To fight a multi-headed hydra, it is essential to choose your weapons well in order to be sure to win the game. And in this battle that you must win, the importance of mastering all the functionalities of data quality solutions is essential!
Attention dear reader, this is not a comparison of data quality software. If you have reached this point, it means that you have already read all the articles of this kind and that you have consulted dozens of pages dedicated to these solutions.
Without pretension, here is a non-exhaustive listing of the features of Data Quality software that you can find on G2.com or Gartner. We will just detail the main possible applications of these tools, to allow you to make your choice.
We have already explained our views on solution comparators here.
Discover the different functionalities of data quality solutions
The objective is to have documented, integrated, automated and enriched data that is accurate and RGPD compliant.
Securing data at the entrance or how to cut the head of the hydra from the start
One of the first solutions to guarantee and improve data quality is to validate the data entry in the form – which remains a must in data acquisition. For example, it is possible to force the prospect to fill in his professional email address, prohibiting entries in @gmail.com, @hotmail.fr and so on…
You can also apply a format condition on the phone number, based on the country field or the place of residence. And even add a list option in the “company” field, inviting the person to enter the first 3 letters of their company to make their choice in a drop-down list. This way, you can avoid random spellings of the same company: M/L, Merlin/Leonard, MerlinLeonard, Leroy Merlin?
Finally, the Google Recaptcha requires you to enter a code to check that the visitor is human, avoiding artificially inflating your database with bad data.
But be careful not to multiply the constraints endlessly. You have to be careful and find the right balance to avoid bounce rate, while favoring a user experience that is as fluid as possible.
Lock the data in the lists of values
Locking data by value list: good idea or not? Excellent solution to control data quality, unless your choice list does not offer all options.
However, be careful to use the same value lists in your CRM and marketing automation tools. Otherwise, beware of accidents! You risk seeing a certain amount of data rejected because it is incompatible with one or other of the interfaces used. Make sure that each system uses the same set of values.
Correct erroneous data in real time
Data quality solutions can also detect erroneous data in real time. Let’s take the example of a person who answers from the United Kingdom: he or she is likely to enter United Kingdom, UK or Great Britain in the “country” field.
One of the functionalities of data quality solutions is therefore to detect all possible variations of an occurrence and to correct them automatically, giving preference to the preconfigured name; with Merlin/Leonard “United Kingdom” for example.
Correcting erroneous data in batch
You can use the same technique in batch to correct the data in your database in bulk. To do this, perform a one-shot pass using the same verification system. Be careful, this is a big job, you will have to be patient!
Inferring data from other data
Data deduction is another very interesting feature of data quality software. The objective is of course to improve the user experience by reducing the number of fields to be filled in the forms.
Let’s take a simple example, the civility field. From the first name entered, your CRM or marketing automation solution is able to predict whether “Jane” is a man or a woman. Indeed, many first names are male or female and your system can find the corresponding civility.
Another example at Merlin/Leonard: we deduce the decision making level and the department (Marketing, Communication, Sales…) from the “job title” field which avoids asking for it.
Don’t forget that every field less is a conversion point more in your form. And it’s the same thing in the CRM for sales people!😉
Enrich the contact form and the account
Thanks to data quality solutions, you will also be able to easily enrich your contact records, from a small number of well-filled data. You can find a lot of additional information about the person from his name, his job title, his company, his Linkedin link.
Thus, you will be able to access very qualified data, from a quick form that does not require the visitor to fill in a multitude of fields.
Moreover, you can also enrich your information just from the email, by measuring for example its accuracy: is it a professional or personal email? Is it a generic email like firstname.lastname@example.org ? Is it a disposable or trap email? Etc.
You will thus segment your database to ensure better message deliverability.
Finally, you can also search for other people belonging to the same company as your contact, based on their functions (this is one of the features offered by Nomination). You can then map the decision-makers and teams of a given company.
Normalize addresses, names or phone numbers
We won’t dwell too much on this point, but data quality also involves the standardization of certain information:
- Phone number format;
- Company names in upper case;
- The first letter of the first name in upper case;
- The suppression of special characters.
- Postal addresses
Tracking the sources of acquisition of people
Your data quality software should also help you track the origin of your leads and identify which campaigns are the gateways to your form or conversational marketing solution.
It’s essential to set up data sourcing and track the origin of each acquisition campaign. This is one of the functionalities made in Marketo thanks to the Person Source, Acquisition Program and UTM fields for example.
You will be able to easily identify :
- Where your leads come from;
- Where do your revenues come from;
- Which partner brings you traffic…
Here again, the quality of the data collected allows you to consistently analyze all the marketing automation entry points and, above all, which sources are the most effective.
How else will you be able to answer your management who will ask you: “So, our 20K event, did it work?
Reporting on data quality
With data quality solutions, you also have the possibility to report on data quality by identifying for example:
- Open opportunities with a closing date in the past;
- Invoiced accounts with no contact in case of payment issues;
- Leads with no source or acquisition program.
One of the main points of attention in Data Quality for marketing is the contact. In this case, you can use a visual indicator, like a traffic light, to indicate the quality level of the data collected on the contact. The rating will then be based on the completeness of the data, its freshness or its accuracy. This is a useful way to indicate to sales representatives whether or not they should work on the data for this contact.
3 ways to detect duplicates with data quality software
- Detecting exact duplicates
Most data quality solutions offer this functionality natively on fields or groups of fields. For example, you can detect :
- Contacts that have the same email;
Contacts whose full name is similar;
But for greater efficiency, we advise you to perform this detection on several groups of fields such as:
- last name + first name + company.
