An outdated sales database means the data you collect and maintain offers little value and has an adverse impact on your bottom line.

At best, bad data is costly to maintain and ineffective to use. More importantly, bad data could lead to inaccurate business and marketing decisions that do more harm than good.

With new research below from Oracle, DemandGen, and Experian, here are four signs that you need to update your sales database to optimise performance and productivity.

Ineffective Sales Leads

As much as 40 percent of all B2B sales leads contain bad data. This data results from poor initial entry, missing items, outdated information and duplication.

If your team is not having much success contacting leads, often signalled by a poor lead-to-meeting ratio, old data may be a culprit.

If you have this issue, perform an audit to examine data entry behaviours as well as verification checkpoints.

Refreshing existing contacts and implementing more efficient processes moving forward is necessary for this instance.

Infographic Data Survey bad data sales database

The longer a data problem goes on, the greater the time and costs associated with fixing it become.

Concerning Churn Rates and Satisfaction Ratings

A major purpose of a database is to strengthen your ability to manage relationships with customers.

If you experience a significant upturn in customer churn and a major downturn in satisfaction ratings, bad data is a likely reason.

Armed with incomplete or inaccurate data, sales teams will have trouble with follow-up communication or the ability to develop effective relationship strategies.

Faulty email addresses would cause a customer to miss out on messages sent through an email marketing system, or you could be targeting the wrong person due to a change in their job function.

Salespeople may also have difficulty completing all-important follow-through and follow-up activities that impact satisfaction and retention.

In the US alone, over 50 percent of workers are thinking of changing their jobs in 2016.

It can be tough to ensure your sales database is consistently accurate. Taking this jobs statistic alone, what sort of impact will that have on your sales database and marketing automation plans?

Poor Marketing Results

Predictive analytics is the use of data for automated reporting and trend identification.

Marketing and sales teams rely on analytics to make decisions on which prospects to go after with particular types of communication and messaging strategies.

If your marketing and sales activities are highly inefficient and ineffective, analytics probably aren’t working well either. 

The common cause is bad or outdated data.

Simply put, bad data in, bad data out.

If you input bad data, you output inaccurate information to be used in your decision-making.

Decision making that is having a direct impact on your bottom line.

In DemandGen’s 2016 report “What’s Working in Demand Generation?” lead quality remains one of the top priorities for B2B marketers this year, “as they look for their increased emphasis on data-driven marketing and predictive analytics to yield more qualified leads.”

The primary means of driving both early stage (77%) and later stage (85%) leads is Email, with telemarketing coming in at 24% and 42% respectively.

Top Channels For Driving Early-Stage-Lead-DemandGen-Report-2016 2016-DemanGen-Report-Later-Stage-Lead-Generation

Marketing relies on current, accurate data to develop highly targeted campaigns that support sales activities.

A Bad Bottom Line

One of the most tangible and visible signs of the need for a database refresh is a weak bottom line.

Reducing revenue and small profits are common financial results when bad data is driving selling activities.

Your salespeople rely on precise and accurate data to continually improve their selling processes.

Data provides a picture of a buyer’s experience throughout the buying cycle. 

Without current, accurate data, it is harder to monitor sales performance. Thus, it is also hard to coach and develop reps for peak performance.

Inevitably, productivity and revenue suffer.

In Oracle’s “The Future of Modern Marketing: 2016” report, some global marketers gave their predictions on what would be the hot trends for 2016.

“Sales enablement is the most important marketing function heading into 2016.” Matt Heinz | President, Heinz Marketing Inc

 

“The most useful measure of marketing automation performance is conversion rate” Jordie Van Rijn | Emailmarketing and eCRM consultant, Emailmonday

 

“84% of top performing businesses are using or will use marketing automation in 2016. Marketing automation needs leads, and while content is the most potent fuel for lead generation, managing and leveraging that growing library of content will be vital in order to fully utilize marketing automation.” Yoav Schwartz | CEO, Co-Founder, Uberflip

 

The whole point of marketing – social media marketing, content marketing, inbound marketing, email marketing, video marketing, digital marketing, traditional marketing – is to drive sales.

That’s it, folks!

It’s all about the sales.

And with 84 percent of companies using or planning to use marketing automation to drive the sales and marketing efforts, what happens if the data you are using is inaccurate?

In a 2014 EDQ survey taken by more than 1,200 organisations in the UK, US and Europe, across a range of sectors and company sizes, it was found that inaccurate data has a direct impact on the bottom line of 88% of businesses, with the average company losing 12% of its revenue.

According to DatabaseMarketing last month, the latest research carried out by Experian from 1,400 businesses across eight countries, shows that firms estimate that they could increase sales by almost a third (29%) if their customer data was entirely accurate.

The same report stated that 75% of the respondents cited email as the most used channel for marketing communications, and of those respondents, 73% can point to a business impact as a result of the inaccuracy.

Conclusion

Bad data can lead to ineffective and inefficient business activities and reduced bottom line results.

If your team’s performance is weak or declining, conduct a thorough audit of your data and your processes for gathering and maintaining data. Pointing your finger at your sales teams may be the wrong option.

Good data is essential to maximising the value of sales leads. The good news is we can help.

We have a sales database of over 61 million business contacts and a team of people who ensure it is kept up to date and accurate.

Talk to us today about getting a tailored prospect list built for your business.


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