Back in April, Sharon Klardie wrote about the role of a Salesforce user in Data Stewardship and how we are all accountable for protecting the quality of our data. As marketing becomes more sophisticated with the onslaught of available data on our prospects and our customers, it is critical that the information you think you know about someone is in fact, accurate.

After reading Sharon’s open call to arms in defense of clean data everywhere, I couldn’t help but think the scene in Jerry Maguire where he begs Rod Tidwell to “Help me, help you!”

We all have a role and common goal of clean data and marketing is no different. So how can marketers help themselves?

Curate accurate customer profiles

Don’t take shortcuts. There will always be some required fields that must be filled in to build a customer’s profile. Don’t fudge these in the interest of saving time. Almost every study known to man shows that it’s more expensive to acquire than retain customers, so why not spend the extra few seconds to get it right and build trust with your customer with accurate data? I am not impressed by companies that can’t get my information right. Do you have any friends that don’t know your name or what’s important you? Me neither. As shared in the Dark Knight, pay attention to the details.

Collaborate with sales and your system administrators

Talk to sales and your system admins about the most important information. One of the biggest complaints I have heard over the years is that sales doesn’t trust the leads coming from marketing, or that marketing is upset because sales doesn’t take advantage of the information given to them. Most of the time it’s because these groups work in a vacuum and each have a different point of view as to what data is important. Rather than go back and forth about who’s right, these two teams (and any others involved) should come together to define uniform profiles for each customer segment so that no matter where the customer is in their journey, everyone has a clear and consistent view of their profile. Work with your system administrator(s) to apply this harmonious view to your configuration and improve the way you manage customer information.

Evaluate your customer profile(s) regularly

Today’s customer has more information and distractions than ever before. It’s vital that you adapt to the constantly-changing landscape by setting up periodical checkpoints to measure the health of the information you have. This builds on the previous points. How complete is your data set? Are you populating every field? If not, then review the relevance of the sparsely populated and decide whether it’s needed. Of the data you do have, how accurate is it? The quality of some data is easier than others to measure. Data such as postal/zip codes and state/province have predictable values (where applicable), while the phone number and email require specific formats to be useful. As a marketer, you own the relationship and how best to get in touch with someone. Your admins might be enforcing the wrong data elements because they don’t know which elements are more or less important than before. Meet regularly (even if it’s annually) to make sure everyone is still on the same page.

Marketers, help your admins, help you. Take an active role in data stewardship. Your customers will thank you, and will stay with you for it.

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