Decluttering Your CRM The Marie Kondo Way


If you have seen the hugely popular Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, then you know that, like a cluttered heart, there is Zen to be found in cleaning and decluttering your home. The same applies to your CRM. Here we take a quick look at how you can apply the KonMari method to cleaning up your CRM data.

When it comes to cleaning and decluttering, here are Marie’s rules:

  1. Commit yourself to tidying up
  2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle
  3. Finish discarding first
  4. Tidy by category, not location
  5. Follow the right order
  6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy

And here’s how you can apply Marie Kondo’s rules to your CRM data:


1. Commit yourself to tidying up

Achieving data quality requires time, effort and discipline. There are probably dozens of initiatives involving your CRM going on in your company, but once you have made up your mind about how to go about it, all you need to do is apply the right method. This can be achieved internally either manually or with the help of technology. If that sounds like a lot of work, you can also hire a CRM consultancy to do it on your behalf. But this type of cleaning staff can sometimes be very costly…


2. Imagine your ideal state

When you imagine your ideal state, you are clarifying why you want to improve and identifying the kind of sales org you want to have once you’ve finished. The tidying process thus represents a huge turning point and allows for a clearer picture.

The key for this is to take a step back and truly understand the state of your CRM data and what success looks like. How much imperfect data are you willing to tolerate? What aspects of your CRM data are really in a need of a clean up? If your data is 60% ok, right now, what benefits in analysis, workflow and accuracy can you obtain if it is 90% next month?


3. Finish discarding first

According to Marie, one characteristic of people who never seem to finish cleaning is that they attempt to store everything without getting rid of anything. Don’t waste your time figuring what to do with a duplicate account or a contact whose email has bounced. You can sort that out later.

A pipeline full of stale deals, every third account being duplicated and 200 lead sources with almost identical spelling, is clutter without value. Identify and delete. You will start feeling the zen. You can always make a backup copy, if the urge to hoard is still strong.


4. Tidy by object, not location

For example, explains Marie, when tidying clothes, gather every item of clothing from the entire house in one spot. This is the same for your CRM data. Don’t tidy by line of business, sales team, hierarchy or location. Instead it’s much easier to tidy by CRM object, such as your opportunities, your leads, your contacts and accounts. Understanding your data quality by object will give you an accurate grasp of the sheer volume for each object, and the exact amount of tidying you have to do.


5. Follow the right order

Have you ever run across old photos while tidying and found that hours have passed while you were looking at them? This is a very common blunder when it comes to organization, and clearly illustrates the point of cleaning up your records in the proper order instead of spending hours combing through unnecessary data. This is designed to help you hone your ability to distinguish what is most relevant in your CRM and what is … less relevant.


6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy

While you may not feel emotional joy from your data cleanup problem, you can turn it into a more practical question: Does it provide ROI?

Remember: Keep only those records that bring you ROI, or in this case, business value. A quality CRM system is one that gives you actionable insight, which in turn will improve your company’s overall productivity and reach.

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