Driving Data Accuracy: How to Assess, Plan, and Standardize Your Data

SmallBizCRM Staff – July 8th, 2024



Maintaining data quality is crucial for organizations aiming to make informed decisions and achieve operational excellence, especially when managing CRM data. Poor data quality can lead to inefficiencies, financial losses, and strategic missteps. This blog explores the essential processes of assessing, planning, and maintaining data quality, enabling organizations to leverage their CRM data assets fully.

Data assessment is the foundational step in understanding the extent of inaccurate data within an organization. It addresses critical questions, such as identifying problematic data sources, quantifying costs in terms of wasted resources and revenue losses, and analyzing where current data management processes may have faltered.

Erroneous financial data can have swift and severe consequences, more so than outdated client contact information. Thus, prioritizing data cleanup efforts based on their potential impact is paramount.

Deciding between manual and automated data cleaning methods depends on budget constraints and desired outcomes. Automated tools handle large datasets efficiently but may not catch nuanced errors, whereas manual cleaning ensures meticulous accuracy but can be resource-intensive.

An effective strategy often blends both approaches: leveraging automated tools for initial data scrubbing and augmentation, followed by manual interventions to refine and validate data integrity.

Establishing a Data Quality Standards Manual is pivotal in sustaining high data quality standards. This manual outlines specific guidelines for data entry, standardizes formats across departments for consistency, and serves as a reference for ongoing data management practices.

By following these structured approaches to data assessment, cleaning, and standardization, organizations can proactively manage data quality, minimize errors, and enhance the reliability of their CRM data assets for informed decision-making and strategic planning.

Assess and Plan

A Data Quality Assessment helps understand the extent of inaccurate data. It answers crucial questions like:

  • How much bad data do we have, and where is it?
  • How much is bad data costing us in wasted time and lost revenue?
  • Where did our current data management processes go wrong?

Financial data errors impact firms more quickly than outdated contact details for inactive clients. Therefore, prioritizing data based on its impact is essential.

Manual vs. Automated Data Cleaning

Decide whether to clean data manually or automatically based on your budget and goals. Automated data cleaning handles large datasets efficiently but isn’t perfect. Manual cleaning is more accurate but costly and time-consuming.

An effective strategy combines both methods. Use automated tools for the initial cleaning, followed by manual corrections. This approach ensures thorough and accurate data cleaning.

Data Standardization

To sustain data quality, create a Data Quality Standards Manual. This manual sets standards for data quality, ensuring consistency and accuracy. It serves as a reference for all team members involved in data management.

Key elements to include in your manual are:

  • Phone number guidelines
  • Honorary and professional job titles
  • Websites and email addresses
  • Address standardization

Distribute the Data Quality Standards Manual to all staff and departments. Ensure everyone collects and enters client information consistently. Current and new hires should use it to input data accurately and consistently.

Data Quality Monitoring

Data quality maintenance is an ongoing process that requires constant monitoring and improvement. Firms must dedicate resources for continuous maintenance and support.

Establish processes for routine data reviews. Configure dashboards to track data quality metrics like bounce rates or duplicate records.

Some companies employ Data Quality Professionals to update contact information and maintain accurate records. Others outsource this role to trusted Data Stewards, a cost-effective solution for firms with limited budgets.

By implementing these strategies, organizations can unlock the true potential of their CRM data. A focused data quality assessment helps prioritize valuable datasets and identify affordable data cleaning services. Establishing a Data Quality Standards Manual ensures consistent data entry across departments, reducing future errors.

Commitment to Data Quality

Maintaining high data quality requires ongoing attention, resources, and a culture of accountability. Organizations can overcome data quality challenges by conducting regular assessments, standardizing data entry, and continuously monitoring it, ensuring their data is always accurate, reliable, and ready to drive informed decision-making.


Ensuring high data quality within a CRM system is an ongoing commitment that demands continuous attention, dedicated resources, and a culture of accountability. Regular assessments help identify and rectify data inaccuracies, while standardized data entry procedures ensure consistency across departments. Continuous monitoring is essential to promptly address any emerging issues. By integrating these practices, organizations can effectively manage data quality challenges, ensuring that their CRM data is always accurate and reliable. This, in turn, enhances the ability to make informed decisions, improves customer relationships, and drives overall business success. Consistent data quality is key to leveraging the full potential of CRM systems.