The Importance of CRM Data Hygiene

Even the best data quality can worsen over time. For example, email marketing databases decay naturally by over 20% every year. The quality of data declines for many reasons. People change addresses, lose passwords, move to other locations, get better jobs, and much more.

In just a few months, someone who used to be as close to your buyer persona stops being a part of your target audience. If you don’t catch this issue on time, your marketing campaign KPI and ROI will suffer.

CRM data hygiene is integral to the quality of your marketing efforts. By making sure that the data is fresh and relevant, you are ensuring excellent relationship with existing clients and customers and avoid marketing your product to the wrong audience.

What is CRM Data Hygiene?

CRM data cleaning, scrubbing, or hygiene maintenance is the process of removing unnecessary data from your CRM system. This includes:

  • Old email addresses
  • Outdated postal adresses
  • Incomplete records
  • Duplicate contacts
  • Corrupted entries
  • Unsubscribed contacts

Did you know that 35 million phone numbers are reassigned to new users every year? Any data that doesn’t provide benefit for your sales and marketing campaign should be removed.

To make sure that dirty data doesn’t stay in your CRM system, you need to create a systematic approach to keeping it clean. Since data decays over time, it’s imperative to revisit the hygiene measures regularly.

Without CRM data hygiene, you could be corrupting your marketing campaigns, overspending, and changing perfectly good tactics.

Why is CRM Data Hygiene Important?

To understand why CRM data hygiene is important, you can imagine a simple situation. You create an offer that targets the largest segment of your target audience.

You spend time and money coming up with a highly personalized ad that is highly likely to re-engage many buyers and bring significant revenue to your business. Let’s say the number of people in your largest target audience segment is 10,000.

You send the offer over email to addresses you haven’t checked in a year. At this point, 500 people lost their email passwords, 1,000 more no longer need your services, and 2,000 moved to another location so you aren’t interested in your local offers.

Instead of reaching 10,000 people, your message will only reach 7,500. Out of these 7,500, only 50% will open the message. Eventually, only about 3,000 people out of 10,000 will look at your offer, and only around 1,000 may consider it.

When this happens, you would make the wrong conclusion that only 10% of your target audience wants your services. In reality, many more people do. Such conclusions often lead to revamping the email marketing campaign and wasting valuable resources.

Benefits of Timely CRM Data Hygiene

Besides keeping your marketing efforts in top shape, a relevant data hygiene strategy can have a number of significant benefits, including:

Better Decision Making

High-quality data analytics helps you make the right decisions about your marketing campaign, its effect, budget, downsides, and more. If you are basing your decision on poor data, you can end up affecting the company’s revenue in a negative manner.

Implementing proper data hygiene ensures quality analytics and allows you to make beneficial decisions for your department or business.

Improved Customer Relationship  

When you use your CRM system to improve customer relationships, you base your actions on the available data. If the data is in poor shape, your efforts to make personalized offers, provide transparency, and re-engage existing clients may suffer.

For example, you need to send an offer to an existing client. To do that, you need information about their pain points coupled with their previous experience with your company. If the data in the CRM system is incomplete, you can’t find sufficient information to create a relevant offer.

Once the client receives an irrelevant email that focuses on pain points they no longer have, they aren’t likely to continue working with your company.

Higher Productivity

The quality of your CRM data has a direct effect on the work of your sales and marketing department. They use this information to create new offers, improve relationships with clients, send products, predict demand, and much more.

With poor data, all the above actions are likely to take longer. In the worst case, they can hinder your company’s productivity tremendously. When your employees can’t rely on data quality, the entire sales and marketing process suffers.

With better data hygiene, you can improve productivity, enhance the ROI of your CRM platform, and assist your customer support teams.

Save Money

Since one of the most important elements of any sales and marketing campaign is the budget, badly allocating it is out of the question. Meanwhile, low-quality data can do just that. Without clean information, you are likely to waste time targeting people who no longer need your products and services.

In addition, you could be spending time and money on re-adjusting your campaign to fit skewed analytics that are a result of poor data quality.  

Keep in mind that customer data hygiene isn’t expensive or time-consuming. The investment into accurate data has the highest return.

