TLDR: Is your CRM heaving with old records? Time to clean up your data. Learn how to advocate for good data hygiene to your Sales leaders.

The problem with data hygiene in sales ops: Sales ops teams struggle to succeed without clean, well-organized data. To work efficiently and make the right decisions, people at every level and in every function of your sales team need easy access to accurate, relevant information.

Why data hygiene is hard to maintain: Sales Ops handles troves of information from different avenues, which are often difficult to standardize including contact forms, data enrichment tools and research from sales reps.

The cost of poor data hygiene: Sales and revenue leaders can be reluctant to part with data, even when a prospect’s interest and engagement have long cooled. As a result, CRMs bloat with duplicate and incomplete records that only become less viable as time goes on—and this bloat costs in many ways.

What’s in this article for you: If your CRM’s heaving with records and difficult to segment, or your reporting doesn’t match the reality of your team’s performance, it’s time to clean up your data. In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn how to:

➡️ Illustrate the impacts of poor data hygiene with your CRO/COO

➡️ Raise awareness of practices that will keep your data clean and your Sales team on track

➡️ Save money for your organization


Why data hygiene matters

Bad data encroaches on everything your Sales team does.

❌ Leads to inaccurate analyses of opportunities in the pipeline.

❌ Slows progress on deals as Sales reps chase prospects who are no longer relevant to your business.

❌ Creates a lack of clarity on the accounts, industries, and regions you should target and how to target them.

❌ Results in technical debt, smaller pipelines, leads being routed to the wrong places, and hours burned cleaning up and correcting messy databases.


Why do these problems arise?

A lack of clean, consistent practices around how your organization handles data. Often, this is due to business culture. For example, your sales leaders might oppose deleting data because they’ve paid for the methods to acquire this information that could yield business at some point.


“It pays to know when
to part ways with your data.”


But it pays to know when to part ways with your data. Records that have been sitting cold in your CRM for years, with no signs of engagement, cost more than they’re worth.

Insights expire, industries evolve, and peoples’ interests and roles change.

After a few years of inactivity, you’re more likely to reengage a prospect inbound, in response to a different product or service line, than what you’ve previously been sending them. And at that point, as far as their potential as a customer goes, they’re an entirely new prospect whose old data is no longer relevant.

Your head of sales, CRO, and COO should all understand that data hygiene = time and money well spent.


Before renewing your CRM instance, follow these steps:

👉 See what your capacity costs annually.

👉 Scope out the data that you don’t need, such as duplicates, outdated and irrelevant information, and metrics that your reps don’t use.

👉 Then, present leadership with the savings you can make by getting rid of old records.

Important: This isn’t a one-time clear-out. Data hygiene has a systemic impact on the productivity of your Sales team and requires a continuous, purposeful effort to maintain. To increase revenue, Sales reps need easy access to accurate information that will allow them to focus on the most viable leads. Leadership can help Sales to achieve this by enshrining data hygiene into the culture and practices of your business.


Data standardization

Data should enter your system according to standardized methods of collection and categorization, following a central repository of business definitions that your sales and RevOps teams universally agree upon.

You also want to standardize the fields across channels people can use to enter information. Discrepancies between, say, United States vs. USA vs. US will bloat your database and compromise the accuracy of your reporting.

Sales Ops can take the lead with regularly auditing the CRM and other databases for data quality. Things like merging duplicates, flagging records with missing data, and removing data that are no longer correct or relevant.

Chat with your CRO and Head of Sales about the conditions that make data meaningful for the team:

  • Do we use it in reporting?
  • Do our Sales reps use it in their work?
  • Does it concern prospects who are reasonably engaged given the norms of our industry?
  • Does collecting and storing it drive our desired outcomes?

If the answer is ‘no,’ chances are you can safely delete a record. To increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your data cleanups, encourage leadership to invest in a data preparation tool to automate parts of the audit.


Helping Sales win

In Sales, data hygiene and quality will make or break your capacity to strike deals and achieve growth.

Adopt clear and consistent practices for collecting and categorizing data, with regular audits to streamline your databases to only include accurate and relevant information, and it’s likely your pipeline will prosper.

Get in touch for more guidance on maintaining good data hygiene practices.