Introducing my new blog site:

Introducing my new blog site:

What’s up with Donato?  CRM Deduplication sounds really booooring?

Well, not to me.  CRM Dedupe is a huge problem in the world of sales, marketing and recruiting.  This is a subject that I have spent considerable time and deep thought over the last few years.  After knocking out 5 blog postings on the topic of CRM Dedupe, I realized I have a lot to say and I’m inspired.  Thus the decision to move it to it’s own place.

The mission of is to share my unique insights on the world of CRM as it relates to deduplication. I’ll be sharing some axioms I have learned as well as the experiential journey in what I have come to learn.  It may not be exciting, but the insights, if applied, could save billions of dollars a year on a world-wide basis.

Thank you to every one of you who follow  Please check out and post your thoughts and comments.

Cleaning your CRM: The human side of the Equation

Controlling human behavior is a huge step towards getting a handle on CRM Deduplication. Unfortunately, on the journey towards a clean CRM, we encounter humans.  They mis-key information, don’t follow a CRM Data Plan, and generally take any shortcut possible that will reduce amount of work they have to do, when getting data into the CRM.

Get used to it.  There will always be some level of human input with the CRM.   If you embrace it, you stop trying to control it.  You can’t win.  Instead, put together strategies that will minimize the damage. Even if you have controls to enforce data entry formats, there is always the admin user that can bypass your controls. Don’t ignore the human side of the equation.

Here are some ideas to help your team:

1.  Educate your staff on why a CRM Data Plan is important.  If they don’t know it is important, don’t expect them to obey best practices.

2.  Post your CRM Data Plan.    Every sales person, receptionist, administrative person, even the CEO should have it at their desk.  If your organization is paperless, put it in a corporate wiki.  If your CRM has an area for documents, put it there.

3. Get buy in from your technical team for your CRM Data Plan. If the guys who have administrative access to your CRM don’t see things your way…all hell can break loose.  Avoid this incongruity by bringing in your tech team from the inception of CRM Data Plan.

4.  When possible, use data entry automation.  There is a free technology called Contact Capture that captures contact information from any electronic form and exports to most major CRM systems including, MS dynamics CRM, ACT!, Goldmine and many others.

5. Use the language of your Data Plan in sales and Pipeline meetings.  Example, your talking about XYZ Incorporated and you use your Data Plan uses the short form of “Inc”, then refer to the company as “XYZ Inc”.  This seems trivial, but reinforcement from all angles will reinforce data quality.

6. Tie good data management to fun incentive bonuses. Free lunch or night out for the king or queen of data.  If the record is not correct, conformed and complete (3 C’s of data entry) then no bonus.

7.  Publicly humiliate people that don’t conform the CRM Data Plan?  No, negative reinforcement is short-lived.  Think positive.  I’ve hung up $20 bills for sales reps to make it through a morning without saying “Um”,  “Ahh”, or “you know”.  It is a great training tools to bring attention to behavior they were not aware of.  Make good data entry practices part of your culture.

8.  Hire the right people.  Good reference question to ask when hiring.  “Was (Joe) the kind of person who had good data entry practices..did he document the sales process?”   CRM is so important to an efficient sales process, but little is asked about a person and how they utilized it in a previous job role.

Even if you have a technology solution like Broadlook’s CRM Shield to enforce your chosen data entry standard (CRM Data Plan), the human side of the equation plays a big part in overall CRM health.

Next Post:  The Dirty Data Quiz – How Healthy is your CRM?

What is a CRM Data Plan?

What is a CRM Data Plan?

Every company has a unique set of requirements for treating data.  A pure telesale operation that never uses postal mail may want to take an abbreviated approach to data entry.   Example: Container Co

However, a mail order house may want a take a formal approach to company names.
Example: The Container Company Incorporated

Basically, there is no single rule for company names. Every company is unique.  This is where a CRM Data Plan comes into play.

Even within a single data point like a company name, there can be many rules regarding how to format that data.  A CRM Data Plan covers a set of rules as it relates to contact information in a CRM.  Rules exist for company names, URL’s, names, titles, and much more are covered by a CRM Data Plan.  A CRM Data Plan is critical to success tacking CRM deduplication.

Here is an example of a few rules regarding company names.

Done right, a CRM Data Plan gives you a baseline on your journey toward a clean CRM

Next post: Cleaning your CRM: The human side of the Equation

CRM’s are not built to keep your data clean

Why can’t my CRM vendor keep my data clean?

Nearly every CRM company and internal corporate IT department has taken a stab at solving the problem of keeping your data clean. You may have heard of it referred to as CRM Deduping, CRM Dedupe, CRM Deduplication as well as Data normalization.

Unfortunately, no one has done it right! Not Oracle, not, not Microsoft and not SAP. Why?

