Workflow, Smartmerge, Insightly, Data, Business, CRM

7 Smart Ideas to Maintain a Clean Database

Chances are, you spent a lot of time cleaning and organizing your data before importing it to your CRM. You know that complete and accurate data is vital to your sales and marketing success. So how do you maintain a clean database? Here are 7 smart ideas to consider:

Workflow Automations for Data Integrity

Missing elements such as an email address or lead source can limit the effectiveness of your CRM. Workflow automations can help ensure that your data is complete. After adding a new entry, use Insightly to create a task reminding you to go back and fill in any missing information you may not have had initially. Making sure that your data is accurate and complete up front will prevent data problems and reporting errors later.

Use Dropdown Menus Where Possible

A clean database is largely dependent on accurate data entry. Limiting options will prevent many data errors that result from free-form entry. Decisions such as capitalization, abbreviations and even plural vs. singular can cause discrepancies in your data. Using a drop down menu eliminates these variations and ensures clean data. In addition to preventing errors, drop down menus make data entry easier, faster and most importantly, consistent.

Follow a Standard Nomenclature

Define a company-wide naming convention and ensure that all users are familiar with this standard. When users follow a standard nomenclature, each new entry will be assigned to the correct project or sales opportunity. With standard naming convention, users will know what to look for when searching for a project or opportunity, current records will be recognizable, and duplicate entries will be avoided. Following a standard nomenclature will keep your data and reporting clean and accurate.

Search Before Adding New Information

One threat to your data quality is redundancy. Before adding any new data, search to ensure that there is not a duplicate entry already in the system. When duplicates are found, data scrubbing through merging records, will help remove redundancies. Your CRM software can help with this process. Whenever you create a new record, Insightly will automatically suggest possible duplicate for your review. However, I still recommend running a manual search to ensure that each entry is unique, keeping your data clean.

Use SmartMerge

Duplicate records may have been created or updated at different times, and often contain different information. For this reason, automatically deleting redundancies is not routinely the best data scrubbing option. You can remove duplicate records from your database without losing critical information by utilizing CRM merging tools such as Insightly’s SmartMerge. Using Insightly, you can run a SmartMerge report that will display all contacts, leads, or organizations with similar data points. This report will allow you to merge exact duplicates as well as review closely matching entries to ensure that all relevant data is saved. You can further automate the data scrubbing process by setting a weekly task reminding you to search SmartMerge for new potential duplicates.

Reporting for Data Errors

The reporting functionality of your CRM can also be used for data scrubbing. Plan to regularly review your most common reports and scan the data for errors. Many of the errors you find can be corrected using the ideas above. Reports can show you where to consider adding more workflow automation, where to replace freeform entry with drop down menus, or if you need to update your company’s standard nomenclature. You may find that retraining is necessary when errors are consistently made by a particular user. Add a task in Insightly to automate regular audits of your data, reminding you to make data scrubbing a routine practice.

The Importance of Training

In addition to accurate data entry, consistency is essential to a clean database. Time spent on training users will lessen the need for data scrubbing later. Review your standard nomenclature. Teach users to recognize which data entry fields are needed when creating new records. Ensure that all team members understand when and how to update CRM records each time contact is made or tasks are performed. As everyone understands and uses consistent practices, data entry errors and thus the need for data scrubbing will be minimized.

Employing these smart ideas will help keep your data clean, ensuring that your records are complete, your reporting is accurate and your marketing and sales opportunities are effective. If you are interested in creating data clean up automations or including data scrubbing in your workflow, email me to set up a time to discuss your needs.  I would love to show you how Insightly can help you maintain and utilize a clean database.

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