This one reason costs businesses $9.7 million each year but it’s impossible to say how much larger that number would be if you factored in lost marketing potential as well.
BAD DATA is ruining your marketing activities.
When was the last time you manage the quality of your data?
Do you think that the whole problem of poor data quality is exaggerated?
Almost all businesses have at least some bad data in their records whether they know it or not, and that includes yours.
You might not be happy about finding bad data in your systems, but it might actually be a good thing!
It alerted you to the larger problem, and now that you know where you’ve gone wrong, you can put all your efforts toward making it right before it starts to take its toll on your bottom line.
When Your Data Can’t Be Your Guide
You may not realize what impact bad data is having on your marketing and sales yet, but you’ve surely experienced its effects from the buyer’s side of things.
Imagine sitting down with a hardware store catalog to pick out a new lawn mower, but opening it up to see that all you have in it are pictures and prices with no product information.
You can’t tell if you’re looking at a gas, electric or even manual mower. You don’t know how loud they are or what types of jobs they’re best at. You can make some guesses at these things based on the images and the pricing information, but guesses are all they are – you can’t know for sure.
Incomplete information is better than no information, but not by much.
Without all the data you need, you can't get a full understanding of the product and figure out how well it meets your needs.
Now on top of that, imagine that you made the decision to buy one of the catalog's models anyway and went into the store to get it. When you get there, though, you notice that the prices of all the mowers in the store do not match what you saw in the listings. It might not have been updated reflect recent prices, accidentally switched between different products, or just entered in wrong when the catalog was being put together, but no matter what happened, the damage was done.
You now have absolutely no information about these products on which to base a purchase decision, and thanks to poorly organized data, you’ve wasted time and money and came out with nothing to show for it.
Bad data ruined that trip, and it can ruin your marketing campaigns in very similar ways.
A marketer’s job is to match prospective customers to products that would interest them. You hold all the product information, but you don’t know anything about your leads yet.
When you collect information about them, you’re building your own store catalog, and it has to be detailed, accurate, timely, consistent, and generally well-maintained in order to be useful to you.
With good data quality, you will be able to:
Qualify your leadsLeads aren’t all equally valuable. Say you’re selling ballpoint pens. Would you rather have a prospect who is an executive with purchasing power for a large multinational corporation, or one who is a college student looking to top up on their supply reserves for next semester? The first person is a much better prospect and is worth actively pursuing in order to land a sale: in other words, they are a qualified lead. Only 27% of leads are typically considered qualified in that way, and the only way you’ll know which ones those are is if you have enough good data to understand them on that level.
Related : How to excel at quality lead generation
Nurture your leadsIf you know what makes your leads tick and where they are in their decision-making process, you can market to them in a way that caters to their needs at specific times. Companies who do this get 45% greater ROI on their leads than companies who don’t, so this is one more way to make sure your lead generation budget really counts.
Create content that truly interests your leadsThe type of content your leads want to read and the type you want to create don’t always match up. 90% of top B2B content marketers make a point of putting their audience’s wants and needs first instead of their own preferred sales messages, and they get much more revenue because of it. To do that, though, you’ll need to know what type of people your leads are, and that means having good data quality.
Keep your email deliverability highYour email deliverability is the proportion of messages that make it to your leads’ inboxes. Believe it or not, it’s almost never at a full 100%. You almost certainly have misspelled or invalid email addresses in your database right now, and that will cause your score to take a hit. This means that you’re assuming you have more valid leads than you really do, which can throw off some revenue projections.
Keep your email bounces lowSending emails to addresses that are misspelled, inactive or owned by people who are not interested in your products (and who then flag your messages as spam) may cause those emails to bounce. If you don’t pay attention to this, your sender reputation will suffer and you might end up being blacklisted by some ISPs, which makes the problem worse.
Cut down on fraudIf you do any of your selling through an online storefront, you’ll want to pay even closer attention to your data quality. E-commerce fraud is estimated to cost $71 billion globally between 2017 and 2021, but paying attention to your data quality can help😉 If every lead’s profile is unique and can be tracked, it becomes much easier to crack down on problems like identity theft and falsified returns.
Use your marketing budget efficientlyLeads are expensive to get; even companies with less than 50 employees spend an average of $146.94 to get one, and that number only rises when you get into larger company sizes and more expensive methods like event marketing. It’s worth it to pay a small extra cost for data quality verification services to make sure that you can actually use the data you’ve paid for instead of wasting it.
Recognizing the Solution
In spite of all these negative effects it has, it’s not very hard to cut down on the bad data in your records if you follow some basic standards for good data quality.
Here are some things you could do to try to bump up your overall data quality:
Use the right toolsGetting good quality data doesn’t have to be complicated if you start things off right in the first place. Proper lead capturing forms and software can help make sure that you get accurate contact information from your leads. Pay special attention to tools you can use at events, because the crowded atmosphere can make it hard to focus on collecting the information you need. These leads are often some of the best you’ll find anywhere, so there is no such thing as having too much good quality data on them.
Don’t buy your listsWhen you buy lists of leads from a third party, you’ll be getting whatever data they could cobble together and make look appealing for you as a marketer. The leads you’ll get probably won’t be very good, and the data quality of the overall data set will almost certainly have problems too. Collect your leads on your own and the list you end up with will be full of people who are truly interested in hearing what you have to say and who you can easily sell to.
Practice good email hygieneSome people will give you a fake email address just to get you to leave them alone or to get past your content gates, and some will just abandon their old address for a new one. You have to find these dead ends and get rid of them before they drive your bounce rates up. Review your delivery notices in your email software and remove the addresses that did not receive what you sent them, and do that again every once in a while in the future. You’ll end up with fewer leads but a nice clean list that shows you where you really stand with your marketing.
Use a double opt-in processThose same people with the fake email addresses that we just discussed can be discouraged from doing that if you use a double opt-in process. This type of lead capturing forces leads to give you their email address once, then to click a button in the confirmation email you send them. This forces them to give you the address of an active account and makes sure that they’ve spelled the address correctly, too. That doesn’t rule out the possibility of leads creating a fake address that they can log into just to click on the confirmation email, then abandoning it; that’s why good email hygiene standards are important. That said, using this kind of setup will weed out the vast majority of invalid leads and will automatically increase your data quality because of it.
Bad Data Doesn't Have To Hurt You
You can avoid being burned by bad data in the future, but if there’s some already lurking in your database right now, you know it’s important to clean it out.
Doing routine maintenance also helps you to catch any bad data that falls through the cracks.
Data quality verification services can help with that.
If you’re interested in seeing how poor your data quality really is, you can try out on your email bounced list for a free check.
This is just the start of our new series on bad data and its effects on your business. In our next blog post, we’ll be examining how it impacts your salespeople and their ability to close the deals that drive your bottom line.
Until then, you can always join us for more information on how to drive better profits through data quality.