Small Business CRM: How To Transform & Optimize Your Contact Data

Yawn. Data! We realize that your business is built around passion and helping others succeed through the products and/or services that you offer. The reality is that maintaining your contact data, keeping it clean, up to date and using it to cultivate relationships is important if you want to grow your business seamlessly.

In this post we want to address a few areas that will help you leverage your contact data as a valuable asset in your customer interactions. We’ll look at:

  1. The definition of Data Transformation
  2. Which contacts of yours can be tracked in your CRM
  3. What information you can track to help increase sales

If you’ve read some of the other information on this site and the CRM handbook, the chances are that you are either using CRM and want to get more from it, or are looking to start with CRM and catapult your business to the next level. You would have seen that we believe customer data to be everything.

From where we’re sitting, a large part of the work we do is contact data related. (It represents over 50% of the work in the Alderbest Quick Start CRM service.) From where your’re sitting, it represents everything that will enable to interact with prospects and customers effectively. For your contacts it helps you be relevant and they will feel both valued and respected. In turn, this means they are more likely to increase their spend with you.

That’s what we want, right? More revenue.

If CRM and contact data isn’t sexy. More revenue is!

So, if the goal is more revenue and clean, useful, contact data is the platform, what is Data Transformation?

Contact Data: Transformation

The aim with contact data is to have clean, up-to-date information populated with relevant information that can be leveraged for sales and marketing activity.

(Getting a little more sexy!)

If this is the goal, then we need to transform our data into a state that enables this to be reached.

The challenge we face is two fold:

  1. Having contact data in a number of sources
  2. Human user error

These two challenges are intertwined and have become amplified due to the advancements of technology. Before social media and integrated tools, contact data was created and entered manually. People, like you, would create an address book and that was that. Now, we can pull data from social media sites, integrate that with other systems (like email address books) AND it is most of the time based on what each person has entered in their own profiles.

The result, when it comes to pulling the contact data and creating a single ‘master’ list, it is messy and full of duplicates.

Does this sound familiar?

If you’re not sure, this example may do…

John Smith’s Outlook contact data looks like this:


His LinkedIn contact data looks like this:


The result is, when you are compiling a CRM ready list, you are going to have two contacts in your system that are the same person, and/or a record that is not uniform to other contact records.

So, when we’re talking about Data Transformation, we’re talking about making uniform clean data that is CRM ready and can be used for greater purposes. The key is standardizing the data and ‘Fields’. So, be consistent with what information you store and how it is entered.

Even though this might seem overly involved, it’s important. Your contacts are at the center of your business and if you plan on doing any form of outreach, then having clean data is imperative. We’ll talk more about the additional information you can track to maximize the effectiveness of your outreach activity. But, first, let’s think about which contacts can be included in your CRM.

Contact Data: Who To Include

Luckily, we love Data Transformation and turning your contact data into an asset.  With this said, we encourage everyone to only include contacts in their CRM that are business related.

When you’re looking to leverage CRM as a sales and marketing machine, information will be driving your activity.

We recommend tracking information related to the following contacts if not more:

  • Prospects & Leads (Unqualified contacts that you could do business with or could help you do more business)
  • Partners
  • Network Associates
  • Vendors/Suppliers
  • Customers
  • Decision Makers/Influencers

Based on this, you may guess that we highly encourage you not to include your ‘Aunt Sally’ or pet’s vet in your CRM.

Contact Data: Optimize Data To Increase Sales

This is where contact data DOES get sexier!

Well, we think so and are sure you’ll agree.

So far we’ve been talking about ‘standard’ contact information. (Name, address, phone, email, title, company etc.)

It’s the additional Fields of information that will help you be highly targeted and relevant in your sales and marketing. These fields of information can be anything that could be of potential interest to you OR help you segment your lists into groups for specific messages.

The reason we put such importance on this is that your target market and customer base is likely to be made up of people and businesses from different circles AND your sales and marketing activity is likely to include several forms (for example campaigns, events, direct sales etc.).

Regardless of where you are with your CRM adoption, we recommend you start compiling and tracking information such as:

  • Industry
  • Geography
  • Lead Source
  • Opportunity/Proposal Stage
  • Contact Role

And, other information relevant to your business.

If you address these three areas you well on your way to more sales through optimized contact data.

Free E-book

If you are looking to learn more about how CRM can help you grow your business you can grab a copy of the free e-book; “How To Grow Your Business With CRM – Even if you’re a technophobe” here –