To Delete Bad Data or Not to Delete Bad Data – That Is the Question

Sales and marketing departments lose approximately 550 hours and as much as $32,000 per sales rep from using bad data EVERY YEAR (DiscoverOrg).

It’s pretty clear a clean database is important to the success of your marketing and sales efforts. No sales or marketing rep wants to waste a campaign on contacts that don’t exist.

So what do you do about it? Do you delete every lead at first sign of decay? Routinely skim your lists for dupes and inactive leads? Per usual, the answer is a bit more complicated than that.

If you’re deleting inactive leads, you could be losing the data and insights into why you’re losing those leads, and the data to later point you toward which marketing and sales activities are successful. You’re also losing the potential to eventually reinvigorate leads later with win back campaigns.

But if you’re keeping incorrect data in your database, you may be wasting time contacting leads that don’t exist or qualify for your products and services in the first place.

Here’s one trick that works for us when cleaning our database, with our finger on the delete key.

Stop for a minute and imagine this situation: if this person contacted you again (at a new job or with a correct email address), what data from this interaction would you want to keep? Would it help your sales team to know any of this historical information?

Imagining future re-interactions with your company gives you a good gut check on whether to delete or not delete. If it’s a duplicate account that offers no future value, and is just messing up your reporting values, by all means delete! But if there’s information that can be salvaged, consider taking the time to fill in data instead. If a contact is inactive because they changed jobs, can you find their new email? Connect their social media account for a more complete picture of their activity? Does your customer service department or accounting department have better data you can pull from?

Here are a few more tips to transform delete-worthy data to lead-worthy data:

  1. Setup duplication alerts. If a lead comes in your platform with a similar company and last name, have your marketing automation system alert you. Then you can go in and decide if you want to remove the lead, combine it with another, or create a new contact.
  2. Use smart campaigns to your advantage to automatically identify records with false email addresses or missing information, then set your data team on appending and fixing this information, or suspending the contact until they fill in more information.
  3. Re-evaluate your lead and contact statuses. Do you have contact statuses identified for no interest, no response, send back to marketing for your leads and contacts? Determine the different situations (like the exercise above) where you may want to keep a lead’s historical information or data for later use, and determine which status (mailing list is a great one) you’d like to place them in until a later date.

Good, successful marketing takes thoughtful processes. And sometimes, in the case of keeping a clean CRM, it takes a lot of time and work. Consider enlisting help to better structure your data collection and review process. And don’t forget, we can lead you.