$600 billion is the amount of money U.S. companies lose each year because of poorly managed data1.
How can bad data cost businesses so much money? Dirty data kills all marketing efforts, degrades a company’s understanding of their customers, tarnishes further the relationship between sales and marketing, and stains a company’s reputation. All in one, it leads to lost sales. Here are a few tips on how to clean and keep your data clean:
How to Clean Up Dirty Data
1. Common Sense Cleansing
Very often, in order to bypass required fields, leads will submit fake information. Use your common sense in order to find and update erroneous entries (i.e. first name is “First Name”, email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone number is “555-555-5555”).
You may also want to run a search for all “test” email addresses and delete them from the database. Some CRM and marketing automation vendors provide access to data verification tools that identify fake entries for you.
2. Duplicate Leads
Two leads might show the same email address but two different first names (i.e. “Fred” and “Frederick”). It is important you find these duplicate leads and consolidate the records. Your CRM and/or marketing automation platforms will often identify and list out leads that share similar information and appear to be duplicates. Some platforms will even allow to automatically de-duplicate leads.
3. Current customers
A quick search by company in your CRM or marketing automation platform can help ensure prospects and customers are differentiated in your database and categorized accordingly. Taking this extra step will help you maintain a good reputation and a positive relationship with your clients.
How to Maintain a Clean Database
To keep your database accurate and organized, start by standardizing fields. For example, to avoid multiple entries for one country (i.e. “U.S.”, “United States”, “US”, “USA”), provide a drop-down of countries your leads will pick from.
You may also set up rules in your CRM or marketing automation software to help you keep the data uniform using keywords. For example, you could set a rule to change a job title to “Vice President of Marketing” if the keywords “marketing” and “vp” are found in the entry. Make sure you follow these rules even when purchasing data.
2. Set up alerts
Most CRM and marketing automation software will allow you to set up alerts for certain events (i.e. possible duplicate added to the database). These alerts will help you maintain tidiness in your data.
3. Update data regularly
Finally, updating your records on a regular basis is essential to keeping a clean database. Make sure to react promptly to unsubscribe inquiries, remove leads that returned a hard bounce, and implement a proper scoring strategy so leads are solely delivered content that is relevant to them.
Remember, many CRM and marketing automation platforms include tools that will help you manage your data more efficiently. Make sure to dive-in into the features offered by your software and save invaluable time and money.
1: Data Warehousing Institute (via heinzmarketing.com)
Photo by John Ramspott