CRM Contact Data Quality: Impact on Sales & Marketing Results

Contact data decays by approximately 2% per month, but all too often, data quality is an afterthought. In this post, learn how bad CRM data can negatively impact Sales and Marketing results.

CRM data quality is a critical variable in ensuring a strong ROI for your investment in a CRM system. While standard processes in CRMs include lead management, dashboards, record customization, and Microsoft Outlook integrations, functionality supporting your contact data quality, such as contact verification, data hygiene, field standardization, and account and lead enrichment, is largely absent. Judging by this lack of out-of-the-box support, you would think that data is expected to be miraculously keyed into CRMs perfectly without the possibility of decay. Unfortunately, that’s far off from reality.

Example of how CRM data quality decays over time

Let’s assume that your contact database is 90% accurate. We know that most databases aren’t close to this level, but stick with me. It’s generally accepted that contacts age at 2% per month due to job changes, new titles, company name changes, office relocations, and companies going belly up. So, after one year, absent any data quality initiatives, your database that began at 90% accuracy has decayed to 71% accuracy (.9 * (1 – .02)12). After two years, your contacts have declined to 55% accuracy (.9 * (1 – .02)24). This means that four out of every nine records will go bad after only 24 months!

How CRM data quality declines over time

Even if you run an annual batch update, your records will still average an 80% quality level over the year. Such accuracy should not be acceptable to your sales and marketing teams.

How poor contact data quality impacts Sales and Marketing

Bad data shows up in a series of tangible and expensive process failures.

How much time is wasted by sales reps leaving messages for contacts no longer at a firm? Whether voice mails or quick emails, this activity has zero ROI. Improving your data quality allows them to focus on actual prospects – folks they can sell to.

Poor data quality also impacts your marketing department’s targeting. Weak firmographics, technographics, and contact data result in ineffective audience selection. How much money is wasted on direct mail programs for collateral that is immediately dumped in the trash?

How about your email programs? Many marketers simply rely on email bounces and unsubscribes to verify their emails. But moderate to high email bounce rates can cause your marketing campaigns to end up in SPAM folders. Likewise, poorly targeted messaging will drive up your unsubscribe rate. ESPs may even choose not to deliver your messages or throttle email delivery.

Another gap occurs in lead scoring. Weak data results in inaccurate fitness scores, generating poor prospect nurture decisions. If sales reps fail to act on marketing qualified leads, one reason is poor data quality.

It’s time to improve data quality

By associating accounts, contacts, and leads with third-party verified reference files, marketing and sales processes operate more effectively. Marketing and Sales Operations enjoy fuller and more accurate segmentation reports, prospect decisioning improves, and leads are routed to the proper sales rep.

So, if you haven’t recently cleansed your CRM or Marketing Automation Platform, you will find decreasing returns on your marketing campaigns and sales rep outbound calling. What’s more, vendors now offer automated batch and on-demand lead enrichment, making it more efficient and faster to validate and enrich your enterprise platform records. You can even request human-verified contacts to replace departed executives or fill in gaps at your ABM accounts.

Hopefully, Marketing and Sales Operations are giving more thought to data quality. The term, Garbage In, Garbage Out, comes from the early days of IT, but becomes ever more relevant as our applications and processes become more sophisticated.

Rob Weedn

Rob Weedn is Founder & CEO of DealSignal. Having worked in B2B marketing and sales for many years, Rob is passionate about helping revenue generating teams meet their goals by providing them with the immaculate contact and account data they need to target, engage, and convert prospects effectively. Follow Rob on Twitter @robweedn.

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