Perfection – the quality or state of being perfect; free from fault or defect. This is one of the many definitions you’ll find when you look up the word in the dictionary. In the manufacturing world, near perfection can be achieved through the implementation of Six Sigma, a business management strategy developed in 1986 by Bill Smith, an engineer at Motorola Corporation. Since it’s introduction, Six Sigma has been applied to many more industries as a standard way to operate. But what does that mean when when planning a CRM implementation? What makes up a near-perfect CRM?

There are a few things that quickly come to mind when thinking about a perfect CRM:

  • 100% Data Perfection – All the right data in all the right places, all the time.
  • 100% Clean Data – No missing information, no duplicate records, all data up-to-date.
  • 100% Adoption – All end users seeing the ROI and benefits of using CRM because they actually use it!
  • End users as excited and enthusiastic about CRM as is the CRM Administrator.

Lets examine these four concepts more detail.

100% Data Perfection

All the right data, in all the right places, all the time.

That sounds like quite the challenge, and in reality it can be daunting. However, if certain techniques are utilized in your CRM, the challenge will be minimized and you can close in on perfection. Required fields is a great start. For the fields that are critical to your business processes, make sure they are required, so the users can not save the record until there’s data in those field. Standardizing data where you can by using picklists for fields like Country and State, will go a long way. Create validation rules where it makes sense. For example, Opportunity Amounts should always be a positive amount. I know that one may sound like a real no-brainer, but most people I know are not perfect keyboardists and typos occur ferquently, uh, frequently, so try to make your CRM smarter than those using it to prevent bad data.

100% Clean Data

No missing information, no duplicate records, all data up-to-date.

You might think that if you achieve data perfection that it would also mean you have clean data, and technically, you would be correct. It’s impossible to have perfect data without it being clean. So just what is clean data?


  • No missing information: Data that drive business processes is also critical in decision making. These fields should have valid data residing in them at all times. Making those fields required helps, so does proper training since not all required fields can also have a picklist or validation rule simply because of what data is desired in that particular field.
  • No duplicate records: Data duplication is a huge component of dirty data. In fact, in a recent survey of global CRM admins conducted by Apttus, 66% of CRM Admins indicated that improved data accuracy is one of the top three job priorities.
  • All data up-to-date: In the perfect world, when a Sales Rep calls on a prospect, they will be able to trust that the phone number they are calling, or the email address they are sending to, is accurate and the message will be delivered to the correct person. Up-to-date data goes beyond contact information though. It should include current opportunity amounts and stages, as well as any notes from previous calls to the prospects.

100% Adoption

All end users seeing the ROI and benefits of using CRM because they actually use it!

Is 100% user adoption achievable? In reality, probably not. But you could get very close, to where you achieve ROI greater than expected. The tricky part about user adoption is to make using CRM easier and more accessible than an other alternative. Once you achieve that, the users will want to use CRM because it’s the quickest and easiest way for them to do their jobs.

Enthusiastic End Users

End users as excited about CRM as the CRM Administrator!

CRM that is well designed, with not only the organizational goals in mind, but also those of the end user combined with efficient business processes, is very much like a Field of Dreams, where if you build it, they will come. End users will want to utilize CRM because it will be their best alternative to getting things done.

Data integrity and the perfect CRM – just two of the many topics discussed in a recent webinar where Apttus reviewed the results of our recent global CRM Admin survey. Access the video and get your copy of the survey results here.

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