Data tends to get old and messy. While it’s unlikely that you’ll get sued for not cleaning your house properly, the same can’t be said about customer data for businesses. Yes, you can get in legal trouble for inaccurate data in case you didn’t already know that. That’s why it’s very important to make sure you keep your data tidy, not only for operational efficiency but also for legal purposes.
The problem is, not every company gives data hygiene as much attention as it needs and deserves. But since you’re reading this article, our guess is the same can’t be said about your company. That’s a good start.
Throughout the rest of the article, we’ll go over specifically why it’s important to keep your database hygiene, go over the scenarios messy database can lead to, and how exactly can your company’s business operations benefit from consistent and clean data. Last but not least, we’ll go over the best practices of data cleaning.
What is data hygiene?
Data hygiene is a data management effort where companies regularly review their database, make sure all the data is up-to-date and relevant, and remove outdated and non-relevant data. Clean data is information that is complete, accurate, consistent, and unique.
Good data management entails regular data cleansing to ensure that everything is up to date. People constantly change jobs, phone numbers, addresses, and emails. Data can get outdated real fast which can result in wasted time. Imagine your sales team constantly making failed calls or sending physical mail and emails that never get to the right person.
The importance of Data Hygiene for businesses
Unlike individuals, businesses have a responsibility of making sure their customer data is safe and organized. Data chaos can cause many mishaps that can cause negative consequences. Like sending private information to the wrong person, not being able to reach or target the right people, etc.
The recent laws regarding data privacy across the globe, make it even riskier to leave your database without a proper cleanse. Now, accidental data leaks can cause a superfluity of problems – legal problems.
A decent data cleansing regiment will bring benefits in various business aspects:
- Precise targeting: The effectiveness of reaching the audience of your choosing is directly related to the accuracy of your data. This is one of the main reasons companies give their database tidiness a priority. Effective targeting leads to more sales, therefore increasing the ROI of the efforts.
- Reduce waste of time and money: As mentioned above, wrong data can lead to very ineffective sales and marketing efforts. The messiness not only results in a waste of time but money with campaigns that don’t fulfill their potential. Data management routines help you avoid all this loss and provide your sales and marketing teams with the most important tool they need to achieve success.
- Minimize compliance risks: With the introduction of privacy laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the collateral damages of mishandling private data have become much greater. Routine audits and compliance-related alterations to your database will help you immensely reduce such risks.
- Improve decision making: The more accurate your analytics, the more effective is your decision making. Many leave their analytics on the back burner without checking on it. This can result in misleading data and predictions. You probably already guessed it – data hygiene helps with this too.
Best practices of data cleansing?
One database for all: In some companies, the sales and marketing teams use completely different databases. This is a big mistake that will create inconsistent chaos that is painfully hard to clean.
Keeping all your information in one place that has unified rules for everyone is the key to preventing your data from getting messy in the first place. Gather your team and make these decisions together, to make sure that you take their experience into account.
Set ground rules: Of course you need to establish rules to ensure consistency and accuracy! Make sure everyone in your team respects and follows these rules. Start with deciding which fields are mandatory and which are optional. Try to be modest with the number of fields you make mandatory. You don’t want to make the data entry process too complicated.
Next up, decide on the organizational structure. It’s very important to have a strong categorization system that is not too complex. Keep things simple so it’s easy to navigate. Whether it’s funnel-based or otherwise, make sure to take your teams’ considerations and feedbacks in mind. If your team is too large, the preferences won’t be unanimous but hopefully, you’ll be able to come up with something that pleases everyone, or at least the majority.
Last but not least, consider limiting the editing privileges. Not everyone needs to edit your records. This prevents accidental human mistakes that can mess up your data.
Update data regularly: Don’t make data cleansing once in a 10-year activity. The more often you do it, the easier it gets and the better the results. Set up a routine once every X period of time and go over your database to review the data, archive unnecessary parts, and update the records.
It’s very helpful if you can make your team make a habit of updating the records every time they know something has changed, e.g. a contact switched jobs and now has a different email address, a company has been acquired by a different company, has a different name, and a different way to reach out to them.
Who to trust with the database hygiene?
Don’t have the capacity of handling all this by yourself? You can always outsource data hygiene/management efforts to an agency like PMG360. Over 6 million business professionals trust PMG360 with their Data Licensing, Lead Generation, Email and Content Marketing, as well as Display Advertising efforts.
With our vast experience of working with B2B businesses across various industries, we have developed a special 15-step quality control process for data licensing. This extensive process includes multiple email communications, third-party verification, engagement tracking, and social media cross-referencing to ensure that the data is current and accurate.
Contact us today to learn more.