Pareto Rule (80/20) Applied to CRM Databases

Sell more things. Focus all your effort on your top 20% of the contacts in your CRM database.

I hear many people saying their CRM database isn’t as good as it should be. And if that’s you, ask yourself why isn’t it as good as you think it should be. I’d predict that the surface issues with your database, like it isn’t generating leads for you, it’s too hard to find contacts, are because the data in it isn’t very good. So try this:

Today, bin your bottom quarter of your contacts. You choose how you identify them. Maybe, if you only do email marketing, it’s all the ones without an email address. Or all the ones who have bounced. Or if you are tracking your interactions with your contacts, the contacts who have not clicked on a single link in your emails you’ve been sending out. If you are brave, delete the bottom third. If not brave, the bottom 10%. Be brave. In 20 years of managing CRM databases, I can’t think of a time I’ve ever deleted ‘too much’

Doing this will remove a ton of admin for you too – as you don’t have to keep those contacts up-to-date or sift through them when looking for good contacts too. Now look at the other end of your database. The best third. Or best quarter. Or best 10% if brave. Again, you choose what you classify as your ‘best’ contacts. Clients, prospects showing interest, people you like etc. It’ll be your best contacts that give you most of your work anyway. Focus your effort on them only. Get their details right, find out more about them and their business needs, personalise your communications to them, follow-up with them. That sort of thing. All the stuff you know makes sense, but now you don’t have too many contacts to actually do this with. Don’t worry too much about the middle contacts. Your users will ‘chop off your head’ if you try and delete their ‘numbers’. And I’m sorry to say I know this first hand. Office politics huh!

But, if you are a small organisation, and it’s only you in charge of your database, just check you aren’t throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but you could bin most of this middle lot too. You’ll then find your database is really rather good. It’s about knowing a lot about a few contacts, not a little about lots of contacts.   Unless you are Mars and you sell chocolate bars by the squillions. And you’ll smile the next time you think about your database. Because it’ll be working for you.

Article ‘Sell more things. Focus all your effort on your top 20% of the contacts in your CRM database.’ Written by Simon McNidder from Database First Aid 


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  • a couple of years ago
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