It’s essential to keep your office clean and tidy. After all, who wants overflowing bins, stacks of dirty mugs by the sink and a stock room spilling over with mess?

This cleanliness also needs to be applied to your CRM data. If your records are out of date or contain a lot of duplicates, you run the risk of reaching out to the wrong people or businesses. More seriously, you could fall foul of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR).
So, how do you clean your CRM data, and ensure it stays clean moving forward? Here are our top tips for ensuring a pristine database.

Determine which industries you want to sell to (and don’t be afraid to be brutal)

The best place to begin is to download the entirety of your database and determine which contacts are in industries you want to sell to. Contact data can decay at a rate of 40% a year, meaning it may be the case that some businesses were ideal buyers several years ago, but they are not anymore.

We understand that it can be hard to get rid of contacts. After all, there is the chance that these people may buy something from you one day… right?!

Remember that quality is better than quantity. Why have 50,000 contacts in your database when your product may only be suitable for 10,000 of them? This will help save your salespeople time and ensure more relevant leads.

Standardise your records and delete the duplicates

Deciding to standardise the data you hold will drastically reduce the likelihood of the dreaded duplicate records popping up. Agree on specific naming and capitalisation conventions for both people and roles. You may also want to get rid of free entry data fields to reduce the risk of typos.

Using these brand-new naming conventions, take the time to identify the duplicate records you have on file and merge them. It’s estimated that 10% to 30% of CRM database records are duplicates, so this step will go a long way towards streamlining your database.

Fill in the gaps and join the dots

The odds are that a lot of the records that are in your database are incomplete. You may have a business name and phone number… and that’s it!

Nominate someone in your company to fill in the gaps, including where the business is based, what they specialise in and who the primary contact is. You can then determine whether they are a potential prospect, or if you want to cut your losses and take them out of your database.

Identify your out of date email addresses

Sending an email to your CRM contacts is an excellent way of identifying records that should no longer be in your database. If you send an email to a contact and you get a hard bounce back or a message advising that they have left the business, it’s a good sign that you can take them off your database.

Of course, use discretion in this step of the cleansing, in line with GDPR and PECR guidance. You don’t want to contact someone who doesn’t want to be contacted. If you do not want to send emails, there are email checkers available that will verify your email list for a small charge.

Update your CRM as frequently as you can

As tempting as it is to make updating your CRM an annual task, it will be easier if you encourage your staff to update records as they go along. Call a contact, only to find that they are no longer working for the company? Google a business and find it has changed name? Send an email and it bounces? Make a note in the CRM so all other staff are aware.

We understand that most salespeople would rather count staples than amend the CRM system, but if you highlight the benefits that keeping the database up to date will bring them in the long-term, they are more likely to get on board.

The easier alternative…

Cleaning your CRM data takes time and effort, but the benefits you get are worth it.

If you do not have the time or resources to cleanse your database manually, we are here to help. We can provide a free, high-quality database audit that helps identify any out of date or duplicate information you may have, meaning that you can remove irrelevant contacts with complete confidence.

Contact us today to arrange your no-obligation audit and see how cleansing your data will help improve your sales and marketing efforts.