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Don't let your CRM suffer from "Dead Fish" syndrome

Updated: Apr 13, 2020

Question: What does an expensive customer relationship management or CRM system; with stale data inputs and 4-day old fish have in common?

Answer: Both Stink

Here’s something to think about as the world anxiously waits to get on the other side of the Corona virus curve and industry goes into recovery and recapture mode. In this technology era, the use of clean, accurate data will be a key driver to getting back to where we were just a few short weeks ago. Read on!


CRM-A New Dawn

The day that shiny new CRM was unveiled, with all its promise of fame, fortune, profit, a better career and better life, was such a special day, wasn’t it?

Like a new parent, the CRM was proudly announced almost like the ‘birthing’ of a new dawn for the company. Customers romanced automatically, prospects so amazed by the firm’s prowess that they’d be blowing up Sales’ mobile phones begging to place orders, the sales team all upgrading from Fords to BMW’s, the head of manufacturing screaming for a new plant to keep up with demand, and the CEO/Owner seriously thinking about a company jet. Pass the cigars and Dom Pérignon®……smiles, back slaps, knowing looks, the works………all around.

Shiny New Thing

At first, there’s a mad dash to ‘master the system’ with its “learning curve like a hockey stick”, crash courses in “inputs/outputs”, the “funnel”, “deployment”, “integration”, “task management” and more. So much opportunity and the hope of a better career path just a few clicks away. Then comes the chatter of initial customer success and excited tickling feeling in the pit of your stomach. Hey, this thing really works! Kind of like that first date, “no, no, we’re just friends….but he/she is ….nice (smile, smile, wink, wink), followed by dating 3-4 ‘special friends’ and then keeping them all ‘happy’, which becomes a full-time job, plus the exciting discovery and intense focus. Wow….I love this CRM stuff. Yee-haw!

Fleeting Victory?

But after a while the love gets a bit..…routine, and then uncomfortably stale. Wait, what happened to the excitement, the victories, and the constant cellphone interruption with an expectant customer on the line waiting to place the order to put our quarterly quota over-the-top? Less response, less new customer acquisitions, uncomfortable sales funnel buoyancy with too many upper funnel ‘prospects’ and fewer ‘customer closings’. Is it me or are we just going to be ‘friends’? The firm spent big bucks on this ‘tool’……..where’s the love?

CRM Power Source

At Brooks Integrated Marketing (, we call this ‘Dead Fish Syndrome’. Hyperbole? Maybe, but let’s be honest. Most seafood only smells, looks and tastes great when it’s really fresh. But 4-day-old forgotten salmon or scallops are hard on the nose, eyes and stomach. The same is true with a CRM system with data that is left to go stale, or was rotten in the first place….you’ll get ‘STINK-O’ results. Kind of like putting bad gas in your nice car……putter, putter.……call AAA.

In fact, reported that most customer data deteriorates at about 30% per year. So information on one-in-three of those CRM prospects, have an issue(s). The number increases to upwards of 70% annual decline, if the user base has a high turnover rate since more incorrect information infiltrates or low/no data hygiene is performed.

Think about it: titles change, people change, mergers happen, divisions shift, addresses change….if the numbers are right, up to 7 out of 10 inputs in a CRM have probably decayed (i.e. the data ‘stinks’). So users start burning precious time, resources and money aiming at a prospect or even a previous customer who isn’t even being reached or isn’t there anymore. That sounds like a great way to deflate a sales force, drive up costs, and reduce productivity and ROI. I can almost hear the Sales Manager’s meeting now;

Sales Dave: “Hi boss”

Boss: (avoiding eye contact) “Hi Dave”

Sales Dave: (nervously) “……. all well? You seem a little on edge?”

Boss: (annoyed) “Well, I am not going to make bonus this quarter because my pips aren’t using the CRM correctly or something, and our numbers aren’t coming in!”

Sales Dave: (hopefully) “I’ve been using the CRM a lot! In fact I just took another training course; “E-mail Integration for Blond Haired Sales People”, so I am a ‘black belt’ now!

Boss: (sarcastically) “That’s great Dave, but I need results, and a new set of Michelin’s for my B’mer”

Sales Dave: (deflated) “Is there an advanced course for unemployed sales people?”

Make Change Your Friend

Don’t be ‘Sales Dave’ by letting ‘stink-o’ data ruin a promising career! Avoid ‘Dead Fish Syndrome” with BrooksIM simple 4-step process:

1. Go to our secure site at: and upload your CRM customer data (our systems use the same security as financial institutions)

2. Review the FREE (yep, gratis, nada, no charge) report we’ll send you in about a day, that will tell you the accuracy and quality of your customer data and how we can refresh and reinvigorate your data so you’ll come out ‘smelling like a rose’

3. Submit your order for data hygiene and we’ll send you the most accurate input data for your industry

4. And if your looking for even more prospects who are like your best customer profile, we can provide you a prospect ‘look alike’ list for any geography you want (locally, regionally or nationally)

Think of data updates by BrooksIM like an oil change for your car. We recommend running data hygiene twice a year to keep that high performance CRM humming and providing the kind of results it was meant to deliver in the first place.

As we emerge from the terrible COVID-19 emergency, part of our ability to recover and heal will be directly related to the data and technology we employ. You’ve already made the investment in a CRM system, now is the time to re-charge and re-energize your data to get back faster, bigger and better.

Thanks for your attention and please all be safe!

By David Garrett-Brooks Integrated Marketing



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