Best Practices for Data Cleansing

July 15, 2019
Best Practices for Data Cleansing

You have a database full of useful customer data, but it’s in such a mess that it’s not providing value to your business. Does this sound familiar?

If it does, then you’re probably not alone. Although it’s easy to appreciate the importance of data cleaning, it can be harder for businesses to actually implement a cleaning regime into their workflow.

To help you get to grips with how to keep your data in order, we’ve created this introductory guide to give you an overview of data cleansing best practices.
What are the benefits of data cleaning?

Data Cleansing Best Practices

  1. Identify duplicates
  2. Standardise data entry
  3. Enrich data
  4. Identify inactive leads
  5. Use always-on cleaning
  6. Automate where possible

Identify duplicates

Duplicate fields can create numerous problems, including sales territory disputes and cases where multiple sales reps chase the same account. Duplication can also inflate the size of your dataset which makes it harder to manage, but also gives a false impression of potential leads.

De-duplicating your records makes your database more streamlined and easier for your sales and marketing teams to navigate.

Standardise data entry

Inconsistent data entry is the root cause of a lot of ‘dirty data’. Multiple team members entering different fields, omitting others or accidentally failing to complete entries before submitting into the CRM can result in an incomplete and messy database.

To prevent this, it’s best to standardise the way data is entered, ensuring that all fields are checked and double-checked before being added to the database. Creating a standard process for data entry can also make it easier to spot duplicate fields and match and compare corresponding data points.

Enrich your data

Does your database contain missing fields or errors? According to the Forbes Insights and KPMG “2016 Global CEO Outlook,” ‘84% of CEOs are concerned about the quality of the data they’re basing their decisions on’.

Enriching your data will improve the quality, make it more detailed and lead to more effective decision making.  Without regular data cleansing and enriching, it can be difficult to get a full picture of your total addressable market, your ideal customer profile (ICP) and insights into the key decision-makers for your sales targets.

Identify inactive leads

As databases grow, they can become congested and out of date when old or inactive leads are not removed. It’s best practice to review your data to find any inactive leads and remove them from your database. This reduces the size of your dataset and ensure that all entries are useful and relevant for your sales and marketing teams.

Removing inactive leads will also enable sales leaders to have a clearer view on their sales landscape and plan their territories more efficiently, with only relevant data at their disposal.

Use always-on cleaning

Doing occasional ‘deep cleans’ of your data is better than nothing, but because data decays so quickly, a better approach is always-on cleaning. This means using a process or service that can be deployed on an ongoing basis.

Occasional ‘deep cleans’ using third party companies are not necessarily possible for all organisations, due to GDPR and data privacy regulations. In addition, in many cases, a proportion of the data will be stale by the time it’s sent back from the provider due to the rapid rate of data decay.

Automate where possible

Manual entry can be time consuming and demoralising for sales staff, so accelerating and automating the process wherever possible is key. Opt for a data cleaning tool that enables you to clean, match and enrich your data, as soon as it enters your CRM, for seamless data cleansing.

The benefits of data cleaning

Having a data cleansing process is essential if you want to get maximum value from your sales and marketing activity. For sales teams, having clean and up-to-date data can help to build a better picture of the customer; enable them to understand the size of the opportunity and have greater confidence in the data they’re using. Data cleansing can also help shorten the sales cycle and create a more efficient sales pipeline.

Data hygiene is also key for marketing teams as it lets them create more carefully targeted campaigns, maximising their budget and the effectiveness of communications.

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