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Data Hygiene for Your CRM
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Data Hygiene for Your CRM

Data is your organization’s most valuable asset, so it should follow that data hygiene is paramount to your success.  Data hygiene allows you to optimize the engagement and relationships you have with your constituents. Here are some of our tips and advice to make sure that your CRM remains an invaluable window into the hearts and minds of your constituents.

ROI Solutions | Revolution CRM
ROI Solutions | Unite Analytics
ROI Solutions | Ignite Marketing
ROI Solutions | MiLo Intelligence
Data Hygiene for your CRM

Data Quality Assessment


About 27% of business leaders aren’t sure how much of their data is accurate.

How clean is your data today?
The first step in thinking about data hygiene is evaluating the current quality of your data. Your CRM company should help your organization identify incorrect or incomplete data by providing you with a comprehensive review of your organization’s data. At ROI Solutions, we summarize and prioritize our clients’ data issues and then discuss the best mechanism, whether as a revision to a business process or as a workflow, through prescriptive client-specific programming to fix the root cause of the issue.

It is also a perfect time to think about other data you could leverage to enhance your knowledge about your constituents. Your CRM company should be able to recommend opportunities to further augment your data for the best use by your organization. Here are some common problems that we have witnessed over the years in data management and some recommendations to address and rectify them.
Data Hygiene for Your CRM

Incorrect Address

The USPS estimates that approximately 14% of the population moves every year. Some organizations with large direct mail-driven programs estimate that they lose tens of thousands of dollars per mailing in undeliverable mail.

The USPS graciously returns the Undeliverable Address mail complete with a Return to Sender a yellow sticker. Still, few organizations go through the manual effort to update addresses based on those. Concierge-level caging and cashier vendors offer services to manually key address changes, but this can be an expensive exercise.

The Solution
Regular National Change of Address (NCOA) and Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) certification services can ensure that your direct mail finds the right home. ROI Solutions offers its clients both 48-month NCOA services and CASS services. At ROI Solutions, we always recommend that our clients run their NCOA process on their entire file annually and at least out as far as they generally mail (e.g., 0-48 months, 0-60 months) on at least a quarterly basis.

At ROI Solutions, we also can automate the selection criteria, the output of data, and matching overwrite logic to make the process more automated and turnkey. A regular NCOA/CASS process that works within your communications schedule will ensure that you maximize your direct mail deliverability.

ROI Solutions | Revolution CRM
ROI Solutions | Unite Analytics
ROI Solutions | Ignite Marketing
ROI Solutions | MiLo Intelligence
Data Hygiene for your CRM

Partial, Incomplete, or Incorrect Data

Another challenge stems from incomplete or partial data on constituent records. This can take the form of partial names, addresses, email addresses, and other data points that were either entered erroneously by your constituent or during manually keying. This is often caused by data you receive via integration with third parties or web forms that are incorrectly or only partially completed.

The Solution

Step 1
The first step is to identify the constituent records for which you might have only partial data. Revolution Online provides a suite of tools and scripts to identify many common problems, including Capitalization Problems, Missing Contact Names, Missing Street / City / State / Zipcode, Duplicated Relationships, and many others. If your organization has a unique issue that you are experiencing, contact your Account Management Team. We can help unpack the problem and recommend client-specific programming to help you resolve it.

Step 2
The second step is determining if they originate from a common source (like a web form) and determining how valuable the interaction of that constituent is to your organization. Here we recommend strategic consultation with your CRM company to determine what is best for your organization to review your data entry protocols and integration points and proactively mitigate any potential problem areas. Careful consideration must be paid to the following questions.

Despite the looming potential of enrichment and cleansing systems, less than half (46%) of sales professionals use tools to automatically enrich, append, clean, or de-dupe leads before they are entered into databases.

At ROI Solutions, we work with our clients to help determine the value of the data captured via any channel. Then we help our clients decide whether they should further round out their constituent information by soliciting self-reported information through direct follow-up or by augmenting that data with the assistance of a demographic data compiler.

At ROI Solutions, we have developed turnkey relationships with several vendors that provide demographic enhancements, wealth and liquidity screening, congressional districting data, as well as email and phone appends and verification services. These relationships allow us to provide our clients with discounted pricing based on our collective client volume. Based on the use case, your CRM company should help you identify a partner that can help fill in the blanks to round out your constituent view. Your CRM company and partner should be updating your data through email appends and verification, phone appends and verification, demographic enhancements, wealth and liquidity profiles, and other valuable information.

