The Dirty Truth about a Clean Database
You can’t trust all the data sources available. Whether you obtain your lists from an online source or a new staff member, you need to take precautions to protect the cleanliness of the data. Otherwise, the clutter of old data or the risk of spam traps can jeopardize your company.
Virtually every business operation is dependent on software. Each of the systems relies on data processes to operate correctly. Your company’s database has become the “life-blood” of daily operations. Avoid threatening this important resource by taking steps to keep messy data out.
Sources of Messy Data:
- Purchased or Rented Lists: It is quite common to find bad emails and spam traps in lists available to purchase or rent.
- Customer Input: When a sales lead fills out a form on your website, they will sometimes make a mistake while typing it into the form. Of course, sometimes these errors are intentional. Either way, the bad data should be purged.
- Staff Input: Unless you have developed a criteria for entering new data, each person will do it their own way. The inconsistent data will build up and you are left with an unmanageable database.
- New Staff Migrated Data: One of the assets a new staff member can bring to your organization is the database of contacts collected over the years. While this is normally welcomed by the new employer, it can also be a threat if the data is not clean.
- Time: People change. As they move from one place to the other, your physical address for them becomes obsolete. Migrating email addresses can happen even more often. When someone gets married, divorced, changes jobs or professions it affects the quality of your data. Obsolete data clogs up your database and should be cleansed regularly.
Messy Data Remedies
- Regularly Cleanse: Verify and validate all your contact records using a professional data quality service to give you a good starting point. Expert recommendations for using this type of service vary from every six months to every two years. It is dependent on the size and activity of your database.
- Validate Incoming Data: When you bring in new contact information from an outside source, run it through a cleansing software program before downloading.
- Profile Data Needs: Determine what fields in your crm software provide important data for you to accomplish your business growth initiatives. Look for what is missing and what fields may need to be added to reach your objectives.
- Systemize Data Input: Set up company policy for entering new data into the system. Place someone in charge of training all staff about the policy and monitoring the follow-through.
- Validate accuracy: Each customer facing staff member is charged with periodically validating the accuracy of data when they interact with prospects, customers and inactive customers.
The dirty truth is you can’t be casual about keeping your database clean. If you haven’t already, put systems into your company to support keeping your database clean.