Radius: Data Decay Rates

While there is a commonly cited statistic about contact data decaying at a 2.1% rate per month, the nature of this decay has been less reported.  Predictive Analytics company Radius conducted a study of 10,000 businesses and assessed the rate of decay over three months.  Data quality was assessed by external vendors in May and August 2016.  The Move or Unreachable value of 27% is similar to the often cited annual decay rate of 25% for contacts.

Radius published only three month decay rates, but I annualized the data using a four-period compounding formula.

Radius three-month data decay rates with imputed annual rates calculated by GZ Consulting.
Radius three-month data decay rates with imputed annual rates calculated by GZ Consulting.

One statistic that I did not annualize is the “Emails become Invalid” rate.  If 7.6% of contacts are not reachable after three months, then why are only 2.5% of emails becoming invalid?  There are several reasons:  First, approximately 8% of companies set their mail servers to not send bounce messages (or 0.6% of the three-month spread).  Secondly, most companies do not immediately turn off email messages when a person leaves the firm.  They generally forward the emails for a period of time to an administrative assistant or the individual who has assumed the departed person’s role.  This tends to be a temporary situation, but it explains the 5% gap between the two rates.  As one would expect companies to eventually decommission old emails, the annual rate of emails becoming valid should be closer to 25% than the non-displayed CAGR rate of 9.7%.

Radius is looking to address the decay problem in its database via leveraging their clients’ second-party data to obtain network effects for augmenting and updating their file.  Customers opt into the network with their data immediately anonymized and aggregated, “providing additional points of validation and verification.”  Customer contributions now cover 70% of the businesses in Radius’ Business Graph spanning one billion interactions.

Zoominfo has employed a similar model over the past few years for building out their contact file.  Their Community network has lifted their coverage of active US B2B contacts to 80 million.

Radius claims that the network improves the accuracy, comprehensiveness, and freshness of their data.  For example, phone connect rates improve from 84% to 93% when there are at least five data validation points.  Likewise, physical address accuracy improves from 85% to 96% when there are at least five validation points.

The comprehensiveness of firmographic data also improves with additional members.  Without the customer network, only 64% of records had full firmographic or contact attributes.  The population of comprehensive records rises to 81% with fifty network members.

Finally, Radius claims it’s network is “up to 20 times faster” at updating the Business Graph “than with traditional, manual methods of data collection and validation.”

“Network effects have long been a driver of business value and innovation across many industries, particularly for B2C companies,” said Radius CEO Darian Shirazi. “At Radius we are pushing the envelope on what B2B companies can come to expect from data. Now, leveraging customer network effects opens the door to further transform B2B data and develop new marketing innovations. By tapping into our predictive expertise and already robust data set, customer network effects can help marketers make smarter, faster decisions that drive revenue and growth.”

Gartner Cool: Radius, Everstring, SalesLoft…

SalesLoft, DemandBase, Datanyze, and Leadspace made Gartner’s “Cool Vendors in Tech Go-to-Market, 2016” list.  According to the report, “Marketing and sales enablement leaders should consider these software-as-a-service applications to complement existing CRM tool investments.”  Gartner also recognized predictive analytics firms Everstring and Radius in the data-driven marketing category.

Providers are doing a better job in responding to the changing B2B technology buying cycle and the higher expectation that buyers (both prospects and customers alike) have when they look to make a purchase. Some of this involves process and training improvement, improved messaging and positioning. But there is also a technology element, particularly as it relates to things like data, analytics, content, targeting, personalization and engagement.  And clients are increasingly leveraging the latest tools that allow them to make better, smarter decisions.

  • Gartner Research Director Todd Berkowitz

Here is what Berkowitz said was cool about the firms:

  • Datanyze – The technology tracking firm helps identify “when a particular piece of SaaS or mobile software (say from a competitor) is added and fire off alerts.” This feature helps SDRs and sales reps see “which companies are in market and engaging with them.”  Datanyze also offers a “cool” Chrome browser extension called Insider which displays firmographics and technographics from a company website, performs on demand email detection, and uploads this information to Salesforce.
  • Demandbase – The firm supports Account Based Marketing (ABM) marketing with IP-based advertising and personalization tools.  The firm delivers “a unique ‘one-two punch’ of real-time IP identification and technology that makes it possible to deliver company advertising (targeting and retargeting) and website personalization to help marketers increase awareness, drive up conversions, generate net-new and upsell/cross-sell leads from named accounts, and measure program effectiveness across the funnel.”
  • LeadSpace – The predictive analytics vendor helps customers “generate demand, enrich and prioritize accounts/leads from companies with a higher propensity to buy.”  Berkowitz also commended their “virtual data management platform that drives their models and recommendations.”
  • SalesLoft – The Account Based Sales Development (ABSD) firm assists sales development reps (SDRs) with lead qualification and prospecting.  “Their suite of templates, an integrated dialer and real-time analytics are a lot cooler for SDRs than the old way of working. And they work much better.”  Their Cadence tool helps streamline prospect communications such that “some of their customers reported more than doubling the number of successful connections, appointments, demos and sales-qualified leads (SQLs), while reducing follow-up time from leads by more than 75%.” Their new Sales Development Cloud provides prospect intelligence to SDRs from DiscoverOrg, Crystal, Owler, InsideView, Datanyze, RingLead, Sigstr, and ExecVision.
  • Everstring – A more recent entrant to the predictive analytics space (founded in July 2014), Everstring offers predictive demand generation and scoring models at both the lead and account level.  Everstring covers eleven million B2B companies and 20,000 different attributes with “rapid deployment of models across many points in the funnel.”  The firm is also a strong proponent of ABM and helps marketers identify accounts.  “EverString’s predictive account models enable marketers to identify high-potential ABM candidates and then push them to third-party ABM platforms for use,” said Berkman.
  • Radius – The predictive company was lauded for its segmentation tools which help SMBs “determine total available market, create attractive segments and identify accounts to target.”  Radius was also praised for its  “clean interface,” “data and analytics tools,” and the ability to train and validate models within one business day.  Berkman warned that Radius has faced little competition in the SMB market to date but is likely to face stiffer competition as both Radius and the market for predictive analytics solutions grow.

