While many companies now use a CRM to deal with marketing data, there are always those employees who can’t resist dabbling in Excel now and then, and spreadsheets often become essential again during key projects such as migrations.

Could proper data cleansing finally allow you to say goodbye to the spreadsheets for good?

Thanks to CRM software, many of us have now gleefully consigned our spreadsheets to the past. There are times though, when we’re forced back into the 90s and need to get to grips with MS Excel all over again.

This might be because we’re planning on performing the data cleanse process, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It ensures your database only contains high-quality data by removing all the dirty data from your business, including:

  • Incorrect data e.g. improperly formatted email addresses
  • Incomplete data e.g. addresses that are missing postcodes
  • Contacts with extremely low response rates
  • Inconsistent data e.g. figures captured both in £s and in $s
  • Duplicated data

Should you be cleansing your data?

Without a doubt.

The most conservative estimates of B2B data decay, are a minimum of 30% every year, so data cleansing is definitely something you need to be mindful of – even if dirty data wasn’t on your radar until today.

It’s widely accepted that dirty data is a problem for businesses, with the State of Enterprise Data 2016 reporting that 65% of businesses believe poor quality data can cause a business to lose 10-49% of its value.

And yet, only 24% have an effective data cleansing process in place. This might be because the true meaning of data cleansing isn’t commonly understood.

Clearly, understanding the importance of maintaining a healthy database and the inherent issues of low-quality data is one thing, but actually performing this laborious and extremely time-consuming process is another thing altogether.

Hardly surprising when a data cleanse often involves moving all your marketing data into Excel and manually combing through the spreadsheets hunting for dirty data.

Whose job is data cleansing?

One of the biggest barriers seems to be deciding exactly who’s responsible for leading the charge against dirty data, with the creators of the State of Enterprise Data 2016 report concluding:

“There is a disconnect between those persons held accountable for data quality and those that are responsible for its capture and use. While the IT department is mainly held accountable, the originators of data (e.g., employees, cross-functional teams, others) are not responsible for data quality upon capture or entry. IT departments are burdened with the task of employing multiple cleansing technologies to compensate.”

State of Enterprise Data 2016

Delegating data cleansing to IT might work in larger enterprises (although it’s hardly an ideal solution) but SMBs don’t often have extensive IT departments.

This means it often falls to the digital marketing team because they’re most likely to work regularly with the data.

While not all CRM software contains data cleansing tools, some high-end options do contain that functionality. In any case, if your team is unfamiliar with the software, you might end up resorting to manually sorting through spreadsheets again.

Unfortunately, having a digital marketing manager stare at Excel for a week isn’t the best use of their time. It also leaves you vulnerable to dirty data as human error is almost inevitable when manually combing through spreadsheets searching for mistakes.

Even worse, it might affect their morale as nobody enjoys spreadsheets that much.

Waving goodbye to your spreadsheets

If your CRM isn’t up to the job of destroying dirty data, one common way of bypassing an Excel odyssey is to simply use a data cleansing service .

There are many benefits to passing on the responsibility of tidying up your spreadsheets to an external agency, including:

  • Data cleansing companies have access to software that can identify and isolate different forms of dirty data in a fraction of the time a human could.
  • There’s no need to waste the time of highly-trained, and -paid, people to manually comb through your data piece by piece.
  • Data cleanse analysts are professionals, they know what they are looking for and are less likely to overlook something.
  • We all make mistakes but computers, especially those programmed for data cleansing, generally don’t.
  • Data cleansing software can compare your data with “do-not contact” lists like the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) much faster than a human can.

With Experian’s 2017 Global Data Management Benchmark Report showing that 33% of respondents are planning on completing a data cleansing project in the next 12 months, now is the time to clean up your data if you want to gain a significant competitive advantage.

And by ditching your spreadsheets in favour of external data cleansing services, you could reap the benefits sooner rather than later.

At Marketscan, we pride ourselves on the accuracy of our data and are recognised as having the industry’s leading approach to data cleansing.

It’s these industry-leading techniques, software and processes that we also apply to your data, meaning it’s in the best condition and as reliable as possible when we return it to you.

Learn more about how our data cleansing service can help you achieve better results for your lead generation campaigns.

Related Topics: data cleaning services