The pitfalls of dirty data and keeping it clean
By Adam Herbert
As data has become more crucial for organisations’ business strategies, most companies nowadays invest in a CRM to store and hold their data. As such most modern CRMs now come with a tonne of features based on keeping in contact with customers and prospects. Examples of these might be e-billing to customers, customer service messages, outreach to prospects based on renewal dates, automation of contact with customers, and even matching CRM data against their website visitors. On the whole, a CRM can be a very powerful tool for businesses.
The challenge is how do you keep the data stored relevant, accurate, and, most importantly, compliant in today’s modern age? What happens if your CRM is full of dirty data?
Let’s use a car analogy as an example: you have bought a beautiful Bentley and invested in the best leather, gadgets, paint work, and much more. You have made a real investment in it. Then, unfortunately, you go to the petrol station and fill your petrol-powered Bentley with diesel. Guess what happens? It doesn’t start; the engine might need replacing; or worse, the car is a write-off.
This is exactly what happens with your CRM data. Let’s imagine you are running an e-billing piece and the contact you invoiced has moved on, but the company keeps the email active. You keep sending your bills, but nobody forwards them over to the finance team for payment. This leads to not being paid on time, which can have an impact on your business. Even more critically, what’s happened to your contact? Where have they gone? And who is the new contact? Does this new contact put your relationship at risk? Often, the client has changed suppliers before you even realise there is a new contact in place you should be talking to.
That is just one example, but what about duplicates, businesses that have gone out of business, contacts who have moved positions internally or externally, missing information in your CRM about the business such as sectors, number of employees, and much more? Long story short, if you’re not maintaining your data assets held within the CRM, then, like the Bentley, you may find yourself stuck on the forecourt or even in the garage having to start again.
The good news is that there are data companies that specialise in maintaining and keeping data accurate. When data is refreshed every month, it allows companies to work with clients to ensure the data they hold in their CRM is relevant, accurate, and compliant.
But what are the key reasons to keep your CRM data clean?
- Accurate Customer Information: Change within businesses is huge, especially within departmental roles. Sales and customer service teams need to rely on the data to ensure that when they reach out via calls, marketing messages, and billing, the information held is correct.
- Better Decision Making: Such companies talk to customers and ask, as part of the data segmentation, what kinds of prospects they want to talk to. The truth is, if they have an accurate CRM with the right types of businesses and contacts, a simple profile analysis will allow them to find more businesses that match the personas that they want to target.
- Better sales and marketing messages: If the data is accurate and has the core information, such as but not limited to sectors, employee numbers, length of trading, and trading descriptions, then companies can make outreach hyper-personalised, leading to a much better conversion rate in terms of contact to communication rates.
- Reduced Costs: An example of this might be a piece of direct mail; we all know DM prices range from 30p to 90p for a simple letter and envelope delivery. What happens, though, if the data is inaccurate? A lot of the letters won’t be delivered and will be returned to the senders, meaning wastage on print and postal costs. An example is if a customer asks to cleanse their data, and out of the 120k mailings per month they are doing, 32k are business goneaways or businesses that aren’t valid prospects. The cost per mailing for this client would be 42p, so the company would save £13,440 per month while maintaining conversion rates.
- Brand Image: Often overlooked but critical, when a recipient receives communication that is deemed inaccurate, it has a negative connotation for the business. A personal example is when my broadband supplier spelled my surname incorrectly on their system, leading to the letters and subsequent emails and text messages all having my wrong name.
In light of this, Data Managers are becoming more mainstream roles, and for businesses centred around data, they are mission-critical roles. If you think about it logically, a marketing person has so much going on in terms of their day-to-day that often data can be overlooked, and the same can be said for many roles in a business. With a dedicated data manager working across the business, making informed decisions based on data can only be powerful in terms of each department’s goals, targets, and aspirations. In a nutshell, the role of a data manager is to ensure that the data held is correct, relevant, and compliant. Any data that sits outside of this should be binned. Only once this stage is done should a business look at supplementing their data with new data.
Once data is all updated and ready to go, regular maintenance is needed. Like the afore-mentioned Bentley, you need regular servicing and MOTs, and anything that is broken will need replacing. When customers get monthly or quarterly updates to their data using a technology that integrates seamlessly into CRMs and maintains and cleans the data as changes are identified, data companies can make sure that clients have an accurate CRM view of what’s going on in the market.
Also, if you have a world-class data strategy, you can build triggers such as
- Fast-growing businesses: You spot the trend that X company is growing by bringing on new staff members each month.
- Movers: You can see that a contact has moved on and has started in a new role. You want to contact them in their new business to see if your offer is relevant, and it wouldn’t be a problem if your CRM told you who the new contact is so you could introduce yourself
Overall, if you maintain a world-class data strategy aligned with clean and compliant data, then your company can only benefit from the investment you have made across all departments and outreach in your business.
About Adam Herbert
Co-Founder & CEO, Go Live Data
With over two decades experience of working in the data and marketing industry with a particular focus on email marketing, Go Live Data’s CEO, Adam Herbert, has spanned a career of working and supporting several market leaders. Across this time, Adam has helped leaders and their organisations with market sizing, supporting the growth of the alternative lending and fin tech space to guide data driven marketing and client acquisition results in 100s of millions of businesses looking to secure finance. He now runs his own businesses to really drive change in what is seen as a stagnated industry.
With a particular focus and track record in business strategy, operations, product marketing and sales, Adam’s professional career has always been focused on helping customers drive revenue via strategic data lead strategies and has guided some of the world’s largest businesses through GDPR to help update and maintain a compliant database.
About Go Live Data
Go Live Data is the UK’s premier data and engagement business, helping companies manage their outbound engagement and internal data assets using their unique 1.6M corporate data universe.
Go Live Data is a disruptor in the data landscape and on a mission to build the best corporate service in the UK with a focus on clean, compliant, reliable data, exceptional customer service, and allowing their customers to access the information that will help them realise their vision for success. To date they have built a database of 1.6 million limited and PLC organisations’ data – making it the most comprehensive one in the UK market.
Having always been led by data, they innovated their own email-delivery platform, QR code technology for direct mail, and a new way of providing data for telemarketing. Supported by their industry-leading database, Go Live Data have helped many customers improve their client acquisition and retention through their one-of-a-kind data and technology. By ensuring all of their data is used in an ethical and responsible manner, they stand out as a voice for improvement in the wider data industry.
Go Live Data also provide a human-led approach to establish a better-class data set and premium experience for their customers by refreshing their data every 30 days, which is 11 times quicker than their nearest competitor. They pride themselves on not just being a supplier, but a partner to their customers by taking a more consultative approach that ensures that, with their support, they can continue hitting their outreach goals and targets for years to come.