Berkowitz noted that these tools are all focused on making it easier for marketers and down-the line sales to make better decisions” noting that they all rely on the “heavy use” of data and analytics.

Radius provides easy to interpret segmentation, success analytics, and net-new lead prospect acquisition tools from within SFDC.
Radius provides easy to interpret segmentation, success analytics, and net-new prospect acquisition tools from within SFDC.

While many of these firms provide predictive analytics, Berkman contends that vendors will soon be offering “prescriptive analytics” that help firms decide what should be done.  Thus, analytics will shift from predictions based upon historical analysis to recommendations concerning which actions to take.  Prescriptive analytics utilizes graph analysis, simulation, complex event processing, neural networks, recommendation engines, heuristics, and machine learning.

“We have seen it [prescriptive] used a little bit on the sales analytics side already,” said Berkman. “It is likely that we will get to that stage with marketing so the marketer will know not only who is most likely to buy and what they will buy.”

For marketing, prescriptive analytics will assist with prospect identification, optimizing customer communications, and improving prospect offers.

Another trend you will find amongst the cool vendors is the heavy citation of ABM and ABSD tools amongst these vendors.  Everstring, SalesLoft, and DemandBase are all strong proponents of ABM while Leadspace recently partnered with ABM vendor Engagio.

Radius: Bad Data Is a “Rotten Ingredient”

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Stephanie Kong, Product Marketing Manager at Radius, recently compared dirty data to rotten food.  Working with either consumes more expertise and results in sub-par results:

Handing dirty data over to data scientists is tantamount to passing rotten ingredients to a chef and expecting that he/she transform the inputs into a gastronomical masterpiece. In both instances, the quality of the inputs impacts not only the quality of the outcome, it also impacts the experience and efficiency of the professional– how much time can be spent experimenting and applying the artistry for which the professional was hired versus overcoming hurdles to get to a sufficient baseline.

Bottom line: the quality and state of your internal data can impact– and even worse, impede– the ability of even the most talented data scientist to generate breakthrough ideas. Many turnkey data solutions can help you maintain data, even enhancing accuracy and comprehensiveness, in addition to extracting insights. It’s not simply a means of “killing two birds with one stone”; accurate and complete data is a critical first step. In other words– and without being too macabre– good data is the essential and necessary “first kill.”

Marketers are becoming more strategic in their approach to data as they realize the limitations and costs of poor data.  Predictive Analytics systems are only as good as your underlying data.  Bad data is simply noise (or as Kong would call it, “rotten ingredients”) that obscures the underlying signal.  Without accurate data, how can you expect your predictive systems to give you anything more than random nonsense?

Likewise, the shift to Account Based Marketing requires strong firmographics for identifying the companies you wish to target.  Furthermore, strong linkage is necessary for targeting subsidiaries and branches.  Whether you are extending an MSA or looking to establish a beachhead, you need a holistic view of the organization across industries, regions, and job functions.  You also need an accurate set of contacts spanning all functions, levels, and locations.

When evaluating B2B content vendors offering predictive or DaaS solutions, ask about their

  • Data Processes: Data sourcing, update cycles, verification and validation, feedback processes
  • Hygiene Services: Do they offer email, phone, and address verification, field standardization, deduplication
  • Matching Capabilities: Is it a direct match or probabilistic match based upon multiple fields? Are fields standardized prior to matching? Is the focus on company or contact matching?
  • Connectors / Integrations: CRM, MAP, DaaS cloud, API, etc.
  • Ongoing Data Refreshes: Frequency, Cost, Level of Automation
  • Contact Coverage: Emails, direct dials, functions, levels, bios,
  • Company Data: Scope, depth, firmographic fill rates, identifiers, linkage, etc.
  • Other Data: Intent data, technology platforms, business signals, etc.

Data quality is a strategic asset so your content and technology partners need to be thoroughly vetted.  It is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each offering during both the vendor selection and implementation stages.  Otherwise, you may only partially address your “rotten ingredients” problem.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons