In a blog on Sparklane’s website, I had the opportunity to discuss how sales and marketing can digitally transform their departments by focusing on data enrichment and sales intelligence.
Firms have traditionally taken a haphazard approach to data quality, failing to recognize that data quality is a function of both initial data (keyed data, web forms, trade show scans, purchased lists, etc.) and time. Data is dynamic. It can be accurate today and inaccurate tomorrow. That’s why data quality is often broken down into three dimensions: Accuracy, Completeness, and Timeliness.
So not only are firms failing to enrich data in real-time as data is acquired (or batch if purchased), they are ignoring the simple fact that
- Companies relocate
- Offices are shuttered
- Execs change companies or positions within companies
- Corporate URLs and email domains are changed when companies are acquired or renamed
- Companies grow and shrink
The result has been saw-tooth data quality charts with quality spiking at data refresh and then quickly declining. Both company and contact data are subject to data decay with contact data declining at a rate of 25% per annum (A recent Radius study has it at 27%).
To address this problem, firms should evaluate third-party solutions which provide a reference database matched against their sales and marketing datasets. By standardizing on a reference dataset, sales and marketing operations can deploy a single source of truth across data acquisition (e.g. list loads, prospecting, web forms) and maintenance (ongoing updates to their CRM and Marketing Automation platforms).
There are many benefits to this approach:
- Web Form and other keyed data is immediately verified and graded.
- Lead Scoring is based upon richer and more accurate data.
- Duplicates are detected before being created, allowing leads to be matched to current customers and prospects.
- Leads from subsidiaries and branches are tied to ABM accounts, ensuring they are properly scored and routed.
- Addresses, Phones, and other key firmographic and biographic fields are standardized ensuring they are properly segmented, targeted, and routed.
- Sales and Marketing no longer waste resources targeting individuals who have left an organization.
- Sales has more complete data for lead qualification, prioritization, and messaging.
- Higher quality data is propagated to downstream systems, reducing the long-term cost of maintaining those platforms and helping prevent downstream errors and duplicates created by low quality upstream data.
And those benefits are simply those from cleaner data. That is before we begin to consider the value of sales intelligence platforms in account planning, messaging, current awareness, identifying additional contacts at current accounts and prospects, and opportunity prioritization.
So if you want to begin to improve enterprise decision making and efficiency, an excellent place to start is in improving the data which is the lifeblood of your digital platforms.