Your sales and marketing efforts can only be as good as your customer relationship management (CRM) database, so contact hoarding and an outdated database can do you more harm than good.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss why you should stop hoarding contacts, what CRM data cleaning is, and when you should do some data cleansing.
Think of your database as your home and every contact as a piece of furniture or decoration. To maintain your home’s cozy atmosphere, you channel your inner Marie Kondo and ask yourself whether an item still sparks joy.
You then declutter regularly to keep the pieces that bring you joy and donate or sell other items that you don’t need.
Your CRM’s database can also benefit from regular decluttering. Every year, data decays at an average rate of 30%.
If your contact list has become outdated, that’s like keeping trash in your database and having a less effective CRM because you’re not reaching prospects.
You’re even spending time and money reaching out to prospects who are probably not receiving your messages because of incorrect contact information.
Here are other reasons you should not be afraid to let go of some contacts:
Also known as data cleansing or data scrubbing, data cleaning is the process of modifying or removing inaccurate, duplicate, incomplete, corrupted, or inconsistently formatted data.
CRM data cleaning is one of the processes of CRM data hygiene. The goal of data cleaning is to make sure your data is as accurate as possible. Think of it as spring cleaning, a task you do on a regular basis to make sure you’re not collecting clutter at home.
Similar to your spring cleaning, data cleansing is not a one-time effort. You can perform monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual cleaning, depending on the amount of data that you have and your team’s workload.
Now that you know purging your database of contacts you’ve hoarded will make your relationship-building with customers more efficient, let’s take the next step: Delete them. But how do you know when it’s time to bid them farewell?
It’s time to delete a contact from your CRM database when it meets any of the following criteria:
A contact who has not engaged with your business for over six months—or longer if your product or service has a longer buying cycle—can leave your database. This contact may no longer be interested in your products or services.
Before you delete unresponsive and unengaged contacts, though, make sure you’ve run re-engagement campaigns (which we’ll discuss further in the next section) to confirm if they’re no longer interested in your business.
There are two types of bounces: hard and soft.
A soft bounce refers to an email that temporarily fails to get delivered. Some of the possible reasons for a soft bounce are a full inbox or a server that’s down.
A hard bounce, on the other hand, takes place when an email permanently fails to deliver because the email address is invalid or the domain is no longer active.
Whichever type of bounce happened, delete the contact. The person is either no longer using the email address or your email is directly going to their spam folder. Remember that bounces hurt your sender reputation.
Delete a contact that unsubscribed from you. They are no longer interested in your services—and explicitly expressed that by unsubscribing. Like bounced contacts, those who unsubscribed are clutter in your contact list.
You can either merge your duplicates or delete the outdated copy. Duplicate contacts clutter your contact list, making it difficult for team members to find the correct contact information.
Having a squeaky clean contact list is a great place to start. Now let’s go through CRM data hygiene process tips, so you can keep that contact list clean and your relationship-building as efficient as possible:
To make your data cleansing process efficient, you must know how you’ll use the data you collected. Doing so will help you identify which information is important for your business and which isn’t.
Ask your stakeholders to identify the relevant information they need. Does your marketing team need the sources where your leads came from? What customer information does your service team need to provide better customer support?
Set a cleaning strategy and schedule. Having a schedule is important to keep your data up-to-date and to maintain your database’s cleanliness.
If your car has a maintenance schedule to ensure it’s always running in top shape, so should your database to make sure your CRM efforts are robust and efficient.
Set up monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual reviews and data cleaning. Inform all the team members involved and set a recurring schedule to keep everyone on the same page.
Have a live standard practices document of your CRM data management and share it with your team. The purpose of this documentation is to:
Before you delete an unresponsive contact, it’s best to make sure that they are no longer interested. The best way to find out is to run re-engagement campaigns.
You can send quarterly emails that check in on your contacts and ask, “Would you still like to hear from us?” or “We’d like to hear your feedback: How are we doing?”
Letting go of contacts who are no longer relevant to your business is one of the best ways to keep your CRM data hygiene in top shape. A regular data cleansing can improve your team’s productivity and ROI.
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