How to maintain a clean CRM database

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As we’ve explained in numerous articles, a CRM can be a powerful tool. If used properly it can easily upgrade your marketing, make customer relations easier and provide an efficient sales funnel. But, for any of that to be possible, you need to maintain a clean CRM database. So, we will use this article to give you useful database management practices. With luck, these should ensure that your CRM database is clean, optimized, and well-running.

Different ways to maintain a clean CRM database

A professional team learning how to maintain a clean CRM database.
You need to have your whole team on board if you want to maintain a clean CRM database.

The following methods that we will outline are applicable at different levels of CRM handling. So, apart from understanding and researching them inside out, you should also explain them to your employees. Everyone involved with your CRM should understand how important it is to have a clean database and how they can contribute to it.

Only input clean data

The first step in ensuring that you have a clean CRM database is to try your best to only import clean data. By this, we mean that every instance of data you input should be in the right format, and should be complete. Incomplete usually leads to confusion, which then leads to poor performance. By a similar token, improper format brings unnecessary information into the system, which can slow it down. Keep in mind that most people inputting this data, be it customer agents or sales personnel, are probably multitasking. Therefore, mistakes will happen, even with the best intentions. Therefore, try to stress the importance of inputting clean data, but don’t be surprised if some of it slips through.

Identify important data fields

Depending on how you are using your CRM system, some data files can be more important than others. Therefore, it is in your best interest to prioritize employees’ attention to those fields. Yes, you can arguably prioritize employees’ attention to all fields. But doing so defeats its own purpose as prioritizing everything is basically the same as prioritizing nothing.

A person filling out information while someone points to a field.
Once you consider the amount of data that your employees input, it is easy to see why mistakes can occur.

So, do yourself a favor and pick the fields that are either most important or most prone to employee mistakes. By highlighting them you will ensure that your workers focus on correcting common mistakes and therefore increase the cleanliness of your data manyfold.

Check for duplicates

Even with utmost care and careful input, duplicates can happen. No CRM system is 100% perfect. This is why, after prolonged use, most systems will pre plagued by duplicates. The best way to deal with this issue and keep your data clean is to check for duplicates on regular basis. While you can automate some part of this process, know that there is always a need for personal oversight.

The results that your duplicate programs find may be complete duplicates, or may simply be similar in some fashion. On the other hand, you can run situations where the same user was input twice, only with slightly different information. This gives the impression that you have two distinct users while in reality you only have one. Whatever that case may be, duplicates pose a difficult and everpresent problem for CRM performance. Therefore, it is in your best interest to tackle them as soon as possible.

Use validation for email and phone fields

If you gathered declared data for your CRM, you are likely gathering users’ emails and/or phone numbers. While most of your users will give you their exact information, some may be reluctant to do so. What those users will try to do is to give false information or non-existing one. This, as you can imagine, does present a problem for your CRM, especially if you plan on relying on e-mail marketing.

A person checking their emails for validation requests.
Using e-mail validation is a necessity if you plan on utilizing e-mail marketing.

The best way to prevent this from happening is to use validation. Namely, if your users need to validate their info (be it email or phone), they have little chance of falsifying it. This simple step ensures that the data you’ve gathered from your users is clean and that you can reliably use it for future endeavors.

Get rid of unresponsive contacts

The main idea behind gathering clean data is to later use it for either marketing, sales, or customer management. After all, gathering, storing, and filtering data is expensive. And you really ought to try to ensure that your business investments are worthwhile. So, even though you might have precise and exact information in your CRM database, you might want to comb through it a bit more.

Namely, you need to get rid of unresponsive contacts. Each contact that doesn’t yield marketing results, better sales, or customer management benefits is only taking up space. That space can either be made free for a different contact. Or can stay void, and therefore help with CRM performance. Overall, you want to make sure that no unresponsive contacts stay on your database for too long as they cause more harm than good.

Final thoughts

There is hardly a CRM expert out there that won’t emphasize the importance of maintaining a clean CRM database. And, while you may new also appreciate the value of doing so, it is important to mention that the process can be complicated. Depending on how your company functions and what your CRM needs are, you may have a more difficult time ensuring that you have a clean database.

In this case, we strongly suggest that you do further research and that you consult with more experienced professionals. Keep in mind that CRM management is a multilayered process that encompasses your entire company. Therefore, to maintain a clean CRM database, you need to involve everyone that uses it and provide them with suitable software to do so efficiently.

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