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March 8, 2023

How to Clean Your CRM Data in 5 Quick Steps

Maintaining data integrity is crucial to the success of your CRM efforts. Without clean, consistent data, it becomes nearly impossible to gain accurate insights and make data-driven decisions. To ensure the highest level of data integrity, it’s important to implement a thorough data cleaning as part of your RevOps process. This involves identifying and separating dirty data, standardizing entries, de-duplicating entries, automating data entry, and keeping regular track of changes. 

Identify and Separate Dirty Data

The first step in cleaning up your customer data is to identify and separate any data that is “dirty”. Dirty data is any information that has become outdated, incorrect, or incomplete over time. This could include things like contact information or customer purchase histories that have not been updated in a while. Once you have identified what data needs to be “cleaned”, you can begin the process of segmenting and reorganizing it into an actionable format.

This is where features like data match, standardization, and transformation come in. Data Matching is the process of using algorithms to identify matching entries that have different formats. For example, if you have a list of customer emails that are formatted differently, data matching can be used to turn them into one unified format. Standardization is the process of restructuring existing data into a common format so it can be easily analyzed and compared. Finally, data transformation allows you to aggregate your datasets and convert them into actionable insights that can be applied across your business.

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Standardize Entries

Having a consistent format for your CRM data is an important step in cleaning up the information stored in it. This involves ensuring that the same terms and formatting are used across entries. For example, if you have customers from different countries, set a standard for displaying their names or addresses - such as using commas when separating street address components. Doing so will make searches for data easier and more effective in the future.

If there are entries that have been duplicated or entered incorrectly, take the time to remove and merge them. This can be done through manual elimination or through the use of automated data-cleaning tools. Some software solutions, such as those utilizing natural language processing (NLP) algorithms, can not only detect duplication but can also "clean up" text entries by recognizing typos and correcting them automatically. The standards you set in the initial stages of data cleaning should be followed throughout any subsequent cleaning efforts to ensure a standardized output across all of your data.

Last but not least, consider the value of your data. Creating a structure for data entry will make sure that all of your future inputs are consistent, which makes it much easier to identify when redundant entries have been inputted. At the same time, having a standardized way of entering data helps with running reports and analyses in the future. For example, if all customer addresses have been correctly formatted from the start, you won’t need to spend more time reformatting them before running an analysis. Having an effective and consistent system for data entry also makes it easier to identify case-specific inconsistencies or irregularities you may need to address during the cleaning process. 

To ensure consistency in your data entry, you should look for a comprehensive CRM software solution that allows you to make accurate adjustments quickly and with minimal fuss. Whether it's implementing automated data cleaning tools or building custom rules to correct errors, the most effective data cleaning solutions have one thing in common: HubSpot. 

As a leading provider of customer relationship management (CRM) software, HubSpot offers an array of easy-to-use tools designed to streamline the data cleaning process and give users flexibility with their data standards. Not only does HubSpot let users customize their workflow, but they can also incorporate additional features like text recognition and de-duplication capabilities into their maintenance routines. By enabling users to build automated filters and set up custom fields for individual records, HubSpot is the key piece of technology you need to optimize your CRM data.

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De-Duplicate Entries

Many companies store their customer data in multiple locations across their CRM instance. As a result, it’s easy for duplicate entries to slip past your administrators. To ensure that you don’t have double counting of your contacts, take the time to go into HubSpot and weed out any duplicates that have crept in over time. You can use de-duplication tools like Dupe Catcher to quickly identify and delete unnecessary entries from your database.

Another benefit of de-duplicating your database is that it allows you to gain insight from a wider range of data. For example, if two customers with the same information are stored in different databases, you won’t be able to see how that customer is interacting with both locations. If you’re only targeting one database, this could lead to less accurate predictions about overall customer behavior. De-duplication enables you to pool all of your customer information into one place, ensuring that each piece of data accurately reflects a single contact or user. By taking the time to tidy up your contacts and filter out unwanted duplicates, you can create more accurate predictive models and tailor your marketing more effectively to meet customer needs.

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Automate Data Entry

You can also make the data-entry process much easier for your team by automating it. HubSpot Operations Hub offers features that allow you to integrate third-party applications, like Zapier and Integromat, into your CRM instance. This makes it possible to move data from one platform to another or even to collect contact information from landing pages automatically. You can also set up automated triggers that will update contacts’ information when their details change across multiple channels.

Automation can be especially useful when it comes to updating address information and typically requires integration with a third-party provider like Google Maps. With this technology, you can keep contact records up-to-date by cross-referencing names, addresses, and emails to confirm that the address listed on a person’s profile is correct. This eliminates the need for manual data entry and helps ensure that all contact records are up-to-date so your team can stay organized. Additionally, automated triggers can alert your team any time contact information changes across integrated channels in order to keep all of your customer data as accurate and current as possible.

This type of automation can be beneficial in a few different ways. Not only does it streamline the data entry process and make it easier for your team to keep records accurate and up-to-date, but it also helps reduce manual errors that come from manually entering customer information multiple times. Automation also frees up time for your team so they can focus their energy on more meaningful tasks, like building relationships with customers or organizing marketing campaigns.

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Keep Regular Track of CRM Changes

Keep track of any changes that happen within your customer database. This should involve verifying the physical addresses and email addresses of existing contacts to make sure they’re still working, as well as double-checking phone numbers. Having up-to-date information in CRM for all customers is critical for representing them accurately when communicating with them and helps ensure you have quality data in reports.

Additionally, you’ll want to check for any regular updates you may need. For example, sales reports will only remain accurate if existing customers continue to enter orders with your business or product. If a customer suddenly stops purchasing without unsubscribing from emails or discontinuing their service, it could lead to incomplete data. Therefore, it’s important to create processes and procedures for how often you will audit contact records and reach out to them with surveys or direct email campaigns––say every two months––so that contact data remains accurate and the reported figures are reliable. 

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The Takeaway

To assist in the process of data cleaning and maintaining accurate contact records, HubSpot offers a powerful CRM system and a suite of "Hubs" to optimize the end-to-end of your revenue cycle. The system enables you to manage customer relationships, add or edit contact information, and track contacts’ interactions with your website and brand. With its simple drag-and-drop user interface, it makes data cleaning as easy as possible. In addition, users can set automated workflows for data cleanup tasks, like verifying email addresses or reaching out to customers that have not purchased in over three months.

HubSpot’s CRM automatically collects any contact activities related to web forms or emails sent from the customer—making sure that no traces of customer interaction falls through the cracks during your regularly scheduled audits.

If you're still struggling with data management or simply want to ensure that you're getting the most out of HubSpot's capabilities, consider getting a free HubSpot audit from our team. Our experts can help you identify opportunities for improvement, develop a tailored plan of action, and provide ongoing support to make sure you're achieving your goals. 

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Guido Bartolacci

Guido is Head of Product and Growth Strategy for New Breed. He specializes in running in-depth demand generation programs internally while assisting account managers in running them for our clients.


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