Having a messy customer database is a little bit like having a tidy room with lots of clutter stuffed in drawers and cabinets. It may look good at first glance, but hidden underneath is a chaotic mix of items that either don’t belong, are outdated, or are misplaced.
When most people fire up their CRM, things probably look okay. But beyond the surface lies incomplete, erroneous, or duplicate records. Besides reducing the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, poor data hygiene lowers the potential of your data — one of your most powerful assets.
HubSpot data cleansing is a solution to that problem that dramatically improves your data hygiene. This easy guide is a great way to start performing a HubScrub (our word for a thorough HubSpot cleaning!) to ring in your new year right.
What is data hygiene?
Data hygiene refers to the quality of your data in terms of validity, accuracy, and uniformity. Some easy examples of data hygiene issues include:
- Incomplete contact records or missing contact fields
- Outdated information
- Incorrect address formatting
- Spelling mistakes, inconsistent variations, and extra spaces
- Duplicate entries
- Unengaged contacts
- Non-standardized data
In terms of your marketing efforts, poor data hygiene is more than just superficial errors and inconsistencies. Poor data quality and data decay can reduce the effectiveness of your CRM and reporting tools, resulting in impaired sales and marketing efforts. And the problem is far more severe than most people believe. In fact, according to Founder and CEO of ZoomInfo Henry Schuck, 30-50% of CRM and ERP data is inaccurate.
The worst part? That rate of decay is annual. Not only is your CRM 30% out of date (at least), but it also is decaying 30% every year.
Improve Your Data Hygiene with HubSpot Data Cleansing
Data cleaning is a set of tasks you can do regularly to remove or edit incomplete, incorrect, duplicate, or irrelevant data. It may be a little bit tedious at first, but the more you do it, the easier it will get over time.
Some of the tasks involved in a comprehensive data cleaning process include:
- Deleting incorrect data caused by human error
- Implementing standardized formats across records
- Fixing any spelling or syntax errors
- Optimizing property fields and deleting duplicate properties
- Identifying duplicate contacts and merging records
- Inputting supplementary data into empty fields
Data cleaning is more than just updating and cleaning company records for in-house purposes. Since your contacts are critical to the success of your business, the process of formatting, standardizing, and improving data quality improves the effectiveness of your customer success team, sales team, and overall marketing strategy.
Why HubSpot Data Cleaning is Critical
Data cleaning can be time-consuming, but the results are worth it. By undergoing this set of tasks regularly, you are creating a valuable resource of data with the following characteristics:
Data that is maintained regularly is more complete. By filling in empty fields, you avoid serious problems with your CRM that can lead to communication errors.
Contact information should follow standardized formats across all fields. Inconsistent records with different abbreviations and structures often result in formatting problems that can reduce the effectiveness of your campaigns.
Data is one of your most essential resources, and its power depends on its accuracy. By cleaning data periodically, you are creating a valuable resource for use in estimates, budgets, and projections that enhances decision-making and provides critical analytical insights.
Benefits of Data Cleansing
Depending on the size and scope of your business, your data can decay at an alarming rate — as high as 35% per year! That’s why it’s critical to optimize your data.
Data that is accurate, uniform, and valid gives your business significant advantages that reverberate across departments. Some of the many B2B marketing benefits you’ll experience from a regular data cleaning process include:
You’ll know your customers better.
Higher quality data helps you better understand your customers, which translates into more effective communication that speaks to their concerns, needs, and pain points.
You’ll have precision campaign segmentation.
Are you looking to maximize the ROI of your CRM and marketing tools? Clean data enhances how you interact with your customers by improving segmentation. Having a clean and reliable dataset gives you confidence in knowing where all your leads are on the customer lifecycle — that way, you can craft precision inbound marketing messaging that speaks directly to them.
You’ll maximize your HubSpot marketing investment.
When you invest in HubSpot, you definitely want to take advantage of all the features offered by accurate customer segmentation. According to a recent MailChimp study, opens in segmented campaigns were 14.31 percent higher than non-segmented campaigns. On top of that, clicks were over 100 percent higher and unsubscribes 9.37 percent lower than non-segmented campaigns.
Data cleaning is one of the keys to successful email marketing — particularly if you use specific custom properties or key fields such as additional name categories and custom fields. By delivering this level of specificity, your leads will feel like you are speaking directly to them — and that’s all thanks to the power of accurate data.
Ready to power your marketing with better quality contact data?
Cut through the clutter and maximize the ROI of your HubSpot investment.
You already know your data would be put to better use if it’s in order — so get a strong start with a complimentary HubSpot Portal Audit with one of our digital experts.