- name + first name
- Detect duplicates on several criteria (functional key)
CRM can natively prohibit the entry of a data that would have the same functional key** as another group of fields that defines the uniqueness of a person.
** A functional key is a field or a group of fields that will define the uniqueness of your object, for example the contact.
It is up to you to choose your “key”. This can be the case of the combo name + first name + company or simply the email which is often the key in Marketing Automation.
There is no magic solution:
Indeed, you may very well have two “real” people with the address email@example.com who choose to use a generic email to avoid sharing personal data. You will then have two entries in your CRM with the same email address but they will be two different people that should not be merged.
And you can also find two homonyms in the same company that can, wrongly, be considered as one and the same person.
So this solution is not totally ideal to win the battle against our multi-headed hydra. We need to use more than one spell in our bag of tricks…
- Detecting “fuzzy” duplicates
Finally, it is perhaps in the analysis of strings, from a similarity score, that you will find your salvation.
Let’s take a simple example: Mr Jean Merlin Lenchanteur is 95% similar to Mr Jean Merlin l’Enchanteur
The fuzzy duplicate detection systems actually use an algorithm based on the Jaro Winkler formula, which gives a similarity score to two strings.
For example, a person who has filled in the form twice, once with a business email and a second time with his personal email, will have a high similarity score if you take the string Name + First name + Company.
Once the detections have been made, our data quality software can deal the final blow to the hydra by merging the various entries in your database and allowing :
- Define who is the master and who is the slave. The master retrieves all child data, i.e. appointments, activities and opportunities from the various slaves;
- To choose, field by field, the data to be kept according to different rules. For example, with Cloudingo, you can choose to select them according to the age of the creation or modification, the completion or not, etc.
Discover the different families of data quality solutions
There are many software solutions to control data quality. If several functionalities such as deleting obsolete data, correcting data, reporting or tracking can be managed by a CRM or a marketing automation solution, some tasks require the use of dedicated solutions.
Where to find ideas for the best Data Quality solutions
G2 is the reference web platform to help you choose the data quality software adapted to your objectives and the size of your company. You can find a complete comparison of data cleansing and formatting solutions. The software is evaluated by the community and ranked according to a score system.
G2 also offers a complete guide and customer feedback to better understand what data quality is and how to organize the management and cleansing of your customer data.
The number of data quality solutions continues to grow
The number of solutions and software dedicated to data quality is constantly increasing according to the Martech 5000, the mapping of marketing technologies published by chiefmartec.com. Data Quality solutions are divided into different “universes” below.
Hard to find your way around…
The main families of DQ solutions and their functionalities
To help you see things more clearly, here are the main families of Data Quality solutions and their functionalities.
The functionalities integrated to your CRM
You can start cleaning and qualifying your data directly from your CRM. Salesforce, MS Dynamics, E-Deal or Hubspot CRM integrate numerous functionalities such as
- Locking lists of values;
- correction of erroneous data
- data deduction;
- deleting obsolete data;
- measuring the quality of your data;
- duplicate detection (simple)
Doing data quality with marketing automation software
Most marketing automation solutions such as Marketo, Hubspot, Eloqua, Pardot or Webmecanik also allow you to perform many actions related to data quality. Some of the most common features include:
- validation of data at the entry of the form;
- correction of erroneous data in real time or in batch;
- tracking of acquisition sources;
- removal of obsolete personal data;
- duplicate detection (simple)
Of course you know which one we prefer at Merlin/Leonard.
Data preparation and normalization software
Data preparation and normalization are essential steps to work with a healthy contact database and to achieve a high level of data quality. Here are some software or solutions already used by Leonard:
- Ringlead, one of the leading data management software for companies. It allows you to organize your entire data quality process.
- Our favorite, Cloudingo, used by us
Data cleansing solutions
It is also important to clean up your data to ensure its quality. This essential step includes tasks such as merging, deleting or aggregating data.
At Merlin/Leonard, we use Salesforce workflows to do a lot of the small formatting tasks.
Data Enrichment Software
Data enrichment solutions cover both contact data and qualification data. They will scan the different sources available on the web and aggregate them around an email, an IP address or a domain name.
Among the most popular data enrichment software, we find :
- Nomination, the French platform specialized in B2B prospecting that integrates a data quality module to enrich contact and company data.
- Dropcontact allows you to recognize a person from his name, first name and company website and then provide you with the pro email plus a lot of personal and company information.
- Captain Verify, a solution that corrects and enriches all your emails to preserve your reputation on emailing
- Clearbit which allows you to recover qualified data to enrich the file of a lead or a customer.
We use Dropcontact and Captainverify.
Deduplication and deduplication solutions
The deduplication of data is one of the key steps in data quality management. Detecting and correcting duplicate data requires time and, above all, a powerful software solution. Here are some examples:
- Cloudingo is one of the best-known solutions for removing duplicates and deduplicating data from your prospect database.
- Ringlead is once again among the recognized solutions on the subject.
Special solutions for RGPD and consent
Finally, you can also optimize and normalize your data for RGPD and consent with most marketing automation solutions or cookie and consent management software.
Leonard has fixed you a small summary in image to view the different features of these solutions.
Do you have questions about data management and data quality? Merlin/Leonard can help you defeat the hydra that threatens the quality of your contact base. Please contact us to learn more.
To discuss your data quality project, book your free 30-minute meeting with our expert.