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7 Steps to Perform an End-of-Year CRM Audit

October 28, 2019

Your CRM software is one of the best tools that you have for maximizing the utility of your marketing efforts and strengthening relationships with your customers—provided it’s in proper shape.

Over time, most agency and small business CRMs get bogged down with stale and incorrect data, often without anyone even noticing. This leads to inefficiencies in use, and could even mean the CRM isn’t working the way that it should. 

When this happens to your software, it essentially means your business is spending a lot of money to invest in a CRM platform that isn’t even providing you value. So how do you make sure you’re not wasting time, effort, and money with an inefficient CRM? With a CRM audit. And there’s no better time to do it than now. 

How to audit your CRM 

As we look ahead to the new year, it’s the perfect time to audit your CRM and look for gaps and wasteful processes. In particular, you’ll want to set your sights on these key areas:

  • Data: What is your data telling you? Where are there redundancies and information you’re not using?
  • Usage: Is your CRM meeting its full potential? Are there things you want your CRM to provide that it isn’t? Does your team believe your CRM is enabling them? 
  • Analytics: Where does your CRM help improve your conversion metrics? Where does it fail to do so?
  • Compliance: Is your CRM abiding by current regulatory requirements?

1. Define the original purpose of your CRM
A thorough end-of-year CRM audit certainly takes some time, but it’s worth it. Do it right and you’ll set your team up for increased success in 2020 and beyond. Here are seven tips to help make sure your audit is successful. 

This will require you to take a step back and remember why you initially started using a CRM in the first place. If your team has a documented inbound marketing strategy (as every team should), chances are your goals are plainly outlined already, and you can easily refer to them for guidance. Examine these goals and ask yourself how you envisioned your CRM enabling them. 

After reviewing your initial goals, make sure you also keep in mind any new goals that you may have established along the way. Sometimes goals shift and change over time as your strategy develops and plays out. While setting initial goals are is key to establishing why you started using a CRM in the first place, any new goals will help you understand if your CRM will have long-term value. 

2. Talk to your team about their CRM usage 

Nobody understands the strengths and weaknesses of your CRM system more than the people who use it every day. Get feedback from your marketing and sales team members on where they think your CRM meets the mark, and where they think it falls flat. These insights will be key in helping you determine the focal points of your audit, particularly when it comes to data and usage.

Your employees are busy and their time is valuable. The best way to gain insights from others on what they love (and maybe don’t love) about the CRM they’re using is to dedicate five to ten minutes at the end of a joint meeting to discuss this. Make sure you ask specific questions in order to get the most concrete responses possible.

Some questions to consider asking are: 

Are you able to access all the information you need on our customers? What is one thing you wish you’d have access to that you don’t?
Are leads being qualified correctly? Is there ever an instance where a lead is marked as a prospect when they aren’t actually at that stage in buying journey yet?
On a scale of one to 10, how satisfied are you with our current CRM?
Are there any other CRMs out there that you’re interested in using? How are they different from our current CRM? 

3. Make a CRM audit plan of attack 

An audit needs to be a coordinated process. You can’t just go in and start looking around without a plan of action—you’ll have a hard time knowing where to put your focus and what you should be looking for. Instead, make a concerted plan that outlines the various areas of priority where you’ll need to dig deeper. You’ll save yourself a lot of time get a big-picture view that can help direct your auditing efforts.

List the most crucial data points your CRM provides, such as:

  • Customer scoring
  • Customer qualifying 
  • Customer engagement logs
  • Previous customer activity

Then, dive into each individual category to determine if it is providing enough of the information you need to accurately capture insight into your customers and build those relationships. 

4. Look for (and remove) redundancies in your CRM

Redundancies in data are one of the biggest problems plaguing most business and agency CRMs. They’re one of the biggest problems with most business software platforms that aren’t used regularly. Clearing up redundancies is one of the easiest ways to smooth out the cogs of your CRM and keep it running smoothly.

Make note of any data that appears more than once, as well as where it’s stored. Is it in areas that are easily accessible or hidden? What kind of inefficiencies are these redundancies creating? 

The main concern to keep in mind when removing redundant information is ensuring that your software isn’t confusing your team or stalling their processes. One of the major benefits of CRM is that it helps to reduce the amount of work your team has to do, so if it’s not actually delivering, you’ll want to change that as quickly as possible. Removing redundancies from the CRM equation is the best way to keep a lean, efficient machine that delivers optimal results for your strategy. 

5. Keep conversions in mind 

Your CRM is only useful to the degree that it helps your business meet the key metrics of its conversion strategy. You should have those conversions at the forefront of your mind as you do your CRM audit, constantly evaluating processes not just for how well they work within the context of the system, but how adequately they move you toward your goals. After all, if your CRM isn’t helping you achieve your primary metrics, what value are you really getting out of it?

Dig into the conversion numbers from the past quarters and see if you find any inaccuracies or inconsistencies in the data. If you notice any issues with the results your CRM is giving you, that’s a red flag and it may mean it’s time to nix your current program and look for an alternative. 

6. Make sure CRM compliance is up-to-date

Compliance laws are in various states of evolution around the globe, and if you haven’t audited your CRM recently (or ever), there’s a strong chance you’re not meeting compliance expectations. Research current compliance laws, particularly the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), as well as ways you can ensure your CRM is meeting them. Then you can remain on the lookout for compliance as you prioritize it throughout your audit.

Adhering to compliance laws is extremely important. They provide transparency between your company and your customers, and help you communicate in plain terms what you’ll be doing with their contact information. Being compliant allows you to put the power back in your customers’ hands, letting them give their stamp of approval on your interaction. That goes a long way in strengthening your relationships and building trust.  

TIP: Make sure your CRM compliance is in check with a tool like G2 Track to help you. Activate your account for free. 

Manage my software compliance →

7. Do a data overview 

In addition to looking for redundancies in data, you also want to be sure that, in general, all of the data in your CRM database is serving a purpose. During your audit, take account of all of the various types of data included in your CRM. If you can’t assign a unique purpose to a specific type of data, then you can probably remove it.

It’s okay to have access to some data that you may not be using completely. But if your CRM is providing you with a lot of information on your customers that you aren’t using, you’ll want to either start considering ways you can make that information useful, or determine how your current CRM’s data collection can be more tailored to your company’s particular goals and needs.

CRM audit in real time 

While an end-of-the-year audit is always beneficial, we recommend keeping these areas in mind throughout the year as well. Keeping track of various inaccuracies, issues, redundancies, and inefficient processes as you notice them means less work at the end of the year when it comes time to audit your CRM.

Also, periodically check out CRM marketing trends so you can compare them against your current platform and ensure it’s on-base with what the current marketing landscape demands. 

As a next step, make it your New Year's resolution to go into 2020 with a cleaned up and wholly effective CRM—one you can trust and rely on to help you build and strengthen relationships with your customers. If you’re not quite up to the task of doing it yourself, consider hiring a dedicated CRM consultant who can tackle the job for you. Whatever you decide, make your CRM audit your number one priority. 

Find CRM software that produces results for your business. Browse the right options for your needs on G2. 

View the Easiest-to-Use CRM Software →

7 Steps to Perform an End-of-Year CRM Audit Executing a CRM audit at the end of the year is crucial to your business's success moving forward. Follow these 7 steps to execute an audit that eliminates redundancies and ensures compliance.
Jonathan Herrick Jonathan Herrick is CEO and chief high-fiver at  Benchmark Email and BenchmarkONE, bringing together 130 employees serving over 150,000 users in 15 countries and nine languages worldwide.

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