What is data hygiene and how can you use it to increase the ROI of your CRM?

3 min read
Apr 29, 2024 2:08:21 PM
In partnership with Emerce - A CRM with good data hygiene can get your sales team off to a great start. But what is good data hygiene? The key characteristics and principles in a row.


In the more than five years I've worked as a HubSpot consultant, I've seen just how important data hygiene is. Actions performed in HubSpot almost always depend on the smooth functioning of a well-maintained database. From sending newsletters to reporting sales, everything requires a database that is "hygienic. But what is good data hygiene? In my opinion, a CRM with good data hygiene has two characteristics.

The CRM contains quality data

'Quality data' is:

  • Usable.Based on the data, for example, reports can be created, lists can be generated or workflows can be activated.
  • Reliable.The method used to collect the data is reliable. For example, data collected through a clear and structured process, such as input from vendors, versus data that comes from a purchased list.
  • Up-to-date.Data is constantly updated. For example, data that is continuously updated through synchronization with a linked CRM system, as opposed to data that is updated quarterly through a bulk import.

An example of quality data is a list of active customers that is constantly updated and contains data showing the conversion date of the customer can be derived. With this data, you can perform several important tasks, such as activating workflows, creating reports around customer data or even simply removing customers from prospect lists.

The CRM does not contain 'junk data'

'Junk data' is data that is not useful, reliable or up-to-date. It is business information that provides little or no benefit to your business. Junk data can take many forms, but I always come across the same examples in HubSpot:

  • Not usable
    • Properties that are never used (e.g., the propertychoose your preferred datethat you created for last year's webinar).
    • Properties of the wrong type (e.g., the one-line propertyjob titlethat contains hundreds of different variations of the same job title).
  • Not up-to-date
    • Outdated customer files (e.g., the customer list you added months ago that now contains mostly ex-customers).
  • Not reliable
    • Contacts added from HubSpot sales tools (e.g. the contacts automatically generated when salespeople forget to disable the 'register contact' feature).
    • Automatically generated companies that are not relevant or that already existed (e.g., the companies automatically generated if the optionAutomatically create companies and link them to contactsis selected).

If you're not paying attention, this junk data can render your HubSpot portal unusable. I have seen hundreds of HubSpot portals containing so much junk data that even simple tasks became impossible. It can be so bad that just sending a marketing email becomes a task because it's hard to determine which contacts to add to the mailing list.

How do you start collecting quality data?

If you want to collect quality data in HubSpot, you first need to determine what your most useful properties are. For example, for a company that sells balloons, you might havefavorite colorcould be very useful. After all, with this information, marketing and sales can determine what color balloons to promote to specific contacts. You can keep these types of actionable properties in view by creating a specific group for them in HubSpot (see below):

Now yourfavorite colorhave identified and categorized it as a core property, you need to start collecting this data in a reliable way. The best thing you can do in this case is to ask the contacts themselves about it. After all, the property is based on personal preference. Just start with contacts on the form they submit to theirfavorite color(see below):

You also need to keep this property up-to-date eventually. To do this, you can find a way to determine when the
favorite colorof a contact has changed. The propertyfavorite colorcan be updated, for example, when a contact orders balloons in a different color than stated on the original form.

While tracking complete or quality data is not easy, it has tremendous benefits for your company's marketing, sales and services departments. For example, your marketing team can fine-tune its efforts more accurately if it has a database of quality data. Instead of sending mass mailings to everyone in the database, your marketers can then send out targeted emails based on contacts' interests and demographics.


Quality data also helps your sales team. It lets salespeople focus their energy on leads that are ready to start the sales process. Finally, quality data helps your service team improve offerings based on a contact's preferences. In the long run, it always pays to keep your CRM tidy and full of useful information.


Want to stay updated on all HubSpot changes? Subscribe to our newsletters, follow us on Instagram or join our HubSpot User Days!

Explore HubSpot User Days