Messy customer data can be a total PITA (that’s writer shorthand for “pain in the ass”) when it comes to your marketing.
It’s important that your customer data is current in order for you to increase revenue, contact subscribers, and market your product efficiently.
Much like regular household chores, spring-cleaning your SaaS data is probably way, way waaaaaay down the bottom of your list of fun stuff to do.
Right next to getting a root canal and filing down that one nasty toenail. (Just put a sock over it — it can wait).
If you’ve been hoarding data since day zero, it might be time to give your database a Marie Kondo makeover and keep only the customer details that bring you joy (and by “joy”, i mean data that helps with your retention and revenue).
Dust off your data goals
The difference between success and failure in marketing can often be tied directly to data you collect. To make sure you’ve got data you can actively use instead of drowning in data you’ve collected because it seemed like a good idea (you’re never going to need to know about people’s favorite donut flavors — WHAT were you thinking?), you need to start with some simple questions:
- Why are you collecting the data?
- What are you going to use it for?
- How is the data going to help grow your business?
Defining your data goals helps focus on only gathering the information you need to reach your marketing and company objectives.
Whether you’re using your data for making accurate revenue projections, email marketing, or giving a better customer experience, having an end goal in mind keeps you focused on collecting the information that really matters.
Polish your contact list
Assessing all the contacts in your database is a major step towards having squeaky clean data. Information can get outdated when people switch jobs and phone numbers.
Keeping that dirty information in your database can be a drain on your team’s resources and time in terms of contacting and marketing to your customers.
Contacts that have been dormant for a certain amount of time should be removed from your system. If these leads are no longer interested in your company, repeatedly marketing to them is a waste of your time.
Nameless contacts with weird looking emails like email@example.com should be removed from your database. These are either bots, spammers, or people who hoped you’d never contact them.
Emails and phone numbers that don’t work are a good sign that these contacts are outdated. Save time deleting hundreds of bounce notifications by clearing those contacts out of your system.
No matter the size of your company, duplicate contacts are something you’ll have to deal with at some point.
Some marketing software lets you set up notifications for duplicate contacts. This way, you can get alerts when there’s a suspected duplication.
If you’re certain you’re dealing with one person across different contact entries, you can remove the extra contact, or merge the duplicates into one entry.
Standardize your data entry
Using a universal format for data input can be tricky, but it’s the key to cleaner and clearer data going forward.
Drop-downs in forms mean that contacts have to type their details in a set format.
Let’s say a lead lives in the United States. They might type this, but can also enter it into a form as “US” or “USA”. This will give you fractured data when it’s time to segment contacts for marketing campaigns.
Your team should be trained in any standard formats in case they have to make manual database entries.
Bad formatting of phone and email details mean customers might not be able to be contacted, making your data problems worse instead of better.
Verify new data
Once your data is clean and shiny, it’s time to implement a verification process for all incoming data. Keeping a focus on quality data is the key to keeping your data in top shape.
In the case of new leads coming in online, it’s easy to set up verifications to make sure subscribers have given you the right email.
Verifying information before adding a contact into the database might be as easy as giving the customer a call or emailing them to make sure their data is all correct.
Create a schedule for data cleaning
Once your data’s clean, that doesn’t mean you can forget about it. It’s a good idea to create a regular data check calendar. This means months (and years) won’t slide past and undo all your good work.
Your schedule will vary depending on the size of your team and time resources. A DemandGen report suggests that large companies with over 100,000 leads should scrub their data quarterly, while smaller companies should aim to schedule a twice-yearly cleanse.
Keeping your data clean isn’t the most sexy thing in the world, but it’s vital to the health of your business. Creating data management and cleaning plans will ensure that your team is more productive, your marketing is more efficient, and your “bad” data is kept to a minimum.