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.

Why data quality is crucial: Sales 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.

Data challenges in Sales Ops: For Sales Operations, good data hygiene can be challenging to maintain. Sales Ops handles information from different avenues which are often difficult to standardize. Think contact forms, data enrichment tools, research from Sales reps. 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 is heaving with records 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:

➡️ The impacts of poor data hygiene

➡️ The need for continuous effort to keep data clean

➡️ How to inform your team of best practices that will keep your data clean and your sales team on track

➡️ Do you use Marketo + Salesforce? Explore our Data Hygiene Management offering


Why data hygiene matters

Companies waste 12% of revenue on inaccurate data. And bad data encroaches on everything your sales team does.

👉 Leads to inaccurate analyses of opportunities in the pipeline.

👉 Results in sales reps making muted progress on deals, chasing prospects that are past their relevance to your business.

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

👉 Causes 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. Your sales leaders might, for example, oppose deleting data. They’ve paid for the methods to acquire this information that could, at some point, yield business.


It pays to part with data (sometimes)

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 organization should understand that data hygiene = time and money well spent.”


Your organization should understand that data hygiene = time and money well spent.

Before renewing your CRM instance, 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.


An ongoing process

Remember: This isn’t a one-time clear-out.

You have to keep working on it regularly to make sure it stays in good shape.

To increase revenue, sales reps need access to accurate information that will allow them to focus on the most viable leads. Leadership can help by making data hygiene a part of the culture and practices of your business.

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 that 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.

Follow these steps and your pipeline will likely prosper:

➡️ Adopt clear and consistent practices for collecting and categorizing data.

➡️ Complete regular audits to streamline your databases to only include accurate and relevant information.

Visit our data hygiene management offering for more guidance on maintaining good data hygiene practices.