How to Keep Your CRM Clean

Think you don’t have any bad data in your CRM? Think again. It’s a widespread problem and, according to Gartner research, poor data quality costs organizations an average of $12.9 million. Equally problematic? Gartner also discovered that 60% of businesses don’t know the actual costs of their bad data because they don’t measure the impact.

Bad data is any information that is outdated, inaccurate, duplicated, or formatted incorrectly. Even information that is missing from a contact’s record is considered bad data.

It’s likely that a number of people in your organization contribute to the problem—from salespeople and customer service teams who collect information by phone to marketing employees who are responsible for email marketing and SMS messages. The solution is to fix what’s incorrect and set up processes to ensure that the integrity of your data is maintained going forward.

5 Tips for Scrubbing Your Database

1. Delete or Merge Duplicate Entries 

Duplicate records get created, often. Common causes include importing a contact list without proper unique identifiers; incorrect form settings enabling existing contacts to be re-added to the CRM; and manual entry of information without first checking if it’s already in the CRM. 

A good CRM has the ability to identify duplicate contact and company records. HubSpot, for example, uses AI to find duplicates and makes merging records easy, too. Be sure to assign a person on your team who is responsible for reviewing and merging duplicates on an ongoing basis.

2. Consolidate Duplicate or Repetitive Properties

Most CRMs provide custom properties in addition to default (Name, Company Name, Phone number, etc.) properties. Sometimes users create custom properties without reviewing the default properties. This leads to employees entering data in whichever property they see first. Ideally, you should limit the number of users who are authorized to create properties.

At regular intervals, review the list of properties. If you find overlapping properties, determine which ones to remove. If they contain data, transfer the data to the property you plan to keep and remove the now-empty property.

3. Choose Your Property Format Carefully

Before creating a custom property, determine how you’ll use the data you store in it. Will you pull lists of this information for marketing purposes? Display the data in a report? Limit setting up text properties if you can create drop-down or multi-check options; this will eliminate your team manually entering data that can’t easily be filtered or tracked. 

4. Keep Your Format Consistent

Company names, job titles, dates, and addresses are a few examples of data that gets entered inconsistently. Consider these examples:




January 1, 2022


123 Candy Cane Ln


123 Candy Cane Lane

Phone Number

(555) 321-7979







Company Name


CC Marketing

CC Marketing and Communications

The challenge of inconsistencies primarily lies with sorting/filtering records for marketing and sales purposes. If you’re looking to identify all doctors in your CRM, for example, but some records have “Dr” in the Profession field and others have “Doctor,” it makes it more difficult to generate a list of contacts you want to reach.

If you have a lot of inconsistencies, your best bet is to export your data and clean it up using formulas in Excel. Cleaning up records in a CRM is usually more time-consuming.

5. Update Invalid Records

Whether you sell to businesses or consumers, keeping contact records up-to-date is critical to your organization’s success. Here are a few guidelines to follow:

  • Once an email address bounces, if you have no other way of reaching the contact, delete the record.
  • Use an email validation tool to check the accuracy of current contacts’ email addresses.
  • Use a phone validation tool for mobile and/or land lines to check the accuracy of contacts’ phone numbers.

Standardize Your Data Entry Process

Once you’re ready to maintain your now-clean database, establish clear rules for employees who are responsible for adding contacts. Which information should be required in the first conversation or Contact Us form? Is it okay to include two email addresses in the CRM? Review all the different ways a contact can get added to your CRM and ensure you have the right process in place to capture all data needed. In addition, determine who is responsible for maintaining the integrity of your data on an ongoing basis.

If your company doesn’t have the bandwidth to clean your database or establish a process for maintaining it, we can help. Please book a call to discuss your needs.