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A well-maintained CRM is your key player in data-driven B2B marketing

Modern sales include digital marketing – forget about silos!

In the B2B world, customer relationship management (CRM) systems are often, for one reason or another, still considered solely as sales tools for tracking prospects and deals. If the CRM’s role in an organisation is limited to handling sales leads, CRM data tends to gather dust, and the full potential of the database easily remains untapped.

To avoid chaos in your CRM and truly utilise the full potential of your customer register database, now is the time to integrate your marketing team into sales and get your CRM in order. In this blog post, we have compiled the 7 most common mistakes in CRM data management and why CRM is a crucial base for data-driven marketing.

CRM in data-driven marketing

Avoid these 7 common mistakes in CRM data management

In B2B business, the world revolves around leads that are often gathered in CRM on a “more is more” basis. The ingredients for chaos are in place when leads keep popping in steadily, but are handled carelessly, inconsistently, and/or incompletely in CRM. It’s also a waste of money to painstakingly gather leads that then get buried in the depths of CRM and collect dust there.

The simplest example of how out-of-date contact information becomes a practical problem: marketing would like to use the company’s own customer base for an event’s email marketing. Many end up creating contact lists manually, as filtering contacts is useless due to the messy data.

If contacts are attempted to be filtered from inconsistent data into marketing lists, marketing messages may end up being sent to irrelevant contacts who haven’t even given marketing permission. Risks include recipients’ spam reports and reputational damage to the company.

Mistakes you can easily avoid in CRM management:

  1. Inconsistent use of CRM at the organisational level
    Cleaning up CRM and updating contacts requires both organizational-level common practices and routines. If CRM users are unaware of their responsibilities regarding data or how and why it is used, the likelihood of confusion increases. It’s also good to appoint an admin user for CRM who owns the system and is responsible for, for example, new employees’ CRM onboarding. The admin user must continuously dialogue with the marketing team so data can best serve marketing, too.
  2. Not agreeing on what information to fill in for contacts
    How detailed customer data do you need, e.g., for segmentation? Is the person’s name, email, and company enough, or would you benefit from adding demographic data to the contacts’ information? To help with this, we’ve created a Pipedrive playbook, which can be downloaded here.
  3. Information is added to contacts inconsistently
    The timeliness of the contact life cycle stages is important for both salespeople and marketers who utilise the data – have you together defined how the deal moves in the pipeline and when to update contact properties? And is it clear to everyone how churn or lost deals, which may still be potential in the future, are handled in the CRM?
  4. Data is forgotten to updated
    Contacts are dynamic creatures, and sometimes the sales cycle can take months or even years. To properly target sales and marketing activities, changes in customer relationships must be updated regularly. The better customer information stays up-to-date in a common system instead of one’s memory, the lower the risk of data loss, for example, when employees change.
  5. Marketing permissions are not documented in CRM
    Very awkward situations arise when sending marketing messages to contacts who have not given permission for marketing or have later denied it, but the information has not been updated in CRM for some reason or another. Documenting marketing permissions properly in CRM respects the contacts’ wishes, avoids reputational damage and, most importantly, complies with GDPR.
  6. Retaining irrelevant contacts in CRM
    Outdated and irrelevant contacts should be regularly cleaned out of CRM, so the system remains a manageable entity and serves as a sound basis for marketing and sales strategies. Contacts are not stamps – only genuinely potential ones are worth collecting.
  7. Underestimating the value of workflows and automations
    In practice, workflows and automations can be utilised in all common CRM systems, which can standardise practices and minimize human errors. The simplest example is managing deal stages – it’s not always necessary to manually tap the deal stage to another, as CRM can do this for you.

When the CRM data is in order, your marketing team has a proper tool for data-driven marketing

Daily updating of CRM takes little time, but new routines usually take a while to become second nature. If you encounter hiccups with the new ways of working, hopefully the following points will help you rediscover motivation!

More efficient customer relationship management

Outdated CRM data can bias the contact’s journey from lead to customer. Accurate tracking of customer stages enables tailored marketing strategies, enhancing both lead acquisition and progression towards a sale.

Segmentation and personalisation

Up-to-date CRM data enables effective segmentation, opening up the possibility of creating precisely personalised marketing campaigns and account-based marketing (ABM). With well-segmented audiences and value-based marketing messages personalised for segments, higher engagement and conversion rates can be achieved: what’s better than being able to address directly, for example, event industry CEOs operating in the capital region with marketing messages?

In addition, good customer lists enable the creation of high-quality lookalike audiences, where advertising platforms look for unifying factors from the provided customer data and target ads accordingly to new, similar individuals.

Effective lead nurturing

An up-to-date customer register helps identify and nurture potential leads, increasing the effectiveness of marketing activities and removing barriers to sales. Cooperation between sales and marketing is crucial so that the sales team’s firsthand information from the customer interface can be converted into genuinely valuable content for leads, such as guides, blog posts, videos, or podcasts.

Data-driven decision-making

Quality customer data provides valuable insights for decision-making, whether it’s understanding customer behaviour or evaluating the effectiveness of different marketing activities. If, for example, deals are created in CRM only after a sale is closed, a proper understanding of how much time and resources are typically required from first meeting to contract signing is not obtained. If this data is unavailable, marketing has to operate in the dark, and the marketing team cannot optimally support sales at different customer journey stages.

Improved customer experience

It’s good to remember that marketing is not just for acquiring new customers, but also a means to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. A well-maintained CRM helps you understand what content your current customers value and enables you to offer precisely targeted marketing messages.

Pro tip: Incorporating NPS survey data into CRM can provide valuable information for customer communication. Suppose the reasons behind a customer’s poor NPS survey response are, for example, the difficulty of using the offered product. In that case, content can be targeted to them to open up the product’s features more broadly. Thus, customer experience can be improved with well-planned marketing.

Resource optimisation

Up-to-date data makes it easier for marketers to find and collect those ever-so-interesting low-hanging fruits and create campaigns for the most potential segments. When marketing resources are well-targeted, the return on invested capital presumably improves.

Marketing ROI tracking

In B2B business, calculating the ROI, or return on investment percentage, of marketing is often much more complex than, for example, in B2C e-commerce. Classically, the ultimate measure of marketing effectiveness is the number of outbound leads in a certain period, where the most important information for the calculation, however, comes from CRM – how many marketing-generated leads convert into sales and in what time? By refining this calculation, indicative values can also be set for conversions in digital advertising, thus indicating different campaigns’ ROIs.


An up-to-date CRM is not just a sales tool, but also a cornerstone for successful data-driven marketing. By avoiding common mistakes in customer data processing and fully utilising your CRM, you can improve customer relationships, implement more effective marketing campaigns, and ultimately achieve a higher input-output ratio for your marketing investments.

Remember, in the union of sales and marketing, data is king. Keep it up-to-date, relevant, and aligned with your sales and marketing goals.


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