An administrator, marketer, salesperson & an MD walk into a bar⦠to discuss data quality | DMA

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An administrator, marketer, salesperson & an MD walk into a bar⦠to discuss data quality


Original article by Rich Davies

That may have sounded like the start of a joke, however nobody is laughing when it comes to missing information in CRM - it's rather frustrating really! So I have this handy little guide to help you prove to the rest of your team and company why data quality is so important.

The Problem

Each employee of a business has a role in maintaining data quality, as each employee has a stake in it. However, most of the time there is a lack of understanding in which role they play.

A great example of this is a salesperson not entering in the contact information into CRM for a contact as their reasoning is “I know Jane’s email & telephone number and I’m too busy doing closing deals to worry about CRM” – however this causes a problem for nearly everyone else:

Administrator: “I can’t get hold of Jane and her account is overdue”

Marketing: “We would love to introduce Jane to our other services but we can't”

MD: “What if the salesperson leaves… no one can ever get in contact with Jane again!”

I’m sure most people reading this fall into one of these categories and have had at least one conversation like this...

So how do convince each member of the team to pull his or her weight?

The answer is Education! Education! Education!

Without an understanding of how good quality data makes their life easier, people will not take the time to look after and care for the information.

Therefore I thought it would be worth looking at what data quality can offer each team member and what it could mean for your bottom line:


As a manager you are always looking to the past to predict the future, but if poor data is clouding your vision then only one thing can happen: bad decisions or you end up working on gut feeling alone, which can only get you so far.

So for management positions, good data can help you to achieve:


As a sales person myself I can honestly we are the biggest cause of bad data (oops!). We have the most contact with clients but forget the ramifications for the rest of the team if we do not constantly update the information.

So as a sales team, what benefits does good data bring if we keep it updated and enriched with all the information that we know?


I think I will be preaching to the converted so I'll keep this short… Benefits for marketers:

Administrator/Customer services

Some of the hardest parts of job can be made much easier and allow you to focus on the most important thing,… THE CUSTOMERS

Moving toward a culture of data quality

So what are some considerations when trying to change the culture around the office?

Legacy data

Moving toward a culture of good data is great but you cannot do that if your historical data is in a mess. You will need to look to improve it as much as possible by:

  • Standardisation
  • Normalisation
  • Formatting
  • Validation of contact data
  • De-duplication & merge

This comes under the umbrella term, data cleansing. Dependant on the size of your database you may need to employ an expert company to do this.

User experience

User experience of the CRM system is key – if people do not like it, they will not use it. Look for tools to improve it, simplify it and reduce the amount time people spend entering information. You'll see user adoptions rates rocket in no time.

Data Decay

Unfortunately, data decays at a rate between 20-25% per year (shocking, I know). It loses quality and you need to be on top of it. This may be done on campaign to campaign basis by adjusting all the bouncebacks etc; or done on monthly/weekly processes.

Key Effects

So now you have everyone is pulling in the right direction and you have the systems in place to manage the data quality, here is what you can expect:

A key thing to remember is the above cannot happen if each member of the team cannot trust the data or draw shoddy conclusions based on the information provided. As Sherlock stated “Data! Data! Data! ..... I can't make bricks without clay.”

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