Did you know bad data results in sales and marketing teams losing 546 hours annually? If that doesn’t sound startling enough, according to IBM, businesses in the United States lose more than $3 trillion annually in missed opportunities due to bad data. In today’s world of business where data is one of the key inputs, collecting tons of data alone won’t ensure success. It is the quality of the data that acts as the market differentiator.
Unused email addresses, duplicate contacts, old phone numbers, and misspelled names can spell doom for your marketing efforts. These clutter your CRM and throw your marketing efforts off track. As much as your organization focuses on capturing data, you must replicate the same efforts toward cleaning data. However, it is important to adopt and implement the best practices of data hygiene to clean your CRM and retain your competitive edge
In simple words, data hygiene refers to the process of cleaning your database and optimizing it to ensure that the customer information is accurate, up-to-date, and devoid of any errors. Your organization must implement good data hygiene as this improves the productivity of sales and marketing teams.
The quality of your database plays an important role in your organization’s day-to-day decision-making. When your team has access to the most recent files and documents free of errors, it improves efficiency in the organization. Apart from this, there are other reasons why data hygiene is important and why your organization must take it seriously.
The success of your marketing campaigns rests on precise targeting. When you reach out to people with an apt message at the right time, it ensures higher conversions and adds to your brand equity. The quality and accuracy of your database sit at the heart of targeted marketing.
Qualified leads can increase conversions, shorten the sales cycle, and lower customer acquisition costs. As the amount of data being created and captured moves northward in the coming years, the importance of data hygiene in targeted marketing shall also grow correspondingly.
Erroneous data not only reduces the conversion rates but in the worst cases, can jeopardize your marketing campaign. Outdated data can make your sales and marketing team approach the wrong customers and lead to waste of marketing resources.
According to a Gartner study, businesses lose $15 million per year in marketing campaigns due to poor quality data. These losses will widen in the coming years as businesses’ reliance on data increases and the information environment becomes complex. Investing in data hygiene will thus help improve the efficiency of your marketing campaigns.
Over the last few years, we have seen several legislations dealing with privacy and data security being passed. From the European Union’s GDPR to California’s CCPA and United Kingdom’s Data Protection Act, all these laws increased compliance risks for organizations, especially small and medium businesses that did not have stringent data handling protocols.
Data hygiene ensures compliance with these legislations as it refines the process of data collection and handling. In an interconnected world where businesses function across geographies, improving the process of capturing and handling data mitigates the risk of compliance and legislation.
Large organizations often struggle with data consistency and the quality of their data. Poor quality data and lack of consistency negate the primary purpose of collecting data—to convert information into meaningful insights. Often different teams in the organization collect data through different channels which can lead to a lack of consistency.
By implementing data hygiene, you can ensure that different teams interacting with customers are using the same set of data. It prevents repetitive calls to customers or bugs them with irrelevant questions. In the process, you will be able to improve customer satisfaction and encourage customer loyalty.
Business decisions are increasingly data-driven, and they are likely to become more so in the future. Though data analytics helps in identifying opportunities and recognizing threats, it is imperative to say the quality of data can make or break your decision-making process.
Data hygiene offers your decision-makers access to correct and up-to-date information. From historical insights to market forecasts, they can get access to all relevant information. Organizations that leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning can also largely benefit from clean data.
Data cleaning is a process and takes you through different phases which we are going to look at now.
When you decide to clean your database, you must segregate this process into five phases:
The process starts with a comprehensive audit. Before you start fixing the system, it is important to identify the loopholes and plan out the process of correcting them.
In the audit phase, you need to go deep into the database to understand how your business is using the data and data points that are crucial to your business process. At this stage, you will be able to identify obsolete or irrelevant data that you can remove to make your database leaner and more relevant.
Here your focus should be on the details. This is important as the smallest inconsistencies can blow up into major limitations for your sales and marketing efforts. Removing such inconsistencies at this stage will save you from the efforts of standardizing your data as you go along.
When you focus on the smallest details in the database, you are likely to come across repetitive errors. Altering the data collection process or changing how data is managed can help improve your data quality.
Standardization is the most important step in your data cleansing efforts. Organizations that collect data from multiple channels tend to face the challenge of data inconsistency. It can grow over time and become an unmanageable problem. Thankfully, HubSpot makes it easy to standardize your data. Let us focus on a few areas where standardization can improve the quality of your database.
