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  • Helen Pritchett

Does your data need a spring clean?

You spring clean your house so why wouldn't you spring clean your data? Do you even know if your data needs a spring clean? If your answer is no, you need to take a look at your database. Dirty data could be costing your business opportunities and sales, skewing your analysis, and wasting precious time. Giving your data a spring clean will maximise its quality and performance, not only that, it will also:

  • Improve time management

  • Help to maintain strong customer relationships

  • Provide accurate and useful data-driven insights

Improve your insights and refresh your opportunities by giving your data a spring clean.

Uncleansed data consumes time and energy that could be better spent elsewhere. Expired or invalid data wastes valuable sales and marketing time and leaving such data to wallow can cost your business money, not to mention getting you on the wrong side of GDPR Article 5, which requires that personal data be kept clean and accurate (or be deleted!).

Cleansing data, and discarding that which is out of date or no longer required, is an essential practice for every business. Furthermore, a cleansing exercise may uncover valuable information. You might get some great insights from hidden or old data. Keeping the data in your databases clean is a vital factor in running a successful B2C or B2B organisation, without clean data to contact, much of your sales and marketing efforts could be wasted.

Data that sits in databases becomes unclean and databases become cluttered. Imagine an attic of a house occupied by the same family for 30 years – that’s right, its full of obsolete and unwanted items. Unclean data can also be costly, GDPR applies to all stored data, therefore it is vital to ensure all data is cleansed and deleted if it should not be retained. It is important to make sure you rid your database of any data you shouldn’t retain. What is more, backups of systems can also be costly and regular cleansing will mitigate such costs.

Dirty data wastes time and consumes energy

Companies waste huge amounts of time and effort using unclean databases. Auditing existing databases is crucial to an effective sales and marketing operation. Old or expired information such as personnel changes, should be discarded as these only lead to poor quality lead information which drains resources. Regularly cleansed and update data will complement marketing campaigns and generate strong leads.

Implications of poor data quality include:

  • Increased risk of fines

  • Wasted marketing budget sending campaigns to obsolete contacts

  • Lost sales opportunities through losing contact with customers who have moved

  • Compromised customer insights

  • Poor customer experience

Benefits of accurate, clean, up to date data include:

  • Improved customer experience

  • Better targeted communications and less wastage

  • Improve campaign performance and sales opportunities

  • Enhance brand reputation

  • Better database integrity

  • Informed decision making

Consider your data infrastructure

It’s not just about clean data, we bet your database could do with an overhaul too.It is a good idea to review the format of your database. Do you still need to gather all the information you currently have? Do you need all the tabs? Is the dashboard relevant and useful to the way you do business or how your sales team works? As well as ensuring your data is working for you, it’s vital to ensure the database itself is giving you the best output from the data stored.

4 tips to avoid data clutter:

  1. Verify email addresses regularly, not just once during sign-up. For example, tracking email engagement will help identify quality contacts, purge frozen leads, and will allow you to spend more time on hot leads

  2. Review your database regularly – does its format and output still work for your company’s needs?

  3. Regularly check your data against the CTPS, in so doing you will ensure you have the best data possible and that you are adhering to all relevant data privacy legislation and regulations

  4. Analyse what data you collect, and if any is obsolete or not required, get rid of it. Slick sales and marketing activity benefits from slick data delivery

How often should you clean your data?

This really depends on your business needs and the type of data you gather and store. Big business collect a lot of data quickly and so could need cleansing on a regular 3-6 month basis, smaller organisations might not require such regular cleansing. There are huge benefits in manual data cleansing on a regular basis. Picking up the telephone to check a person’s details are still correct not only provides that information, but gives you the opportunity to dig a little deeper and gather additional company intelligence.

Furthermore, cleaning data isn’t a one-time process, the activity should be in your calendar to be done on a regular cycle. If you haven’t done a spring clean in a while, be prepared for it to be costly and take time as data will have become extremely outdated over the years. Once the spring clean is done and your data is as clean as a whistle it will be far easier to maintain – as long as you commit to a regular cleansing schedule!

There are many data cleansing tools that could automate the process, one which we highly recommend is PureData. PureData turns dirty data in clean data. Cleansing with PureData not only keeps you in line with GDPR, it also provides an opportunity to add infrastructure intelligence to create intelligence rich marketing leads.

In conclusion, it’s time to channel Mrs Hinch, get your mop and duster out and refresh your data. A clean database is a holistic solution for your entire business, from sales and marketing to customer service and even manufacturing and R&D. At this time, with people still working from home (and likely to continue to do so), cleansing is a particularly great opportunity to ensure the mobile and direct dial numbers you hold are up to date. Accurate information puts you in a strong strategic position to make key decisions about sales and lead generation tactics.

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