Have you ever tried to get contact details in and out of a CRM system, and ended up with a bigger mess? I have. The concept is easy: store all information about prospects and customers in one system, allowing you to have your communication efforts streamlined.
Reality, however, is harder: contact details entered on your website should be fed to the system automatically. Sending your periodic newsletter should be based on the details in your CRM system. Not to mention dealing with information on bounces. Integrating your CRM system(s) with mass mailing, campaign management and self service portals is helpful, but for some reason the major means of transporting lead and customer information still seems to be Excel… Leaving you with the necessity to mass import results, new contacts and changed information.
What you really want is the ability to throw whatever information you have at the system, and let the system determine if you already know someone and take care of adding information to already existing contacts. In addition you do not want to spend time on maintaining information you have. Actually, wouldn’t it be nice if you would be able to have your website automatically add leads to your CRM system (e.g. via the Salesforce Web2Lead function), but without adding duplicates?
The good news is that this can be done. There is tooling out there that keeps your contact data up-to-date, prevents adding duplicate records and makes dealing with contact data easy.