Numbers & Abbreviations
Numbers and abbreviations are widely used in form filling. While abbreviations such as CEO or CFO may be common, there are instances when a content marketing manager and a chief marketing manager might use the same abbreviation. Similarly, a 10-digit phone number might be entered in multiple ways such as 1231231234, 123-123-1234, or (123)-123-1234. Thus, you need to set rules that standardize information and improve the quality of your database.
Email Standardization & Verification
The same goes for email where you must set rules for IDs to be entered in the format of email@example.com instead of practices such as name[at]domaindotcom or name[at]domain.com, etc. Similarly, you must ensure that the user doesn’t leave empty spaces in emails.
It is equally important to verify all email ids. Entering fake email addresses is as old as form-filling itself! Having a large number of fake email ids in your database hurts its quality.
Standardize mailing addresses where you set rules for states, zip codes, street addresses, etc. This improves the quality of the database and ensures that documents mailed to the addresses reach their destinations.
To ensure seamless access to data and accurate search, it is important to remove whitespaces and unwanted characters. A simple glance into your database and you will come across both these issues.
Extra whitespace is a common error in data collection, but it can lead to formatting and usability issues. Similarly, unwanted characters also get entered during the encoding process. Though organizations tend to overlook this issue, fixing this problem and improving the quality of your data have a big impact on your sales and marketing process.
Data cleaning is not the end goal but maintaining a clean and healthy database is. Hence, it is important to maintain uniformity in the database which can be achieved by defining and implementing standard processes that are religiously followed in the organization. This helps your organization when the database grows in the future.
There are three important things to focus on here – the way the data is collected, the error resolution process, and a protocol to deal with unwanted and bad data.
Now that you know the importance of data hygiene and how to clean up your HubSpot CRM data, we turn our attention to maintaining a clean CRM. Here are some of the best practices that you should implement in your organization to achieve a clean CRM.
Start with a consistent approach to data cleaning. While some organizations have dedicated teams and CRM managers to implement data hygiene, others delegate this job to individual team members. Irrespective of the path your organization opts for, it is important to establish a consistent process where the tasks are clearly defined for the CRM managers or individual team members.
It is important to establish a CRM cleaning schedule and not leave it to discretion. Depending on the volume of data your organization is collecting, you should have a monthly, quarterly, or annual schedule.
Scheduling does away with the ambiguity in the process and lets your organization override the challenges whenever a new dataset is created. Irrespective of the size of the organization, it is important that this process is consistent and not impulsive.
The root cause of bad and inaccurate data is your data collection process and streamlining it can simplify data cleaning for you. Standardize the input process where you set up accurate fields, especially for the CRM data that you collect manually.
Focus on data standardization as this makes the sales process effective and efficient. Whether it is the first and last name of individuals or restriction to the use of special characters, you must set up a standard form for data collection across different channels with clearly marked mandatory fields. Standardize the phone numbers field to make them compatible with the system.
HubSpot’s data management integrations can make data collection a cakewalk and ease the data cleaning process later.
Take advantage of integrations such as ZoomInfo, Leadspace, Insycle Data Management, and Dynamics by SyncSmart to make data management efficient.
It is important to distinguish between a lead and a customer. By creating a HubSpot’s Lifecycle Stage Update Workflow, you will be able to achieve this. It will allow your sales and marketing teams to understand the nature of the contact and dedicate the right resources to that end.
Once you have collected data, you need to remove unwanted or unused contact properties. You can easily achieve this by creating a workflow in the HubSpot portal. You also need to remove any unused templates and documents, which will prevent any unwanted information from distracting your team and help standardize the database.
You cannot avoid bad or inconsistent data when your organization collects data from multiple sources. However, implementing data hygiene across the board helps improve the quality and reliability of data and turn it into a treasure-trove of insights for faster and better decisions.
There is no magic bullet to maintaining a clean HubSpot CRM; it is a culture that you must implement across the board. By following the steps mentioned above, your organization will be able to maintain a clean and up-to-date database that improves efficiency and conversions while at the same time, shortens the sales cycle.
Data cleaning and data hygiene implementation is a complex process and requires expert intervention. If you are looking for a team of motivated data scientists, Growth Natives is at your service. We are a HubSpot Platinum Solutions partner and have a large team of data experts who can implement best practices to help your organization grow. Shoot an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website to book a free consultation.