Most people upload lists without thinking twice about data quality. Lists can be acquired from an event, online form, purchasing a list from third party vendor or in other ways. Most of the time, you would just upload the list to your Marketing Automation Tool such as Marketo, Hubspot or Eloqua, or directly into your CRM. However, by doing so you maybe saving time upfront but creating issues down the line. Here are some steps to take prior to uploading your list:

  1. Check for Duplicates – Duplicates can mean the same email address found twice in your list but it can also mean a duplicate based on other criteria such as duplicate company, same individual with two different email addresses and so on. Most systems will catch a duplicate email address but very few will be able to match on company name, last name and so on. Prior to uploading the list, duplicates should be removed. You can use a de-duping tool to do so or simply highlight duplicates using excel if you want to de-dupe based on email address only.
  2. Check the format – Format should be checked to make sure it is consistent with your CRM. Things to confirm:
    • Dates are they written as MM-DD-YYYY or DD/MM/YY.
    • All Caps formats. Certain data sometimes is written in all CAPS or without proper formatting, this can make it difficult to match if your system is case sensitive.
    • Standardized Fields. There are certain fields in your CRM  that maybe standardized. Example includes: State, Country names, Industry and so on. If you have an internal system that can classify and make sure the format matches then you can skip this step. However, if you lack such processes it is advisable to update your list prior to upload.
    • Currency. If you are a global organization with global data make sure that the data that is coming in includes the correct currency.
    • Special Characters. Depending on file types, systems and languages your file may become corrupt and miss out on special characters.
    • Zip Codes: It is easy for zip codes starting with 0 to be converted to a number and instead of 5 digits have 3 or 4 only. This happens if you open your file in excel and excel treats your Zip column as numeric and not text. It is advisable to check your zip codes prior to uploading.
  3. Missing Data – When getting data it is not unusual to have missing data. While it is impossible to expect 100% data completeness in all your incoming data it is important to have the mandatory fields completed. For example, if your business requires phone numbers or email address to contact the person and your list is missing it you have two choices either ignore those rows or using third party data appending sources to add the missing information. While, it can be expensive doing it prior to upload will save you time and money down the line.

This is a simple checklist to follow anytime new data is either uploaded or automatically added to your CRM or Marketing Automation Tool. If you are looking for a data cleaning solution for your historical data, feel free to contact StrategicDB, a full service data cleansing company.