How to keep your database in good shape

It’s a new year, a new you….and the same old CRM database. Brilliant. It’s easy to fall into old, bad habits when you get back into the same old routines when it comes to your marketing data. But we’re not going to let good intentions go to waste this year! We spoke to our CRM consultant, Chris, on how to keep your database clean and up to date.

Why is a clean CRM database so important?

They say a tidy space is a tidy mind and it’s the same for your marketing. A tidy CRM database makes for tidy marketing. You want to be contacting valid and engaged and valid and non-engaged data. You don’t want to be contacting invalid data at any stage! So, with the New Year clear out, it’s time to clear out your old data.

Once you’ve done this, you can expect to see your deliverability improve, a reduction in the number of hard bounces and it also reduces the risk of complaints and being labelled spam. This clear out is also important so you can start establishing what data is double opted-in, and which data you need to start working on to make sure they are also GDPR compliant by May 2018.

Let’s talk about data compliance for a second…

So, I’m sure you’ve heard of the GDPR by now. Essentially, what B2B email marketers need to start doing is double opting-in their contacts in their CRM database. They have until 25th May 2018 to do this. After that, you can’t email any contact that hasn’t double opted-in. So it’s essential you start building up your double opt-in database today.

Until the ruling comes into effect, you CAN use purchased data lists and try and get as much of this data double opted-in to your marketing communications as possible. If you are going to use purchased data lists, make sure your email marketing platform can work with it. And make sure your marketing strategy accounts for it. We’d suggest approaching purchased data in a different way to organic data.

It’s also important to make sure you buy data from a reputable source. Purchased data lists are known for their spam blockers and blacklist accounts thrown in. You want to make sure any purchased data list is cleansed and aligns with the top targets you are looking to intrigue.

4 top tips on how to cleanse your data!

These next four top tips on how to cleanse your data come directly from our CRM consultant, Chris Hammond, as we mentioned earlier.

Tip 1: Never delete a record

Instead, deactivate a record in your CRM instead. That way you can keep track of unsubscribes and the like. You want to prevent them from being re-added and messing up your new clean marketing database!

Tip 2: Standardise .csv files before importing them

For example, make sure there are spaces at the end of words, company names end with Ltd, PLC, etc. Also, always say Ltd rather than limited. This will help you avoid doubling up on accounts.

Tip 3: Use a standard convention of brackets

For example, CommuniGator Ltd (UK) vs. CommuiGator Ltd UK. Again, it’s mainly to make sure you don’t end up duplicating accounts.

Tip 4: Avoid the dangers of words like ‘the’ & ‘and’.

You should always use either the word and or the & sign. Alternating between the two means you run a greater risk of duplicating accounts. The word ‘the’ also applies to this. For example ‘University of Manchester’ will be stored separately to ‘The University of Manchester.’

How to KEEP your data updated

Now that we’ve gone through the data cleansing process and how to keep your database in good shape, it would be a shame to let it fall back into a muddle. We don’t want to be repeating this process every year like that two-week gym resolution, do we?

So, here are Chris’ top tips for keeping your data updated.

Tip 1: Data quality are the sales team and account managers responsibility

Sales teams and account managers are responsible for their leads and customers. It is up to them to make sure their contact records are thorough and up to date.

Tip 2: Don’t put it all on the back-end administrators

Keeping data up to date requires human checking, knowledge of the accounts and constant processing. You can’t just throw it at a CRM administrator and say ‘cleanse’. They need to know what you want to achieve – most of which you will know how to do yourself if you spend a bit going through your CRM records and comparing them against their activities, performance and ROI.

Tip 3: Marketing need to take responsibility for subscriptions and building lists

By using preference centres and tracking activities, rather than batch blasting all contact records, marketing can be more effective with your CRM data. Profile your accounts and create lists that target accounts based on their killer values.

Tip 4: Keep track of the data validation date

Use a data validation date to tell you when this information was last confirmed on with a time stamp. Then create a process of how frequently this is checked to make sure data stays as up to date as you want it to.

So, that’s it. How to keep your database in a good shape all year long, in a nutshell. Hopefully, this has given you a good grounding for your CRM in 2017!

Once you’ve done all that, why don’t we look at putting all this new found and organised clean data into a marketing campaign?

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