Our Easy 7-Step HubSpot Data Cleaning Process
Database cleaning varies from business to business, depending on its size and type. From our experience as a full-stack digital agency that’s worked in multiple industries, we believe the following five steps are effective for most businesses:
1. Inspect your data.
The first step in any data cleaning process is to take a hard look at your data. Is it up-to-date and valuable? Perhaps you created too many fields when you set up your forms — are they still relevant? This is an excellent time to decide what information you’d like to collect in the future, and what data should be discarded.
2. Identify what data should be cleaned.
Next, take a look at your contacts and open rates. Decide on the minimum level of engagement required to keep contacts in your database. Other items to look for include:
- Bounced addresses
- Unsubscribed contacts
HubSpot has some useful tools — like the deduplicate tool or duplicate management tool — that you can use to identify contacts you wish to delete. Next, filter contacts that have not engaged and examine properties such as the marketing email open rate or recent conversion dates. After filtering out contacts based on the most recent engagement date, you can use the removal tool to bulk delete any records you no longer need.
3. Conduct automatic data cleaning.
HubSpot has dozens of integrations that help you do some automatic data cleaning without manually reviewing records. Some contact properties you can automatically fix include:
- Name formatting & capitalization
- Abbreviation formatting (AAA, A.A.A., A A A)
- Address and phone number formatting
- Zip Code formatting
- Email formatting (lower vs. uppercase)
- Country, State, City formatting (spell out vs. abbreviated)
After you’ve completed the automated cleaning, you may want to decide if it's necessary to change how data is entered into the system - especially if you see the same common data errors over and over again. That way, you can create consistent record entries moving forward whenever new data is entered into the system.
4. Conduct a manual review of problem entries
Depending on your business, some records may need a manual review. Here are some items you can look for on your own, or with the help of HubSpot’s tools:
- Multiple branches of the same company (create different contact vs. the same contact)
- Address formatting errors for undeliverable messages
- Companies vs. personal contacts (separate if required)
- Contact segmentation correction (if required)
- False information (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org)
This step may take the most time for some databases. The good news is that periodic cleaning and optimization will keep your database clean, and each subsequent review will be shorter and less intensive.
5. Implement Naming Conventions
Setting standards for naming conventions and implementing them might be something you want to do as part of the cleanup process.
Naming conventions are essential — they make your website content, landing pages, templates, and other content assets easy to find.
Here’s a formula you can use and an example of it in action:
CATEGORY - SUBTYPE WITHIN CATEGORY - DESCRIPTION OR NAME
Offer - Ebook - Team at Work
Using naming conventions is something you’ll thank yourself for as your database grows — trust us! Plus, properly formatted names give more insight into the file. For example, “Offer - Ebook - Team at Work” provides more information about the file than something like “PDF book 3.”
Before you go any further in renaming all the files in your backend, think of every category of asset that will be in your database. Determine what the categories for each type will be and what you will call those things. Once you set this up, that will be the system you will stick to — so make sure that you’re satisfied with how you’ve established it!
6. Set workflows alerts
Workflow alerts let you know when a dataset needs attention. For example, you can create an Active list for any contact that doesn't have an assigned persona and then set a monthly email that alerts your team when these contacts need to be updated. Besides ensuring that your database tasks are up-to-date and completed, workflow alerts can also keep your periodic database cleanup to a minimum.
7. Create a schedule (and make it a challenge!)
After going through this process, you may decide to create a schedule for cleanup and maintenance on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. Keeping your data clean should be a priority, so choose wisely!
If you have a lot of data to clean, you can make it a #HubScrub challenge by cleaning once a day for a few days or weeks. If everyone pitches in and helps out, your data will be cleaned in no time!
Data is one of your most powerful assets — so get started on a solid foundation!
Data hygiene is critical to the success of your marketing campaigns. When your data is accurate, optimized, and complete, you’re better able to communicate with your customers — and what could be more important than that?
Get a strong start on your data cleansing efforts with our complimentary HubSpot Assessment. Our stellar digital strategists will audit your HubSpot portal and give you an action plan to increase your marketing efficiency, ROI, and alignment with best practices.
Ashley Quintana, M.S., B.A.
Ashley Quintana is a co-founder of BridgeRev. In her role, she develops, leads, and executes digital marketing strategies for the company’s growing client base, including a Fortune 500 subsidiary and an NBA basketball team. Ashley’s work can be found in the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Science, and she is an OKC.biz 40 Under 40 honoree for her leadership in business and community. She frequently speaks at universities, churches, and conferences on marketing, diversity, and business.