and What to Do With the Results
At Interrupt Media, one of the very first things we do when we onboard a new client to assist with increasing their marketing generated pipeline, is a CRM database health check.
Whether you are using Salesforce or a Marketing Automation tool like Pardot, Marketo, Hubspot, or Sharpspring, we go in and survey the health of your contacts. During this health check, we pinpoint any gaps or inconsistencies in the quality of the data so that we’re sure any marketing campaigns we conduct will be effective and reach the right audience.
This is similar to when an architect is drawing up plans for a new building. Before his team does anything, he’ll have the land surveyed. Why? Because it would be a waste of time and resources to build something on a weak foundation. So in the marketing world, before we launch any campaigns, we’re going to make sure our contact database (our foundation) is healthy so we don’t waste our time marketing to someone who will never get the message
What is a CRM Database?
To make sure we’re all on the same page, a CRM database is all of the information that you would keep about your customers and prospects. It is typically stored and accessed electronically from a computing system. This can be physical hardware, or cloud-based storage. This can include both non-sensitive and sensitive client information, assets, files, basically anything you store digitally to track and communicate with a lead.
Non sensitive lead information could be firmographic information about the business (ex: industry, company size, location, tools they use, etc) or demographic information about the people working at those companies (ex: title, email, phone, department).
Sensitive information might be data about their revenue, or details of the deal that you are attempting to make with them.
What is a CRM Database Health Check?
When a client hires us, we perform a database health check by making a series of observations about various aspects of their CRM or marketing automation system. We note what we see, and suggest improvements or cleanup based on our observations. As I stated before, this is something we do for all of our customers, prior to beginning our work, to make sure they get the most benefit from our services.
Now that we’ve established what your database is and what a database health check does, let’s get into why it’s important to perform a database health check, how to perform one and what you can do with the results.
Why are CRM Database Health Checks Important?
Oftentimes, when we perform these database health checks, we find quite a bit of messy data. We might see:
- Names that are misspelled or not capitalized
- Addresses are inaccurate or incomplete
- Important fields are inaccurate or missing all together, etc.
Unfortunately, these inaccuracies are just a part of the reality of data collection. Human error is a factor and also, data changes over time and we wouldn’t know instinctively to update our records. The problem is that inaccurate data leads to miscommunication, time wasted, and revenue lost.
However, when your data is cleaned up and enriched properly, it saves time and marketing campaigns are likely to be far more effective. Ultimately, data cleansing results in:
- Better ROI and protection of revenue projections
- Reduced errors that negatively impact reputation and waste time
- Better relationships with customers
How is a Database Health Check Performed?
A CRM database health check can seem like a daunting task, more so as your list grows, but it is an integral part of a good marketing strategy. To reduce the amount of time required to complete the database cleanse and make it a more digestible process, you can break it down into several pieces. Our process looks a little like this.
Step 1: Standardizing Format
This is probably the most common issue we find when we perform database health checks. When you have data coming in from different sources, there are naturally going to be some formatting differences. Some frequent ones you might find are: names, phone numbers, and addresses.
You may also find extra spaces or characters that hurt the integrity of the data and increase bounce rates. Sometimes there are just cases of pure human error, other times they are caused by encoding issues. Either way, it’s important to correct these issues.
While these aren’t going to necessarily kill a deal, it does reflect poorly on your company to see something go out with a name not capitalized. Others, however, can be a real problem. For instance, emails that have spaces or aren’t in the proper firstname.lastname@example.org format. Obviously, if these issues aren’t fixed, you’ll receive bounced emails.
One of the best things you can do is to create a standard ahead of time that indicates how each field will be formatted. Be sure to include whether titles will be abbreviated or not. The last thing you would want is to miss a lead that you attempted to filter based on “Chief Marketing Officer” because their title says “CMO”.
Step 2: Purging Duplicates and Bad Contacts
Now that we’re done cleaning the data, the next step is to purge your data of unnecessary records and fields that will reduce data bloat and may even data storage costs. Wondering what to remove? Here’s where we start:
Remove bounced contacts
Not only are these records a bit pointless to keep around, but high bounce rates can hurt your standing with email providers. This includes both email and phone numbers.
Remove unsubscribed contacts
This one is a bit of a no-brainer since you already know it’s illegal to continue to solicit someone that has unsubscribed from your list. Think of it this way: they’re not interested in your services/products and yet you’re paying to keep them in your contacts. Bye Bye.
Merge duplicate leads & fields
Removing duplicate contacts is another huge one! This can cause several problems, particularly if the duplicate has inaccurate or different data than its counterpart. You don’t want to risk that users might be entering notes on a duplicate contact and this contact is accidentally worked multiple times. Yikes!
The same goes for duplicate fields. There’s just no reason for this. The redundant data will just weigh down your storage size and make the contact look cluttered.
What to do With the Results of a Database Health Report
Now that you’ve cleaned up your data, you can start implementing your marketing campaigns with the confidence that you’ll be reaching the right people and qualifying leads for sales opportunities. In addition, you’re now aware of your data gaps and can work on filling those, whether its data from existing prospects or new leads.
Moving forward, it’s incredibly important to perform routine health checks every 6-12 months as data tends to degrade over time. There are tools, like Discoverorg, ZoomInfo, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Clearbit, and Builtwith, that can aid you in keeping your data integrity once you’ve performed your initial cleanse.
Database cleansing can be a tedious process depending on how big your database is. If you don’t have the bandwidth to handle this project, or if you’d just like a professional team to come alongside you and help you analyze your CRM database and provide solutions to help you optimize your database health, please reach out to us today!