<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=172061883552505&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Subscribe to Our Blog

Stay up to date with the latest marketing, sales, and service tips.

6 Data Hygiene Best Practices

Accuracy is everything. When you order anything online, you want to receive exactly what you bought. By the same token, when you look at your KPI dashboards, you expect them to reflect true information — especially since this is what you rely on when determining whether certain campaigns are working, or whether it’s time to make any modifications. 

And if your customer relationship management (CRM) software is full of dirty data, you’re pretty much flushing money down the drain. Stop doing that. You didn’t go into business to be wasteful. So go get yourself a nice cup of coffee and read up on good data hygiene best practices. 

What is Data Hygiene? 

Data hygiene refers to ensuring that all the information stored within your CRM system is error free. For example, are there any email addresses with typos? Any deactivated accounts? Unsubscribers who are still receiving communications from you? Duplicate records? Incomplete information? 

Establishing a data hygiene protocol ensures that you’re optimizing your marketing efforts. You don’t want to be sending lead nurturing emails to people who don’t care to hear from you because you’re going to be reported as spam. And you don’t want to be sending emails to deactivated accounts or any of the above-mentioned examples because this is going to skew your metrics — such as your deliverability and open rates

Benefits of Data Hygiene

While accuracy is an umbrella term for why you want to cleanse your data regularly, it behooves your business to be clear on each specific benefit of doing so: 

More Accurate Metrics

Let's say you’re sending 100 emails to a specific segment of your CRM database. 30 of them go to either duplicate addresses or to inboxes that haven’t been checked in ages. This means that all of your email marketing metrics are going to reflect somewhat useless information. And having accurate numbers is crucial, because they provide insights that serve as actionable steps to improve your marketing strategies. For example, if you have a high deliverability rate but a low open rate, the issue could be that you need to work on your subject lines. But it could also be that you need to scrub your email list. 

Improve Time Efficiencies

B2B sales cycles tend to take significantly longer than those of the B2C variety. This is because since they require a bigger investment, prospects are going to take more time to conduct research. They also may have several apprehensions you need to address; as well as they may require buy-in from decision makers at their own companies. And that’s ok. It comes with the territory. That’s what lead nurturing is for. However, you want any time delay to be related to the natural process of going through the buyer’s journey. You don’t want them to be caused because you’ve been sending communications to an email address with a typo this whole time (and these won’t always bounce. Maybe Ricky Jonston has been deleting all the emails you think you’ve been sending to Ricky Johnson). 

Prevent Wasteful Marketing Efforts

Time is money. And since good business practices require that (a) you segment your contacts, and (b) you personalize communications, this means that every single time your marketing team drafts content, it behooves you to actually have intended recipients to read it. But this won’t happen if you have a database full of errors or if you’re sending communications to people who have already unsubscribed from your email list. 

Smoother Sales Process

When you design pipeline management practices, it’s crucial for your sales team to reach out to prospects at the most ideal times. And that means doing so promptly. Having clean data translates into higher conversion rates, as sales has updated, accurate information regarding high lead scoring contacts

Increased Customer Satisfaction

When was the last time you were excited to see yet another marketing email from a company you unsubscribed from? Similarly, how likely are you to open future emails from a business that keep sending you irrelevant information? Having clean data means that you’ll be reaching out exclusively to people who want to hear from you. 

6 Data Hygiene Best Practices

Now that you know how beneficial cleaning your database is for your business, let’s look at best practices when doing so: 

1. Establish a Data Hygiene SOP

Consistency is the key to everything. Therefore, establish clear processes to make it happen: Who’s in charge of cleaning your data? How often are they going to do it? Which tools are they going to use? What’s the criteria to scrub your list from unengaged contacts? Who’s going to train new team members who may have to do this? Think of all relevant components you want to incorporate into this process, and put them in writing. Then notify everyone whose job duties include data cleansing, and let them know where they can find this information. 

2. Designate Who’s In Charge of Cleaning CRM Data

This one isn’t just an item to tick off your checklist. You want to specifically name the team members who will do this. When establishing this in your processes, refer to them by their job title, so that regardless of personnel changes, there’s clarity as to who will get it done. This also makes it easier for accountability purposes. 

3. Conduct a Data Audit

A data audit refers to the process of identifying the contacts that should be deleted. Make a list of unengaged contacts, then organize them by categories: Which ones are hard bounces? Are there any who were acquired by purchasing email lists? (If you buy contacts lists, please stop). Do you have any contacts from unknown sources? Any unsubscribers? You may proceed to get rid of all of these. But if you have a list of people who haven’t engaged with your emails for a while, look at their CRM file for insights as to what may re-engage them, and reach out to them one more time.

4. Use Data Cleansing Tools

Don’t delete data manually. That’s boring, mind numbing, time consuming, and impractical. It also lends itself to human error. There are plenty of data cleansing software options that merge duplicate contacts, identify common typos, remove invalid email addresses, and even schedule this process automatically at specified timeframes. 

5. Know When It’s Time To Scrub Your CRM Contacts

Common signs that it’s time to update your email list include noticing a drop in your open and click-through rates, a higher than usual bounce rate, or an increasing number of unsubscribers. Now, be sure to verify whether you’re experiencing hard or soft bounces. The first one refers to undelivered emails due to an email address no longer being active, while the latter refers to a full inbox or a server that was down temporarily. 

6. Update Data Regularly

How often to update your data is up to you. However, do so if you notice any of the signs listed in item number five; and at the very least, schedule them to occur quarterly, so that you can start each quarter with a clean slate and accurate metrics. 

Remember that everything you do as it relates to your sales and marketing efforts has a raison d'être. Nothing happens by chance or accident, and ensuring that your written communications are read requires being 100 percent certain that the messages will reach their intended destinations. 

Ensure Data Accuracy With a Free HubSpot Audit 

HubSpot is the crème de la crème when it comes to… pretty much anything. CRM, marketing, sales, and customer service. But it all starts with having accurate data in your CRM. Let us help you come up with effective processes with a free HubSpot audit. We’ll also provide you with a list of actionable steps so that you can move forward with confidence. 

New call-to-action

Alejandra Zilak

Alejandra Zilak

Alejandra Zilak is a content writer, ghostwriter, blogger, and editor. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism and a Juris Doctor. She's licensed to practice law in four jurisdictions and worked as an attorney for almost a decade before switching careers to write full time. She loves being part of the Bluleadz team and implementing SEO best practices with her content. When not working, she loves to read, write fiction, and long distance running.