CRM Hygiene: Why It Matters + 4 Best Practices (2024)

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What is CRM Hygiene?

CRM hygiene is the practice of maintaining clean, accurate, and up-to-date data in your CRM. Whether you use Salesforce, HubSpot CRM, or otherwise, the objective remains the same: keep a constant flow of fresh, error-free data across your CRM system.

Without good data hygiene, your CRM platform can easily become cluttered with bad data.

But what separates good data from bad?

Well, clean CRM data is when customer information is current, consistent, and relevant.

Bad or “dirty” data looks like duplicate records, outdated contact info, missing data fields, etc. Poor data hygiene tends to result in poor data quality, which — if left unclean — can disrupt the entire sales process.

Data Hygiene vs Data Quality

Although related, data hygiene and data quality are distinct concepts.

The main difference is this:

  • Data hygiene is the process of data cleaning by eliminating duplicate records, fixing errors, and ensuring consistency.
  • Data quality refers to the state of your data (contact information like email addresses, phone numbers, customer details, etc.) — whether it’s accurate, complete, and up-to-date.

Essentially, data quality usually reflects the quality of your data hygiene practices.

And in today’s data-driven sales landscape, good data hygiene practices are vital for a sales team, account executive, or revenue operations team. Essentially, they’re important for any role that involves significant interaction with a CRM system.

Let’s dive deeper into why.

Why Good CRM Data Hygiene Is Essential for a Successful Sales Process

Dirty data can lead to unreliable forecasts, stalled deals, and extended sales cycles — all posing significant risks to your business.

For these reasons, clean CRM data is essential. A clean CRM helps you:

  • Tackle Data Decay: Over time, contact information in CRMs naturally decays as people change jobs or locations. Therefore, regular data cleaning is essential for preserving its quality and ensuring its usefulness.
  • Enhance Sales Productivity: Reliable and accurate customer information enables sales reps to dedicate more time to selling rather than sifting through and fixing incorrect or outdated entries.
  • Improve Sales Forecasting Accuracy: Reliable and accurate data enables precise planning and resource allocation, helping you predict sales trends and customer behaviors accurately.
  • Optimize Revenue Operations: Clean data is a key pillar of revenue operations. It ensures that operational processes from lead generation to deal closure are smooth and error-free, aiding RevOps in making strategic decisions and optimizing processes and tools to support the sales team.
  • Perfect Sales Engagement & Marketing Efforts: Ensuring that sales and marketing teams operate on the same information is vital for crafting personalized and relevant customer interactions. Better-targeted marketing campaigns and messaging significantly increase the likelihood of repeat business.
  • Maintain Sales Process Compliance: RevOps and sales leaders enforce sales compliance to make data easier to evaluate and compare across individuals, teams, and regions. Good CRM data cleansing practices aid these efforts by ensuring consistency throughout the sales process.
  • Ensure Compliance and Data Security: Proper data cleansing is essential for compliance with data governance policies, such as GDPR. It minimizes the risk of penalties for non-compliance and protects against potential data breaches.

Without a proactive approach, your CRM database can quickly become outdated, creating an environment where strategic decisions are based on faulty information.

As errors accumulate, the task of cleaning bad data becomes more daunting, pulling resources away from core sales activities.

But before we address the symptoms, let’s first examine the root causes of dirty data.

5 Common Causes of Dirty Data in CRMs

If sales managers are constantly having ineffective 1:1s with their reps due to missing Salesforce data, your CRM’s hygiene might not be up to snuff.

This lack of visibility into the sales pipeline can lead to inaccurate forecasts, prolonged reporting times, and worsening conversion rates. These issues often stem from three main types of errors: inaccurate, incomplete, or duplicate data.

Here are a few potential causes behind these issues:

  • Manual Data Entry Errors: Human error is inevitable when a sales rep enters information manually. Mistakes can include partial names or phone numbers, misspelled words, miskeyed home or email addresses, and missing data fields.
  • Lack of Synchronization Across Tools: Discrepancies in data synchronization across different tools can create inconsistencies, especially when tools aren’t connected to Salesforce, leading to data silos and fragmented information.
  • User Resistance: CRMs can feel more like a chore than a useful tool if they aren’t user-friendly or don’t add visible value, and reams may favor easier-to-use, non-integrated tools for data input. This can diminish CRM usability and exacerbate synchronization issues.
  • Standardization Issues: Without standardized information entry practices via established sales processes and methodologies, your CRM’s hygiene can become inconsistent and chaotic, with various formats and abbreviations that aren’t universally understandable.
  • Lack of Routine Updates: Failing to update your CRM regularly to reflect changes like job transitions or company moves leads to stale, outdated information.

These challenges may seem daunting, but they’re not insurmountable.

We’ll walk you through how to tackle these issues head-on.

How to Keep Your CRM Data Clean in 4 Simple Steps

One mistake is all it takes to compromise data quality. Regular, accurate data entry is crucial, requiring cross-departmental commitment to maintain data integrity.

As such, you must establish a blueprint that the whole team can follow.

Here are four practical steps to tidy up your CRM data hygiene:

1. Establish Clear Guidelines and Constraints

Do your CRM records look a bit chaotic?

