The Costs of Stale Prospect and Customer Data

Fresh fruit II

The costs of having out-of-date contact information add up quickly. Duplicate entries mean wasted dollars on direct marketing efforts and mailings. Stale contacts means sales reps are burdened with correcting information, and may neglect good prospects with problem data.

You may even be buying contact lists that contain out-of-date data, with only a small proportion of records that are correct and actionable. That routine practice can introduce bad data into your data warehouses where it can persist, diluting marketing success metrics, reducing email deliveries and depressing click-through rates – and creating a records management nightmare.

There are also potential business and financial risks to consider if your data is not being updated regularly.  For instance, if a company in your supplier network goes out of business, how soon will you find out about it? Reducing the time it takes to update your data can help your organization stay on top of invoicing issues and limit your financial exposure to sudden changes in your business environment.

A poor records management system can also hinder important strategic initiatives, like integrating customer data from multiple sources and keeping on top of breaking news and social media. How can you normalize company information across applications if your CRM is full or errors? Data quality initiatives can help remediate these issues, but the issue of data latency will continue to be a challenge before, during and after new programs and practices are put in place.

How Stale is Your Data?

How old is your data? Is it a month, or longer? Data quality benchmarks put the acceptable level of latency at 5 to 10 days, meaning that the data in your CRM, ERP and marketing automation systems is accurate as of 10 days ago. For companies that tolerate customer records that are a year or more out of date, hitting that target will require a new, strong and broad commitment to good records management across the organization.

Keeping Your Data Fresh

To get there, companies are turning to a third-party data provider to use a “referential data set” that is continually updated and verified, effectively solving the problem of ever-changing company and customer information.

By updating their CRMs in real time with data from a third-party, companies are able to verify and enrich prospect lists and capture additional relevant business information as part of the lead management process. The referential data is regularly updated, and published to CRM, supply management applications and enterprise intranets via integrated solutions or directly via APIs. That’s the power of data that’s being constantly checked and refreshed by a team of data experts, instead of being left to molder quietly in your internal data stores.

Data is only as good as its owners make it. For a data quality initiative, the goal is to get data updates as close to real time as possible, so your sales, marketing and customer care teams are truly keeping pace with changes in their business environment.

See how to keep your CRM fresh here.

Is your data stale? Tell us what you think in comments.


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