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You're Only as Good as Your Data: Why Marketing Needs Strong CRM Maintenance to Survive

October 20, 2014 | Justin Gray | 3 Comments |

Remember when you were young and your mom always told you to wash behind your ears and you were like, “Behind my ears? Meh, as long as the rest of me looks and smells good, no one will notice…”

You could be the prettiest belle at the marketing ball, but if you haven’t cleaned and maintained your CRM data recently, no amount of eyelash-batting is going to drive up your conversion rates.

My Spidey senses tell me that varying degrees of shame are emanating from the other side of the screen. Good. Wallow in it, then wash it off. Don’t forget your ears.

Bad data drags your sales and marketing efforts down into a messy tangle of bounce rates and diminishing returns. Like your ears, it’s the dirty little secret you don’t like to acknowledge—you know you should do a better job of maintaining your CRM but you just don’t have the time/resources/tools/insert other excuse here. You ignore it at your own peril, my friend: the average company loses 12% of its revenue thanks to inaccurate data.

Let’s go make mom proud.

De-dupe—Not only is it fun to say, but de-duping your CRM records is essential and should be done often. There are lots of utilities out there that can help you do this.

Purge inactive contacts—Is it possible that the contact that’s been in there for five years but hasn’t so much as opened an email in four will suddenly come to life as a hot prospect? Sure. Likely? Hell no. Inactive contacts are not a sleeping zombie hoard waiting for just the right moment to start engaging and make a purchase. Set a timeframe based on your typical sales cycle, and purge away. If they really want to re-engage, they’ll find a way back on their own.

Add a “Last Updated” field—Put some pressure on your sales or customer service peeps to keep records updated. Add a field to your contact records so you know how recent the info is and encourage them to confirm info when they talk to a customer. Or pull a list base on timeframe in that field and send a mass email inviting them to update their contact info.

Scrub-a-dub-dub—Also fun to say. Grab a rubber duckie and scrub your database of contacts that don’t belong, like employees, competitors, or contacts with titles like “student” or others that fall outside your target.

Look, truth is I don’t giving a flying rat’s a** if you wash behind your ears, but CRM maintenance has to be a regular thing you do. The longer you wait, the more the smell of dirty data creeps into all of your marketing efforts and sullies your efforts. Keep squeaky clean, and your ROI will smell delightful.


  1. Brad Hodson on October 20, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    I’m kind of an anomaly, because I actually like cleaning databases and keeping everything organized and as complete as possible. I regularly clean my music and photo collection on my computer, and make sure I keep my personal contacts up-to-date often.

    But I see why this is unusual to me (and a select few), which is why I’m all for CRM that can help make data entry and maintenance easier. There are some great apps that do a good job to automate your data entry: Nimble with social sources, JobNimbus for streamlining your contact forms, and OnDiGo for automated uploads of communications.

    I see great trends towards more of this and it makes me happy that clean data is closer to everyone.

    Brad Hodson

    • Cory Brown on October 24, 2014 at 4:28 am

      I’m from Woodinville! Woohoo!

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