Protect Reputation and Credibility

Dirty data in your customer relationship management system causes you to provide irrelevant information to people who don’t want to get it.

For example, you have a segment that buys clothing for pregnant women. Once they give birth, these people are no longer interested in maternity clothes. Instead, they turn into another segment that needs diapers and baby toys.

If a year after a pregnant woman bought jeans, you send her an offer for maternity coats, she is likely to be extremely surprised. Such lack of personalization and care for the client can turn them away and hurt your reputation.

Accurate Internal Functions

Besides improving the work of your marketing and sales teams, CRM data hygiene streamlines your internal processes. It improves communication and data sharing between departments, minimizes human error, and allows your internal experts to focus on revenue-generating tasks.

Meanwhile, dirty data slows down internal processes. This, in turn, hinders the entire company’s operations and affects employee satisfaction rates.

CRM Data Hygiene: Best Practices

To keep your CRM database in top shape, it’s important to implement data cleaning practices regularly. These tips can help you eliminate dirty data, battle duplicate records, help your marketing team, and streamline sales productivity.

Streamline Data Entry Practices

Good data hygiene practices begin when you establish standardization rules for manual data entry. When each employee on your sales or marketing team uses a different approach to entering data, you end up getting duplicate contacts, erroneous entries, and more.

Each member of your team should know exactly how to enter information into your CRM systems. When you implement standardization into data collection and entry, you minimize the number of poor contacts and improve analytics. This in turn, saves time and money while streamlining sales and marketing efforts.

Standardize Data Entry Fields

One of the simplest ways to avoid dirty data is to standardize data entry fields in the CRM system. This way, all of your data entries will look the same, making it easy to spot missing data or similar problems.

Meanwhile, it can prevent duplicate data entries from appearing when two different employees enter information about the same client.

You should also standardized data entry fields for contact forms on your website. This will help you enter data into your CRM systems while getting all the information you need. Don’t give customers an opportunity to provide data in the format that they see fit. Guide them to share the data you need in a proper form.

Limit Editing Rights

When all employees on your marketing and sales team have editing rights inside the CRM system, errors tend to occur. Someone can enter inaccurate data by accident. Meanwhile, another person can change the contact without knowing standardization rules.

Only authorized users should be able to edit data in your CRM system. While everyone can have access to the information, give editing rights to those who know exactly how to enter data and keep it clean. This can minimize human error and inaccurate data entry.  

Establish Regular Cleansing Schedule

No matter how well you try to keep data clean, it decays over time. That’s why regular maintenance is imperative. Depending on the amount of information you work with or the kind of industry you are in, you can set your own cleansing schedule. On average, you should check your data twice a year.

If you’ve never done data cleaning before, it’s time to start right now. You may be surprised to find that 40% of your CRM data is no longer viable.

You may need to do data cleansing more often than twice a year if:

  • Your offer has changed
  • You introduced new products
  • You changed your marketing tactics.

Keep in mind that the data integrity in your CRM system is the basis of analytics that drives marketing and sales process.

Take Advantage of the Available Tools

You don’t need to check all the CRM information manually. To make sure you have clean data, you can take advantage of available tools. One of the most common tools that marketing and sales teams take advantage of are email address validators.

An email validator take care of your email list. They check for invalid addresses, discover typos, standardize formats, and much more. Many of them have modules that check data as the customer is entering it into data input fields.

Using these validators at least twice a year can help keep your email list in top shape. This can contribute to the success of your marketing efforts and improve the email marketing ROI.

Remove or Archive Old Data

Old data in your CRM system can be misleading. Besides taking up space, it can enter your analytics and give you incorrect results. Your industry requirements may demand you to hold on to some data for a long time. If deleting it isn’t an option, you can archive it.

Archiving data can improve the system’s processing time, reduce the necessary storage space, and streamline backup.

Use your CRM system reports to identify outdated and old contact data. Remove and archive it accordingly.

The Takeaway

CRM data hygiene is an important part of successful company operations. Dirty data can affect the quality of analytics and cause you to make wrong business decisions. With the right approach to data hygiene, you can improve your company’s bottom line.

By implementing abovementioned best practices, you can keep the data clean and rely on it for successful decision making.

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