Business News Daily receives compensation from some of the companies listed on this page. Editorial Guidelines.
BND Hamburger Icon

MENU

Close
BND Logo
Search Icon
Advertising Disclosure
Close
Advertising Disclosure

Business News Daily provides resources, advice and product reviews to drive business growth. Our mission is to equip business owners with the knowledge and confidence to make informed decisions. As part of that, we recommend products and services for their success.

We collaborate with business-to-business vendors, connecting them with potential buyers. In some cases, we earn commissions when sales are made through our referrals. These financial relationships support our content but do not dictate our recommendations. Our editorial team independently evaluates products based on thousands of hours of research. We are committed to providing trustworthy advice for businesses. Learn more about our full process and see who our partners are here.

Updated Apr 19, 2024

The Importance of Maintaining Clean Data

Streamlining data and data creation helps lower business costs, boost productivity and strengthen customer relationships.

author image
Hannah Tayson, Contributing Writer
Verified Check With BorderEditor Reviewed
Verified Check With Border
Editor Reviewed
Close
This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.

Table of Contents

Open row

As a small business, you likely generate extensive data with every customer. Ideally, this data should inform trends, future prospects and workflows. However, the reports you generate from this data are only as good as the data’s accuracy and management.

By investing in data management processes and tools, including top-notch CRM software, you’ll make your data work more efficiently and save your business time and money. We’ll explain the importance of excellent data management and share tips for maintaining clean data and boosting productivity.

Editor’s note: Looking for the right CRM solution for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

What is data management?

Data management is the process of collecting, securing, and organizing data for enhanced efficiency and productivity. Current, well-organized data helps businesses make better decisions, improving outcomes for organizations and customers.

An efficient data management system doesn’t have to be expensive. However, this minimal investment of time and resources can turn your data into an asset instead of a disjointed trove of inaccessible knowledge.

Why is data management important?

Analyzing sales data yields valuable insights and helps businesses find trends, identify marketing avenues, and develop workflow remedies. However, finding these insights is nearly impossible when your customer and sales data are a mess. Additionally, inaccurate data can be costly in terms of time and money.

Up-to-date, organized data is crucial for the following reasons:

1. Organized data helps you avoid costly data quality incidents.

Accurate, organized data is critical because bad data is extremely costly.

According to Gartner, poor data quality costs businesses an average of nearly $13 million annually, and many organizations are entirely unaware of the true impact. Perhaps even more concerning, the negative repercussions of bad data — such as acting on incorrect insights — get worse over time as the problem lies undiscovered.

Additionally, according to Wakefield’s 2023 State of Data Quality report, poor data quality led to data downtime nearly doubling in the last year, largely because of a 166 percent increase in the time it took to resolve data quality issues. The survey’s respondents said bad data impacted 

31 percent of revenue. Organizations also pay the price of bad data in losing consumer trust: 74 percent of respondents said consumers were the ones to identify bad data issues “all or most of the time.”

The situation is even worse when you factor in the lost productivity incurred when team members must correct data errors or double-check untrustworthy data sources.

A 2023 Revefi survey found more concerns. The company ​​surveyed 300 IT and data analytics professionals who revealed that they deal with anywhere from 11 to 100 data quality incidents monthly. And 43 percent noted that it can take up to 48 hours to address and rectify bad data incidents, even though 57 percent say they’ve watched poor data quality lead to bad decision-making.

2. Organized data improves lead generation and conversion.

Accurate data is a valuable tool for lead generation and qualifying sales leads. However, bad data can make any sales analysis outcome difficult to trust. Inaccurate data prompts sales teams, analysts and managers to rely on arbitrary benchmarks when finding prospective customers.

In a survey conducted by SnapLogic, 77 percent of decision-makers and data managers said they do not trust their business’s data, while 82 percent said they had to modify projects due to inadequate data quality. A clean database can mitigate the guesswork and inform marketing and sales strategies to generate more efficient leads and reach new customers more seamlessly.

3. Organized data fuels better customer relations.

When a customer is upset because a product was delivered to the wrong address or becomes frustrated at having to provide sensitive information more than once, it can hurt your business.

Misguided marketing strategies based on inadequate data can lead to irrelevant or incorrect customer communications, negatively affecting your relationship with them and costing your business money. However, accurate, well-managed data can help you better manage customer relationships and improve outcomes.

Did You Know?Did you know
Most businesses collect data to improve the customer experience and refine their marketing strategies, but adhering to data and consumer privacy regulations is critical.

How to manage your data and maintain a clean database

A database riddled with issues can seem daunting. However, you can adopt strategies and best practices to clean your existing data and keep new data organized and efficient.

1. Get departments on the same page.

Too often, there’s a data disconnect between various departments in an organization, leading to lowered productivity and efficiency. One of the easiest ways to improve data management is to ensure all areas within your business understand how specific data sets should be used.

For example, helping all data managers understand how the sales team intends to use the information can better inform the process from the beginning stages. This communication and synergy mitigates irrelevant data and facilitates overall trust in data reporting and analysis.