Think about it: Who decides the standard? Do you want or Microsoft dicatating the format for data storage that you use? Of coarse not, every business model has unique needs. While one business may prefer storing “The Container Company” another may prefer “Container Company, The”. It would be suicide for a vendor to enforce a single set of rules on all their clients. So the problem is not necessarily ignored, but it is accepted as status quo.

Why didn’t my CRM sales rep tell me this?

Since the issue is accepted as status quo for the industry, it is simply not addressed. Sales reps are not in the habit of pointing out a problem that they do not have a solution for. If the issue is addressed, typically it is periodical crm deduplication process.

CRM Dedupe only treats the symptom

If you think of CRM duplicates as the symptom of a disease, how do you cure the disease vs. treating the symptom? The answer is to never allow duplicates into your CRM system in the first place. The first start in that process is developing a CRM Data Plan.

CRM Deduplication services are a profit center

Your dirty data is another company’s profit center. Many of the major CRM providers have professional services that you can pay to periodically clean your CRM. While these services typically do a great job, they do not solve the issues with inefficiency and lost revenue *between* the data cleansing cycles. Basically, every time you fix your CRM, the cure is short-lived.

Why didn’t I see this coming?

Don’t be hard on yourself. Think about it. When you buy a CRM, it is usually empty. If you import dirty data from an old CRM, the new CRM will be dirty. The problem is not the result of you forgetting to turn on a feature in the new CRM. Massive duplicates and miskeyed data does not become a problem until after you start to use the CRM. When a CRM is implemented, it is typically at that time the buyer realizes there is a huge problem with the information.


Without a systematic way to start with and keep information clean, duplicates will be introduced into your CRM. Good for professional service firms; Bad for you and your CRM. The best solution is not treating a symptom, but curing the disease. The first step to curing the disease is creating a CRM Data Plan… which will be the next blog post.

Next post:What is a CRM Data Plan

Fast Company, The Mob, and Influence

I’ve recently received a flood of strange emails.  They were regarding the Fast Company’s Influence Project (check it out).  At first, it seemed like a great noble endeavor.  An experiment in discovery.

Here is the premise:  You get invited to the project and the person that invites you gets points.  They can then create their own link and get points, etc, etc.   In a perfect world, the person with the most influence would yield the most points.  The fun part of the project is a very well done user interface that visually shows you all the people involved.  You can navigate through connections and influence points.

I want to thank John Sumser for creating the post that influenced me to review the Project.

After I clicked on John’s influence link I had a blast reviewing the site and then went back to my work.  Enjoyable experience.

Then the mob took over.

Emails, Twitter direct messages, even a phone call.  People were asking me to use *my* influence to help promote them so they could be near the top of the list.  Influence?  It is no secret that Broadlook, the company that I founded, develops list generation technology.  People wanted “my list”.  One individual even offered to purchase a list on behalf of their chief executive.

If you are reading this and you are one of the people on LinkedIn or Twitter or some other social disaster and you want be at the top of the list, (1) you can’t have my list and (2) think about what Edgar Allan Poe said:

The nose of a mob is its imagination. By this, at any time, it can be quietly led.
-Edgar Allan Poe

In reality, the Fast Company Influence Project will not come near to predicting real influence online.  What it will do is spotlight some people who desperately want to be leading the mob. Guy Kawasaki, while well respected, also seems to want to be at the top of the mob. He talks about it in this article.  I think it would be more fun to pick a person of total obscurity and put them at the top.  Similar to the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) initiative that pointed the search for “Miserable Failure” to George W Bush.

I would welcome human suggestions as to the most influential person online. How about the web master at Google?  What if Google posted a single link on their home page “Vote for Sergey”?

Overall, I am disappointed, it would be nice to have seen a scientific study.  I’m somewhere on that list, but shouldn’t be.  Thanks John ;(

Caveat: My friend, John Sumser did influence me, but did not ask.  Big distinction from the “help me be influential” contingent.


More mob quotes

The nineteenth century lynching mob cuts off ears, toes, and fingers, strips off flesh, and distributes portions of the body as souvenirs among the crowd.
Ida B. Wells

The vision that the founding fathers had of rule of law and equality before the law and no one above the law, that is a very viable vision, but instead of that, we have quasi mob rule.
James Bovard

There can be no such thing, in law or in morality, as actions to an individual, but permitted to a mob.
Ayn Rand

There is no logical reason why the camel of great art should pass through the needle of mob intelligence.
Rebecca West

There is no necessity to separate the monarch from the mob; all authority is equally bad.
Oscar Wilde

There is nothing more foolish, nothing more given to outrage than a useless mob.

We grew up as kids watching those movies and we were exposed to themes of civil rights, unfairness, bigotry and fathers struggling against the kind of mob of the town, so you remember how you felt as a kid being taken seriously, that you are part of the human drama.
Rachel Griffiths

When the theater gates open, a mob pours inside, and it is the poet’s task to turn it into an audience.
Franz Grillparzer