Data Hygiene for your CRM


10% of your database is most likely duplicates. If you are counting on a 5% conversion rate from your marketing efforts, remember to account for duplicates or identify and remove them with ROI SOLUTIONS.

The single most significant source of frustration (not to mention cost and revenue implications) for nonprofit organizations is when they realize that they have a high rate of constituent duplication. We have seen some organizations during the conversion process from other applications into our Revolution Online CRM have as high as a 10+% rate of duplication. The reasons for duplication vary from organization to organization: from loose data entry controls to online form entry, to other originating sources of inbound data, and the list goes on.

This issue can be further exacerbated by multiple applications in their ecosystem that are loosely (or not at all) integrated for most organizations. In other words, your organization might have more duplicates than you even realize. Data duplication ends up costing your organization time, money, and perhaps most importantly, knowledge about your constituent’s 360-degree involvement and interaction with the organization.

The Solution
Your CRM should provide duplicate detection tools within the application to run ad-hoc or scheduled dupe suspect reports. In ROI Solutions’ Revolution Online CRM, we provide easy-to-use suspected duplicate listings. Our clients review these listings on a monthly basis at a minimum and dedicate resources to evaluate potential duplications and administer those changes.

The outputs are created with industry-standard algorithms using the full and partial name, address, and email information to determine which records are potentially duplicated. These listings output suspected dupes in a convenient listing that can be manually merged or marked as non-dupes within the application. While these tools can identify and help manually address duplication, enterprise-size organizations usually do not have the human resource capacity to dedicate to manually rectifying duplicates.  

Large organizations need to implement automated scripts within their CRM to automatically address de-duplication. At ROI Solutions, we provide our clients with a standard, time-tested baseline matching algorithm. The matching logic that governs manual exception handling tolerances can then be tightened or loosened based on their client’s need and capacity (or desire) for manual reconciliation.

ROI Solutions also works with our clients when integrating any other third-party tools within their ecosystem. Here too, we provide baseline matching logic which can be dialed up or down to accommodate and automate the capture of inbound data flows to minimize duplication. A pending queue is created for manual exception handling. Clients routinely review this list to handle any data requests that fall outside of their matching tolerance automatically. 

ROI Solutions’ dedicated Account Management teams routinely monitor our clients’ pending queues to ensure that request volumes are manageable and regularly administered.

For any automated process for ROI Solutions’ clients, the logic behind that programming conveniently lives in the Business Rules folder in the application.
If you need more details to understand or update the matching logic of your de-duplication script, open and view the historical and iterative document. The document precisely details what is happening with your data.

Data Hygiene for your CRM

The Bottom Line

The very foundation of your organization’s fundraising and communications strategy is your CRM and the data maintained therein. You need to ensure that you are not only capturing but evaluating and curating your constituent data on a routine and regular basis – and at ROI Solutions, we are here to help you do just that.


B2B data decays at a rate of 70% per year. Take a moment to pause and consider the implications. This means that sales and marketing professionals who are remiss in updating their customer systems of record are sending the wrong message to the wrong contact in 7 out of 10 cases.

Every organization should have a data hygiene plan of action. Your data hygiene plan will be unique to your organization.

Top 4 Considerations to Start Building Your Hygiene Plan of Action:

  1. What outbound and inbound communication channels do
    you use?
  2. What pertinent information do you need to capture and communicate effectively with your constituents?
  3. How much staff time can you allocate to ongoing
    clean-up efforts?
  4. How do you engage your CRM company’s resources to help identify problem areas and automate processes to identify and rectify them?

Remember that the work you do today on data hygiene can positively impact your organization’s bottom line in cost savings now and in the future. You need to be confident that the information you have about your constituents is up-to-date and that you understand the true 360-degree view of their interactions with your organization. The plan you and your CRM company enable together and adhere to will ensure that your CRM stays healthy and clean and empowers you to maximize your organization’s marketing efforts.

Now, back to cleaning the shelves, organizing the closet, and managing those relevant and valuable customer relationships.

ROI Solutions
ROI Solutions

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ROI Solutions empowers nonprofits’ one-on-one communication strategy so your organization can reach the right people at the right time with the right ask through the right channel.  We know your organization works hard to make the world a better place, and ROI Solutions is here by your side to help you achieve your mission.  We are on your team.

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Design, optimize, and automate your constituent journey across all channels.
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Machine learning models built and nurtured by data and fundraising experts.
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