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When's the last time you cleaned up your CRM?

You’ve built up your contacts lists, but things seem in disarray. You’re getting more bounce-backs on your email campaigns, and people aren’t responding.

Customer relations management solutions, or CRMs, can be complicated and offer advanced tools. But you can take a few fairly basic steps to organize information and eliminate problems. These steps should lead to more effective communication with clients and better response rates, which can help your bottom line.

Why It's Necessary

Cleaning outdated addresses help prevent your marketing from ending up in people’s spam folders.

And updating your CRM isn’t just about deleting incorrect or nonresponsive contacts. It’s also about ensuring the contact information you retain is accurate and complete.

With added detail, you can quickly connect sellers and buyers based on specific needs outlined in your CRM notes. You also can create more meaningful relationships as you document such things as family milestones and career changes.

Beginning the Cleanup

Since information and circumstances are always changing, you need a systematic way to update your CRM database. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Take it step-by-step, experts say.

Step 1

Download a full report of all your contacts. Identify duplicate data and remove it. Be sure to confirm the latest contact method to ensure you are deleting the older information. It’s not a bad practice to reach out via phone or text to confirm data details before getting rid of any information.

Step 2

Create subcategories, groups, or tags to define sets of customers easily. Segmentation can be based on personas like buyer or seller, customer or client, buy or lease, first-home buyer or investor, homeowner or lessor, partner or vendor. The more detail, the better you’ll be at generating new business through niche marketing because you'll be able to target very specific marketing communications.

Step 3

Check the performance of your emails and note which are being opened and which aren’t. If they aren't being consistently opened, check to see if the address is outdated or misspelled. Research and remove all bouncebacks.

Step 4

Set a task for yourself to call each contact shortly. NAR suggests setting a time limit of 30–60 days to check in on them and get updated information.

Step 5

Before deleting a contact, consider moving the contact to inactive status. Prospects in an inactive status require very minimal touch points and by saving the contact, you leave open an opportunity in the future to reengage. Add an inactive tag to prevent these contacts from receiving unwanted emails and unsubscribing altogether from further communication.

Step 6

Set ongoing maintenance goals. For example, contacting everyone on your list at least once annually for updates or getting new contacts added within 24 hours. NAR recommends checking your list every 30 days against the National Do Not Call Registry.

The overall time needed to organize your contacts will vary depending on the number in your database. NAR data suggests each contact takes about 3 minutes, which means about 25 hours for every 500 contacts. If you send emails to 100 prospects, but only 70 get through because of outdated addresses or misspellings, a lot of what you think you’re accomplishing isn’t getting done,

Holiday Task: Reengagement Time

The end of the calendar year is a good time to call each person in your CRM. During your slower time, you can get updated on their preferred communication method, wedding anniversaries, and any birts of children or grandchildren.

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