2. Focus on new data creation.

While it might be tempting to go through existing data to fix errors, this approach doesn’t ultimately add value to your business and will only cost you time and money. It also fails to address the root causes of incorrect and mismanaged data and won’t help you improve processes moving forward.

Implementing processes for new information that the whole company follows makes data improvement much easier in the long run. By analyzing the root causes of existing bad data, you can find ways to better input information relevant to your sales and analytic goals.

3. Adopt CRM software and automated workflows.

Many businesses use content management systems or basic contact management software to organize customer data in a searchable system. However, customer relationship management (CRM) software is a more robust, cost-effective and efficient option. CRM platforms track lead, prospect and customer data while providing business tools that enhance numerous aspects of your operation. For example, you can:

All these functions and more ensure accurate, centralized data that every department can access to better nurture leads and serve customers.

AI-fueled automation is one of the most potent CRM platform functions. Consider the following  popular automated tools featured in most CRM software:

Tool type

Description

Robotic process automation (RPA)

Automates repetitive and routine tasks by imitating human interaction at high speeds

Machine learning

Provides patterns and trends by holistically examining customer data

Smart workflow

Manages the integration of tasks performed by both humans and machines and provides statistical data on process inefficiencies

Natural language processing

Translates complicated data into understandable formats for reporting

Cognitive agents

Virtual agents that learn from data to provide customer service or employee support

TipTip
When creating a sales plan for your organization, include a customizable CRM to help track your sales team's performance and delegate tasks, leads, and responsibilities appropriately.

The best CRMs for data management

Of course, CRM and automation tools are not magical remedies for bad data. However, the best CRM software platforms can help ensure data accuracy and organization in the future and boost your business’s productivity and profits.

Here are a few top-notch CRMs to consider:

  • Salesforce CRM: Salesforce CRM is an excellent option for businesses of all sizes that need a centralized data hub for teams from various departments. Centralized data storage ensures accuracy and helps teams develop effective sales strategies for leads and customers no matter where they are in the sales pipeline. Our Salesforce CRM review explains how this platform’s AI tools trigger time-saving automations and create personalized AI-generated content for sales and service teams.
  • monday Sales CRM: monday Sales CRM can help you simplify complex processes and project management throughout your organization. It can help sales and marketing teams monitor customer data and oversee processes via simple-to-create customized automations, reducing the need for repetitive tasks and manual effort. Our monday Sales CRM review explains this platform’s ​​time-saving and organizational capabilities that can boost your operation’s efficiency.
  • NetSuite CRM: NetSuite is a robust platform with CRM, ERP, accounting and e-commerce tools that help centralize customer activities and data. Read our NetSuite CRM review to learn about its numerous advanced features and customizable tools, which provide sales and service teams with the real-time data and insights they need to boost sales and personalize support.
  • Zoho CRM: With extensive conferencing integrations, Zoho CRM is an excellent choice for businesses with remote and hybrid teams. Its user-friendly platform centralizes data and makes it accessible for in-office and remote employees alike. We like that users can customize a CRM dashboard with data visualizations specific to their roles. Our Zoho CRM review highlights the platform’s AI tools, which can help sales teams qualify leads accurately and pinpoint the most promising potential customers.
  • Zendesk: Zendesk is an exceptional sales-focused, data-driven CRM with unique tools for lead generation, engagement, communication and more. Its prospecting and enrichment “credits” allow businesses to access valuable lead data like company size, contact info and market capitalization. Read our Zendesk review to learn how you can integrate Zendesk’s CRM with Zendesk Suite to connect customer service interaction data directly to the CRM and provide deeper insights for all departments.

Choosing the right CRM

Here are some quick tips to help you choose the right CRM for your business needs:

  • Get the sales team’s buy-in for CRM software before investing in a solution. They will be the primary users and must feel comfortable with the platform.
  • Ensure any platform you choose has important CRM features like contact management, CRM workflows, customizability and the ability to eliminate package features you don’t need.
  • Implement your CRM thoughtfully by setting realistic goals, forecasting its likely benefits, and carefully cleaning and migrating your data.

Beat back bad data

Bad, unorganized and inadequate data can significantly impact your business operations. However, managing your data with powerful tools like CRM software can help you increase efficiency, productivity and profits. Getting departments on the same page, focusing on new data creation and implementing the right platform go a long way toward turning your data into an asset you can use to save time and money, pursue sales prospects, and improve customer relations.

Elizabeth Crumbly contributed to this article.

author image
Hannah Tayson, Contributing Writer
Hannah Tayson is a communications professional with over 6 years of experience working in nonprofit and business-facing organizations. In her roles, she has primarily worked with CRM systems, digital marketing platforms, copy-editing and public policy. She also has a background in journalism as a foreign correspondent and news editor.
Back to top
Desktop background imageMobile background image
In partnership with BDCBND presents the b. newsletter:

Building Better Businesses

Insights on business strategy and culture, right to your inbox.
Part of the business.com network.