinkedIn or company web pages into your CRM.

4. Clean up duplicates and prevent them going forward

Duplicates are a pain. Duplicates cause sales reps to waste time arguing about who owns which leads and accounts. Salespeople hate it when they get skipped in the lead queue because of a duplicate. Duplicates cause conflict internally.

Duplicates also cause miscommunication to your prospects and customers. Calling and emailing duplicate leads is annoying to the prospect. How many times have you been scolded by a prospect because of duplicate data?

The solution is to determine your duplicate data situation by benchmarking your data. This will help you identify how your sales reps can work smarter. RingLead has done this for many customers, and most are surprised at the amount of dirty data in their system. Data never lies, and it offers invaluable sales insights.

Take care of bad data so your sales team can be more focused, efficient and effective for the rest of 2015.

Achieve total data quality with this free complete guide.