Inconsistent formatting and ambiguous data entry practices are common pitfalls. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details, and poor data hygiene can arise from seemingly minor inconsistencies, such as:

  • “Mr.” vs. “Mr”
  • “U.S.” vs. “US”
  • “St.” vs. “Street”

To address these issues, standardize formatting and introduce clear guidelines for abbreviations, capitalization, required fields, and so on. This step prevents errors before they start, making your CRM easier to manage and navigate.

Field validation automations are particularly useful when customers input their own data via web forms, which can drastically reduce the time a sales rep spends on manual CRM data cleaning.

However, it’s not a catch-all solution. Even exhaustive validation rules won’t cover every possible data-entry scenario, making manual oversight critical.

2. Conduct Regular Data Audits

It’s not just about cleaning data but ensuring its ongoing cleanliness.

Standards can slip if you aren’t assessing the health of your CRM database often enough. Regular audits will help you catch errors and ensure good data that supports rather than hinders your business processes. 

Set up a systematic process for reviewing CRM data routinely. Identify and eliminate inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and redundant or unnecessary fields to consistently improve accuracy and maintain data integrity.

3. Ensure Timely Data Updates

Put simply, ensuring clean data boils down to two main things:

  • Capture it quickly
  • Update it regularly

To stay ahead of changes in contact information, prioritize timely updates to make sure it remains current, accurate, and relevant over time.

Implement automated tools and processes, where possible, to streamline data entry and data enrichment. Many CRMs have built-in capabilities to automate data capture, helping sales teams minimize the drawbacks of time-consuming and error-prone manual data entry.

However, remember that automations aren’t infallible. Human oversight is crucial to catch errors automated systems might miss and handle unique data scenarios effectively.

Furthermore, due to their complexity, some CRM systems increase the risk of unclean data — more on that later.

4. Foster Transparency and Collaboration

It’s common for departments like sales and marketing to develop their own language. After all, how a sales team talks about customer data will likely differ from that of a marketing or customer success team.

However, while these data silos might appear harmless at first glance, they can create significant barriers to information sharing and cross-functional collaboration.

To break down these barriers, guarantee everyone is on the same page with every CRM best practice. Standardize CRM usage, onboarding and training processes, and data management practices for all teams.

Unfortunately, the complexity of traditional CRM systems often makes it more difficult to consolidate data rather than less.

Let’s dive into how disjointed systems wreak havoc on CRM data hygiene and what you can do about it.

How “Franken-Stacks” Result in Poor CRM Data Hygiene

As CRMs like Salesforce grow increasingly complex, revenue teams often resort to simpler, more familiar tools such as spreadsheets and note apps.

However, juggling multiple tools that often don’t communicate well with one another can fragment data and severely complicate its management. This issue is exacerbated when organizations have more than one CRM platform.

According to Salesforce, around 1 in 3 companies use multiple CRMs, one for each department. This creates a ‘Franken-Stack’ — a cluttered and inefficient system composed of disparate solutions.

Such an unwieldy tech infrastructure is unmanageable, resulting in data silos, fragmentation, dirty data, and, ultimately, the loss of valuable customer data.

So what’s the solution?

A unified workspace that integrates with Salesforce, providing instant access across your entire tech stack.

Luckily, Scratchpad is just what you need!

Boost CRM Hygiene with Scratchpad for Ongoing Sales Success

Ready to see your CRM data in a new light?

Improve your CRM’s hygiene effortlessly with Scratchpad, the AI-powered Salesforce add-on that streamlines workflows and simplifies every CRM interaction.

Scratchpad provides a lightning-fast experience, allowing you to make quick updates, manage pipelines, and inspect deals with unparalleled ease.

Forget about stale spreadsheets and cumbersome data management tools. Scratchpad integrates directly into your workflow, offering instant visibility and control over your sales process.

Spot gaps in your pipeline and understand changes in real-time to ensure your data is always accurate and up-to-date.

Let’s dive deeper:

  • Transcribe sales calls using Scratchpad’s AI Sales Assistant, which features intelligent note-taking and can automatically update required Salesforce data fields for you.
  • Enhance CRM updates with advanced views that simplify actions to any field or object in Salesforce.
  • Construct workflow tiles to provide direct shortcuts to crucial data.
  • Pinpoint discrepancies in your sales pipeline with focused deal spotlights, receive alerts for missing fields, and confirm alignment of your deals with projected close dates and forecasts.
  • Integrate your Salesforce activities with your notes, allowing for easy editing, sharing, and template creation that automatically syncs to your CRM.
  • Stay on top of every task with Slack automations, transforming complex processes into one-click actions — no coding required.
  • Access Salesforce anywhere with Scratchpad Command so reps can update data and manage tasks effortlessly from any web app — just hit Command+J.

Master CRM Data Cleansing Practices to Enhance Sales Efficiency

Maintaining your CRM’s hygiene isn’t a one-time task but an ongoing commitment.

It’s about ensuring your CRM remains a reliable foundation for informed decision-making and robust customer relationships.

By implementing regular audits, enforcing standardized data entry practices, and leveraging automation, organizations can tackle dirty data issues with precision.

But if you often find your CRM cluttered and difficult to navigate, it may be time to reevaluate the tools you’re using.

Consider Scratchpad, the solution that makes CRM data cleaning simpler and more intuitive.

Ready to clean up?

Try Scratchpad for free now to identify pipeline discrepancies, streamline CRM updates, and ensure reliable and accurate data.