One of the most consistent themes I’ve seen with struggling marketing campaigns is inaccurate data. It has been, and continues to be, a thorn in the side of all inside sales and sales development reps. We’d like to believe that the data we collect from trade shows, list vendors, webinars, and website visitors are all certified gold, but that isn’t always the case. I could site a laundry list of reasons behind why, but I’ll spare you all from that rant.

We recently took the time to evaluate a list we purchased which was 67% accurate vs. another at 91%. It was both frustrating and an eye opening experience for all of us.

According to Netprospex, “Data quality decays at 2% per month. The impact of bad data on demand creation is such that for every 1% of data quality improvement, marketing can generate 5-6% of incremental revenue.” I think we have come to the hard conclusion that you’re never going to have perfect data. We’ve found that the key is to have some kind of process in place to manage it.

Here are a few of things that we’ve done over the years to address this the issue of bad data and prevent it from standing in our way throughout the sales development process:

1. Discard data in your CRM that is 2 years old.

This has been a good rule of thumb for the team at QuotaFactory to maintain the integrity all data in the system. Anything created in our CRM that is over 2 years old has proven to be 65% inaccurate. We’ll re-import the remaining 35% only once the data has been re-checked for accuracy. Doing this monthly has been helpful. We’ve learned the hard way that if you wait too long, it bad data can spiral out of control.

2. Don’t bother buying data that is over a year old.

This has been something I’ve been preaching for years now. We see a 30% bounce rate from the lists we purchase from most vendors. The older the data, the more likely it ends up being useless. At that point, what was the point of buying it in the first place?

3. Take the extra step to remove bad data.

Most of us don’t have the time or the patience to do this. In the end, it’s worth it since it gives you a good sense of the viability of your list sources. You can also push back bad data and bounces to your list vendors for a refund or in exchange for more accurate info.

4. Evaluate your existing data before you bother purchasing more.

Assuming the data in your CRM is accurate, is it relevant to the campaign you’re running? Do you really need 35 people from one company to call on because they loosely fit the title you want to speak with? Reality is, you probably only want to talk to 2-3 of them. It’s painstaking, but take the time to pull out the 32 other folks that aren’t worth your time. This will help keep your CRM storage management costs in check.

5. Train your reps to be proactive about their data.

If you train and proactively monitor the usage of your CRM by your reps, they can be helpful in cleaning your data as well. This may be easier said than done, but we can dream.

There are a variety of ways to keep your data up-to-date and your costs down. Just remember, the key is to have a data management process. If I could offer my 2 cents, I would also add that you need to buy from the best, the more expensive data partners will be worth the money in terms of data quality. Call on it as quickly as possible so it doesn’t age. Lastly, monitor your team to make sure they’re putting an adequate number of dials into each contact and company in your system. This way you can assure they don’t give up too soon before asking you to buy a new list with fresh data.

What are you doing to reign in your CRM data costs?