By Charly Mostert

Did you know that, historically speaking, your customer relationship management (CRM) database decays at a rate of 22.5 percent annually? All those hard-earned contacts are just slipping through your fingers! 

Don't know what I mean? Here's a little visual I made to explain:

Blog Image Custom-1


The good news is that your contacts interacting with you (your site, your forms, your sales team, and so forth) doesn’t have to be your only source of accurate contact data.

Enter data cleansing solutions.

What is a data cleansing solution?

Basically, data cleansing is a (typically automated) review of each contact datapoint—like job title, phone number, company, and so forth. If a given data point does not align with what the cleansing solution has on file, the tool will alert you (more on that later).

Additionally, cleansing solutions almost always have additional contact information that you simply don’t have in your CRM. These might consist of fields that you do already track but simply don’t have populated, or they might be fields that you don’t even track currently.

Getting these fields that aren’t incorrect but are instead just unknown to you is often referred to as data enrichment.

How does data cleansing keep my database accurate?

Once a datapoint is identified as incorrect, you have a few options, from very manual to very automated.

Manual Cleansing in a Nutshell

  1. Export some subset of your database that you want to cleanse into a spreadsheet.
  2. Import into the data cleansing tool.
  3. Let the tool do its thing.
  4. Export the cleaned up file, and import it back into your CRM.
  5. Do it again sometime ... or whenever someone thinks of it again.

See any issues with manual cleansing? I’ll share some that occurred to me:

    • Who is doing it?
    • When are they doing it?
    • How frequently are they doing it?
    • Why did we spend so much time on a data cleansing tool if we have to wait until the next time marketing randomly decides to run our data through the cleansing tool? (This is what execs and the sales team will say.)
Automated cleansing solves these pain points, so don’t do it the manual way. It’s not 2010 anymore.


Automated Cleansing in a Nutshell

    1. Create an integration between your cleansing solution and your CRM. I know you’re cringing because I said “integration,” but many popular CRMs and cleansing solutions have native integrations already, so you can customize what needs to be custom, while not dealing with the other stuff.
    2. Determine which specific fields you’re mapping between the two systems, and also if you should be changing or adding existing CRM fields because the cleansing tool has such an incredible amount of data.
    3. Turn it on, and watch it go.
Because the cleanse is more or less always on, the contact data that you (and your sales team) want is ready when you need it.


Why should data cleansing be part of my 2021 roadmap?

Data cleansing provides several benefits to both marketing and sales.

Marketing Benefits of Automated Data Cleansing

  • Better segmentation: The more you know about your prospects, the more you can tailor your messaging and offers to provide meaningful education opportunities. 
  • Ability to act on data now: So much of digital marketing relies on timeliness, and cleansing gets you what you need now, to send the right message when it’s needed.
  • Improve your contact conversion rates: When contacts can fill out just a few fields instead of 30, they’re more likely to convert. You can gather the other fields from your cleansing tool.

Sales Benefits of Automated Data Cleansing

  • Accurate and complete data: Know that you have accurate contact information for the prospect you’re trying to reach.
  • Additional context for your outreach: More recently, data cleansing solutions provide access to the qualitative data Sales teams need, like if a prospect is currently using a competitor, or if prospects have exhibited buying intent signals online.

Commit to simpler data cleansing solutions in 2021

Now that you understand the basics of data cleansing and its benefits, get out there and research your solutions. And for more info on how technology is changing how you market to your prospects, check out our benchmarks report on Where RevOps & Inbound Collide in 2021.

RevOps-&-Inbound-2021-Report-cover

Learn the latest trends bringing marketing, sales, and customer teams together:

RevOps & Inbound 2021 Report

Check It Out
Charly Mostert

About the author

Charly Mostert loves researching and spreading the word on the newest inbound marketing best practices. He has diverse in-house and agency experience, and works primarily on Inbound and Growth-Driven Design projects as a SmartBug Inbound Marketing Manager. Read more articles by Charly Mostert.

Subscribe to get our new blogs delivered right to your inbox