In our hyper-connected digital age, we are all drowning in data. Having said that, how amazing is it that we can all access a wealth of insights at the swipe of a screen or the click of a button?.
While 2,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes of data are generated across all industries every single day, you cannot afford to be complacent when it comes to getting analytical.
With an ever-expanding raft of data rushing through the digital floodgates, knowing where to place your analytical efforts can seem impossible. And with so many metrics to explore, trusting your business’s most crucial data is sometimes easier said than done.
The costs of poor or “dirty” data
Working with data that is inaccurate, muddy, or unclean can set you off on the wrong path. Here are the main ways poor data will cost your company time, money, and ultimately success:
- Ineffective and inefficient internal processes as a result of poor decision-making.
- Poor customer relationships through analysing inaccurate customer data or service performance insights.
- A loss of productivity as a result of poor internal communication as well as fixes to rectify strategic mistakes.
- Missed sales and marketing opportunities and a damaged brand reputation due to a lack of innovation, poor communication and decision making and service inefficiencies.
“Contact data ages like fish, not wine… it gets worse as it gets older, not better.” — Gregg Thaler
What is data cleanliness?
Data cleanliness boils down to ensuring every available business insight is accurate and identifiable regardless of how it enters your data platform or system.
You will need to know that the Jane Smith that browsed your website on Wednesday is the same Jayne Smith that signed up for an introductory meeting with you on Friday. By prioritising your data collection and curation processes, you will gain access to metrics that offer clear informational signals. This will help you avoid miscommunications or inaccuracies that could prove detrimental to your business.
Another essential factor in ensuring data cleanliness is relevance. If your data is muddy or disorganised, you will find it nigh on impossible to keep essential info up-to-date, including email lists, contact numbers, behavioural insights, preferences, and geographical information. If this wealth of customer-centric insights is no longer relevant, you will fail to meet the needs of your prospects.
By keeping your data clean, you will be able to seize opportunities as they arise while creating customised and personalised content and experiences at every stage of the funnel with pinpoint accuracy. Clean data offers invaluable insights without barriers—free from the shackles of irrelevant metrics or misinformation.
Without a solid data management strategy, you can only shoot in the dark.
How to clean your data effectively
“Without a systematic way to start and keep data clean, bad data will happen.” — Donato Diorio
At this point, you understand the importance of data cleanliness. But how do you achieve it? Here are two definitive ways of keeping your business’s data clean, relevant, and organised.
Building a quality management plan
You should create a sustainable quality management plan to ensure the data you engage with offers real value to your business. The aim here is to filter out poor-quality data or questionable data sources, focusing on only the metrics or insights that matter to streamline your business processes while eliminating any informational discrepancies. As part of the process, you need to define what data you want to track and why. The way you collect that data and the way you record it should be in line with what you are going to use it for and what insights you want to glean from it.
Working with the right tools
Many businesses have implemented a CRM solution in order to have one single repository / source of truth when it comes to customer data.
Using a CRM system to store all your vital customer information (and interactions) across all department or functions – all in one central location – enhances the service and experience you offer customers. By having the full context on every person and company in one central place, you can be more personal and relevant. With a more contextual, more relevant experience, your entire customer-facing operation can become more efficient. Sales, marketing or customer service can reach the right person with the right content at the right time. Easy to see how this empowers sales reps to reach out and be relevant when they might otherwise not, marketing to personalise content, and so on.
Creating a single source of truth for your customer data is the first step to good customer data management.
The second step focuses on the quality of the data itself.
Maintaining the quality of your customer data inside CRM can be a challenge. With data flowing in from your website, being imported from third-party data sources or being manually input by your sales team, you can quickly end up with lots of duplicate or erroneous records, despite your best intentions.
You need to be able to easily identify duplicate records – en masse, using matching algorithms etc. You need to be able to define merging rules (when merging records together). You need to look at the process of data import and apply checks and measures to ensure no bad data filters through.
And you need to have some form of automation to ensure your data always remain clean.
A CRM should empower you to gain valuable insights from high-quality data with ease. With quality control functionality embedded into the CRM, you can be safe in the knowledge that the information you’re working with will help accelerate your business’s growth. It will prevent any bad data from sapping your time or budgets, boosting productivity while building optimal customer relationships in the process.
Workbooks’ CRM offers a viable means of data management while uniting the entire organisation through shared insights and accessible collaborative features. Our platform gives a panoramic view of customer insights across all channels and touchpoints, serving up data that is robust, reliable, and streamlined for success. Workbooks Data Quality, an integral part of the CRM platform, provides a range of data deduplication and data quality tools which can be used directly inside platform – ensuring quality data at all time.
In many ways, data is the beating heart of any modern business. Without the right handling, care, and maintenance – and the right infrastructure to collect and store it, it’s unlikely your data will ever offer your business genuine value—and you will continue to miss key opportunities for growth.
Take the time to ensure your data is clean and you have a well implemented CRM in place, and you will become more robust, more adaptable, and more efficient. Anything less, and you’re only selling yourself short.