Making decisions for your business is complicated. A key factor to guide leaders in making sound decisions is data. That’s why the integrity of your data matters. Your data needs to be accurate, consistent, complete – and safe. It’s a valuable resource that’s often left to decay. But that doesn’t have to be the case – you can scrub your data and keep it relevant and useful.
Data Accuracy, Consistency and Completeness
We all expect accounting data to be accurate. Companies hire outside firms to audit their financials. Parts and inventory data must be accurate, or operational chaos will ensue. But what about a CRM system? Does it matter if the data is clean, duplicates merged, fields filled in and so forth? Yes! Customer and prospect data is one of your company’s most important assets, therefore it needs to be accurate, consistent, and complete. Moneyzine reports the average annual employee turnover rate at 18% (and it was over 50% during the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic). This means if you haven’t cleaned up your CRM database in three years, more than half of your contacts have probably moved on. You don’t want to pay for or manage those invalid contacts. Experts recommend periodic database cleaning, ongoing or at least quarterly. This spring is a great time to clear out bad contacts.
An easy place to start is to check your marketing email campaigns and remove contacts with hard bounced email addresses from your CRM. You can also remove unengaged prospects who have not opened your emails in many months or launch a re-engagement campaign prior to doing so, to make sure they’re not interested in your goods and services.
After you’ve done your database housekeeping, setting up governance and training for everyone who enters and uses the database is key to keeping your information relevant and clean. Even one user taking shortcuts and skipping essential fields potentially skews your analysis and throws off you business insights.
Data also needs to be safely stored and managed. Bad actors stealing client information can result in revenue loss, ransoms, fines, and reputation damage that is difficult to recover. Strong cybersecurity measures need to be in place throughout an organization, from physical locks on buildings to password protection, firewalls, VPNs, multifactor authentication, security policies, and employee security awareness training. This will benefit your entire business.
In addition to accuracy and security, data quality is important. Poor quality or corrupted data gives a false view of performance. It leads to poor decisions that hurt businesses.
According to Hubspot, data integrity enables your organization to:
- Deliver strong customer experiences that are personalized to every individual
- Trust the information in your apps
- Maximize your return on investment with relevant data insights
- Make the most informed business decisions and have faith in your reporting
- Avoid wasting money on storage for poor quality data
Gathering, analyzing and using data isn’t a one-and-done project. Ongoing maintenance is needed to ensure data quality and integrity. Contacts change roles and leave organizations. Keeping your data as current, high quality and therefore useful as possible requires constant optimization.
You can read more about data integrity at Digital Guardian.