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Data Quality – The Silent Killer of Your CRM System

March 22, 2018 8:02 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

By David Whiteside, Director of Client Growth & Success at CLIENTSFirst

The American Heart Association refers to High Blood Pressure (hypertension) as the “Silent Killer”.  The reason is that high blood pressure typically has no symptoms until after it has done grave damage to the heart and arteries and most people do not even know they have it. 

Poor Data Quality, just like blood pressure, is the silent killer in a CRM system. At birth (rollout) the data in the system is just fine. But over time, without regular checkups and maybe some medication (data stewarding), the silent killer goes to work.

What often is not accounted for is the fact contact records in a CRM degrade at a rate of 30% - 35% each year. Contacts in the system are people so they change jobs and roles, retire, get divorced, married and some die. That’s life. So, assume a firm has 200 lawyers, and each lawyer has 500 contacts on average. That is 100,000 firm contacts, and statistically, 30,000 of those contacts change every year. End of year one 30% of contacts are incorrect and by end of year two possibly 60%.

Today, regulatory issues are driving data quality to a critical level as GDPR and other email marketing laws come into play. You see it in bounce rates, key contacts don’t receive invites and other marketing efforts take a hit.  And lawyers, as we know, tend to have an eye for detail. They start to see these inaccurate and out of date issues. Your CRM now has “bad data” in your lawyer’s eyes which of course makes the entire system not trustworthy and thus unusable. The Silent Killer claims another victim.


CRM systems require an on-going commitment to Data Quality. Whether you hire a data steward in-house or outsource the work, this is a long-term commitment that just must be done. Get a strategy around your data quality efforts and treat it as the vital part of your CRM program that it is.

About the Author:

Dave Whiteside is Director of Client Growth & Success at CLIENTSFirst. 

Dave’s focus is helping the company grow and expand its CRMData QualityeMarketing and Client Intelligence service offerings, and building alliances that help deliver additional value to Clients.


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