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7 top tips for data cleansing

1. Start at the beginning
Data cleansing starts at the point of entry. Inaccurately entered data affects quality and will result in the expense of cleansing later on. So ensure your data is entered correctly at the beginning.

2. Calculate the cost
It’s estimated that 30% of B2B data is out of date within 12 months*. That means 30% of your direct marketing could be missing the target and wasted.

Calculate 30% of your direct marketing budget – that’s the potential figure wasted due to unclean data. Perhaps it’s also the figure you should be spending on data cleansing?

3. Ignore recently contacted data
You may not need to clean your entire database. If you recently contacted a segment of it you can assume it is already up to date. Concentrate your efforts on data that has not been contacted recently or that has not responded.

4. Cleanse data close to action date
B2B data can go out of date quickly, so there is little point in cleansing 12 months before it is due to be used. Cleanse close to the date of use, but ensure you have the resources to do it on time. On average, one person can cleanse 30-60 records per day using telemarketing to confirm the details.

5. Ping emails
Checking if an email address is still ‘active’ is a great way to highlight data that may need attention. But you don’t have to go to the expense of paying for an email campaign. There are tools that will ping email addresses to validate them. If the email comes back as invalid you can concentrate your effort (and limited budget) on correcting that data.

6. We are all LinkedIn
There are also tools available that will tell you if one of your connections on LinkedIn has updated their position. Tools, such as JobChangeNotifier, will email you if there is a change. A great way to ensure you stay on top of changes to your key contacts, such as a new job title or a move to a new company.

7. CTPS check
In addition to being a legal requirement, checking your B2B data against the CTPS register makes good data cleansing sense. The CTPS register contains the telephone numbers of companies that have requested not to receive any sales calls.

Cleansing your data against the list means you do not waste your valuable marketing budget contacting companies that are less likely to respond.

8. Bonus tip
Telemarketing is by far the best tool for accurate data cleansing. An undelivered email may not tell you if an executive has changed their name or who replaced them if they have left. A mail shot that is returned to sender may not tell you where the company has moved to, or if it’s only the executive that has moved on.

Telemarketing can be more revealing. Interviewers can elicit more complete and substantive answers, as well as ask for clarification and elaboration on responses. In short, it delivers better quality data.