Having accurate data and a complete history of contacts in your database, list or software system is critical to making informed business decisions. I recently outlined some of the benefits of this, and today I want to share with you eight tried and tested tips to help you maintain a clean, accurate database.
These can be applied to any type of database, but here, we will focus on stakeholder databases.
8 Tips to Maintain an Accurate Database
1. Structure and Framework
Carefully structure your database, stakeholder groups or segments, categories/issues and distribution lists around your business and develop a framework for system administrators and users to follow. And keep it as simple as possible!
2. Style Guide
Develop a simple style guide so data in each field is consistent. Ie. no abbreviations and consistent formatting for naming, searching, reporting and publishing information.
Use one system as your “source of truth”. If you have multiple systems, either integrate or bulk upload lists. Check if your system has an API which will allow it to ‘talk’ to other software tools.
Hold teams or people accountable for their assigned stakeholders and priority lists, but provide central support to minimise effort and provide a better user experience.
5. Regular Checks
Carry out regular data integrity checks and cleanses and provide timely feedback to system users if inconsistencies appear.
6. Built in formatting
Minimise human error with built-in formatting eg. Drop-down menu’s, radio buttons, or predefined lists
7. Track Changes
Track changes to stakeholder and employee records and engagement history, merging duplications, archiving and following through with new data. Most good software tools will have an ‘audit history’ feature to allow you to do so.
Automate processes where it is practical, as real-time automation removes the need for slow, inaccurate manual activities and will improve the quality of the data.
One of the most common problems I see when speaking to organisations who are considering implementing a database solution is distributed data. The solution to this problem? Keep it all in one place.
If you’d like to get started working more efficiently with your large stakeholder database then get in touch, I’d be happy to help get you up and running. Just drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to check out the Stakeholder Management Whitepaper, which includes a guide to software selection and checklist for implementing a CRM.
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John Steyntjes: How Proactive Stakeholder Engagement Helped Reduce Ministerials by 90%
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