Cleaning up your database is a dreaded and mundane task that almost all Salesforce Admins avoid. Data quality is tricky; you might fix a problem on a surface level, but if you don’t attack the problem at the root, you will never truly fix the problem.

At first thought, deleting data is an easy decision, right? You have a group of leads in your system with bad or unsubscribed email addresses so might as well get rid of them, right?

From a strategy perspective, this will boost performance numbers, reduce your database size to lower CRM costs, and improve your email deliverability rate—after all, those dead leads aren’t doing a thing.

Only if data deletion was so simple.

Why NOT to Delete Right Away

Every organization is different but here are some of the issues to consider when developing your data retention policy:

1. Analyze The Data

By deleting leads, you lose the ability to analyze the lead quality of past marketing programs. For example, if your latest LinkedIn Ads are producing leads, you might want to reconsider shifting your marketing spend. Maybe Joe likes his mom but you don’t want spend money acquiring leads like Joe.

2. Troubleshoot

Delete the leads outright and you lose the ability to see where the bad leads came from. You should first find out where the problem lies. For example, most companies get hit with spambot attacks at one point or another. When an attack happens, knowing which forms the spambot targeted can help your organization address the problem quickly.

3. The Lead Might Not Be Bad

An invalid lead may not be mail-able but it could be a GREAT lead. Bill Smith may have an invalid email but in most cases, Bill may have just switched jobs. Rather than toss Bill, a better alternative would be to find Bill’s new company and reach out to him there—it’s possible Bill got a promotion and is in a better position to purchase your product.

Oh yeah, what about Bill’s replacement? He now needs to make the decisions Bill used to make at his old job and might be receptive to a “Congrats on the new position” call.

4. Look Over Your Contacts

Oh, the Contacts—if your company is using Salesforce, this situation can get tricky very quickly. For example, what if that Contact has an Opportunity tied to it, can it/should it be deleted?

5. Unsubscribe Does Not Equal A Bad Lead

Someone who unsubscribes can still be a valid lead—the person just might not want to receive email from you. The person may even be a customer.

6. Identify Duplicates

People use different email addresses and varying names. How do you know which one should take precedence when deleting?

So What Should We Do? Steps to Improve Data Quality

At a high level, develop a retention policy that factors in the below. Obviously, every company is different but here are a few things to consider:

1. Disqualify Certain Leads

Rather than delete right away, set the lead to some status that Sales never sees or Marketing never engages. Keep this master list suppressed from all of your company’s email, scoring, workflow and other campaigns. This status should also be used to suppress the leads from the Sales team to reduce the “Why is hitting my queue?” questions.

By doing above, your organization can still measure the effectiveness of campaigns and troubleshoot where problem leads are coming from.

2. Clean Out The Bad Data

Using duplicate removal and prevention tools, like RingLead DMS Cleanse and Duplicate Prevention, can identify and merge all duplicate records in your CRM, and then prevent future ones from entering. Cleanse will help you streamline the data in your CRM making it more efficient and effective when it comes to your sales and marketing campaigns.

3. Develop A Strategy Around Bounces

Trash or not to trash? Understand the implications and make a conscious decision on the pros/cons. See point #3 — Maybe they aren’t bad — above.

4. Send a “Last Chance” Email

Once you’ve done all of above, send a “last chance to stay on our list” email. This email is more appropriate for aging leads with good emails but it’s worth mentioning here. Obviously, don’t mail your unsubscribers.

5. Export The Deleted Candidates

Push the Export to CSV button and save the data offline. In most cases, that file will go to file heaven and never get accessed again.

6. Push The Delete Button

Now your organization is ready to delete those bad leads. Tools like RingLead Mass Delete can help you delete hundreds of records with the click of a button and features filters to help users identify subsets of data intended for deletion.

7. Enrich The Data

You can use Enrichment tools, like RingLead DMS Enrichment to append over 100 different missing contact and firmographic data points on any lead in your CRM in real-time to give you the most accurate and up to date information so you can engage with prospects at the right time.

As mentioned above, data quality can be difficult. But, with RingLead’s cloud-based Data Management Solutions, you can automate your data management in minutes fueling revenue growth through clean, standardized, and enriched data.

Watch RingLead DMS in action by scheduling a demo now!

Based off RevEngine Marketing Blog.

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