Top Tips For Cleaning Your CRM Data

Tom Montag 8 min read May 31, 2021

CRMs are one of those tools any data-driven enterprise needs to be using. You can get away for a while with managing your data with spreadsheets for a time. Still, once you start to have frequent additions to your database and begin to add in lead segmentation, an efficiently configured CRM system is the only way to go.

Bad data is one of the headaches any enterprise has to deal with, and it's something that will affect your systems at some stage, even with the use of a CRM. Today's business systems are far more connected, and your database will serve as the starting point for most of, if not all, your marketing decisions and strategies.

Let's illustrate this with a quick example. Your CRM will probably be connected to an emailing platform, allowing for automated email notifications as leads are registered on your systems. Most email providers charge for the number of contacts in your email lists. Bad data, in this case, wrong email addresses, count toward this limit, inflating your costs. This bad data also has a detrimental effect on your email statistics, such as bounce rates and open rates. The bottom line is, bad data costs money and can hurt your email reputation.

"Garbage in, garbage out" holds true for your CRM data, so keeping your data healthy is an essential operation for any business. Your database is the starting point for all your data-driven decisions. There's no good reason to have your sales desk calling non-existent or bad telephone numbers. That wastes time and resources. You need to maintain the health of the data on your CRM so let's dive into some simple steps you can take to clean the information on your systems.

Define what is important to you

You can segment data down to an infinite number of parameters, not all of which are important to your decision-making or business concept. Anything you don't need to define a client shouldn't be an option. Frugality is the name of the game here.

Be a data cheapskate. You only need to collect the data necessary for each stage of the client journey. Anything more is clutter and leaves you open to introducing bad data points.

Get rid of the duplicates.

Duplicate entries are good for one thing and one thing only. Cluttering up your CRM. While the clutter alone makes a good case for deleting duplicate entries, it can actually be bad for your business. Imagine this for a moment. Your data includes two entries for the same client. You assign each of these to a different sales agent and the client starts to get two sets of everything. Two sets of emails, two sales calls. Two of everything. How long do you think it will be before that client becomes an ex-client and starts plastering message and review boards with tales of how pushy your salespeople are?

Lots of data is good. Duplicate data is bad. Your CRM should include data management tools, so make sure you use them. If your CRM doesn't have data management tools, get rid of your CRM!

Segmentation is your friend.

Segmentation is another one of those things that can show diminished results if you overdo it. I imagine it would be possible to segment all the way down to things like shoe size, which, unless you're in the shoe business, is at least one step too far.

Like our first tip, only segment your data to the point where this is important to defining your clients. Anything more will only dilute your message and increase the chances of data corruption.

Keep it consistent

One of the most common themes we see with data management is the lack of consistency. This inconsistency can lead to large-scale targeting and segmentation errors, costing you both in lost revenues and resource use.

Let's look at a specific real-life example here to illustrate the point caused by an inconsistency in the use of country codes.

After Brexit was concluded, a lot of forex brokers had to cease any operations for UK clients. In the leadup to this, brokers had to notify their existing UK clients and give them sufficient time to close any open trades, withdraw their account funds and close their accounts.

A simple inconsistency in the data management at one particular broker saw UK clients labelled as either GB or GBR on the CRM. When it came to sending the notification emails, the broker only used the GB segment, leaving out all the UK clients that had been labelled as GBR. The result? All the GBR clients suddenly found themselves locked out of their account, and all their open positions closed out automatically, a less than optimum result!

If the country code had been consistent, that wouldn't have happened. Consistency is key. If you like two-letter country codes, use them. If you prefer three-letter country codes, use them instead. Whichever type you choose to use, be consistent, and that goes for all your data tags.

Is bad data affecting your operations? Are your data-driven decisions floundering on the back of bad data management practices? If your answer to either of these is Yes, get in touch today for a no-obligation consultation. One of our success managers will show you how to separate the good from the bad on your CRM!

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