Think strategically before buying contact data

I recently refused business from a new prospective client.  I’ll call him Harry.

Harry wanted to update 1.2 million company records with fresh contact data.  In the process of understanding his sales process, I discovered that he would be working with about 100,000 accounts per month.

I told Harry “No, I won’t sell you that data”.

The prospect of losing a Fortune 1000 account set my Director of Sales, who was also on the phone, into some deep breathing exercises.

Harry did the typical “but I’m the client”.  He ranted, he raved, he cussed, asked to talk to my Manager.  I laughed, told him I was the company founder… and he cussed again.  I made a joke about him being a Buffalo Bills fan (the Profiler found it in his bio) and we connected.  I am a Bills fan too.  He got nice and we talked some football.  Harry pleaded.  “I heard you have the best data.”

“We don’t have any data…who have you been talking to?”, I pressed.  Harry told me the referral source.  “Yes, what an excellent client example. They are killing it.”, I teased.

“So, Mike bought data from you, but you don’t have any data?”,  Harry asked. The question was thick with sarcasm.

“That’s right.  You’ve got it. ” I said.

At this point, I think he said something like “Who’s on f*ing first Donato”, through sardonic laughter.

I explained that Broadlook really doesn’t store any data, that we generate it, on demand, from across the Internet, so the information is fresh.

Now, if I kept teasing him (he deserved it), I really would have lost his business, it was time to get serious.

I told him “Selling you data that you won’t use for a year, is a disservice”.

I explained.  “You will love me the first 60 days, then data will start to decay.  By month 9, I’ll look like every other data vendor.  At the end of the 12 months, when it is time for a contract renewal, you will talk to your sales team and they will tell you the data is crap, outdated, inaccurate. You will blame Broadlook and you will not renew”.

“It’s your fault if the data is bad…isn’t it?”,  said Harry.

“It’s not”, I elaborated.  The day I deliver the data, it will be fresh, but if you let it rot, it’s your fault”.

At this point, Harry realized I was looking out for him.  Instead of taking a big dump of data that would sit and age inside his CRM, we worked out a subscription plan.  100,000 accounts updated per month.  Fresh data every time.

This is the concept of Just-In-Time data.  I’ve had many conversations with companies just like Harry’s.

The lesson: Don’t buy data if you are not going to immediately use it.  Buy just what you need, when you need it, and no more.  Your sales reps will love this decision.




Data decay: The WHY behind why your CRM data sucks.

Data decay: The WHY behind why your CRM data sucks.

  • “Wrong phone number”
  • “The company was acquired”
  • “Wrong title”
  • “I have duplicates”
  • “The data is old”
  • “The emails don’t work”
  • “My CRM data sucks”
  • “I just called someone who’s been dead for a year”

If you’ve heard any of the above comments or something similar; you have a CRM problem.  Are their solutions to these problems?  Yes, however; today I will give you a deeper understanding of WHY the problem occurs.  Many good vendors exist to solve the problems listed above.   I want to arm you with a deeper insight, the WHY.

If you understand the WHY, you will be able to:

  • Have a deeper understanding to the nature of the problem
  • Remove unrealistic expectations (solve the problem, don’t chase a rainbow)
  • Define best practices to minimize bad data
  • Be informed when choosing a vendor (flashy interface does not solve THE PROBLEM)
  • Understand how your CRM decisions effect CRM data
  • Help you be an advocate for change management within your organization
  • Make you a more informed client (some vendors will like this, others will not)

So what is the WHY?

Short answer:

Contact data decays

If you have a short attention span, if you are brilliant, or have limited reading time, we are done here.  That’s all you need and you know what I am going to say in the long answer.  Thanks for reading.

Long answer:

First, let’s establish a baseline from the US Department of Labor.

The national average tenure across all jobs in the US is 54 months.  That breaks down to 1.85% per month of job attrition.  For high-demand IT workers the tenure is shorter with 3% monthly job attrition rate.  The rate for Silicon Valley start-ups is almost ridiculous with the average tenure being just over a year.*

*Not from DOL. garnered from several Venture Capital blogs…take it as an extreme example.

A full year of data decay – base factors

A month at a glance does not show the full picture when factored across an entire year.  Look at the picture across a year’s time.

When reviewing an entire year, data will decay at about 12%.  However, that does not take into account many additional factors including: (more…)

The Dirty Data Quiz – How Healthy is your CRM?

The Dirty Data Quiz – How Healthy is your CRM?

Where does your company is rank for the variables that impact duplicate data? Take a moment to take the quiz below.

How to score the quiz:  Each question has a maximum.  Give yourself a score on the continuum from zero to max points.  Good luck & be honest!

The Dirty Data Quiz: Is Your CRM at Risk?

CRM Data Plan. 15 points. Does your company have a CRM Data Plan? A CRM Data Plan is a standard format for treating CRM data. If you don’t, this is where you start the entire process. To comply with best practices, your CRM Data Plan should be centrally stored, accessible by anyone who enters data into your CRM. In essence, the Data-Plan acts as a single-point-of-truth for your company and how it treats data.
Your points: ______

Staff Training. 5 points. Has your staff has been trained on your Data-Plan and it is easily accessible? While this is a great step, it is not as important as making the CRM enforce your data plan automatically. If your CRM does offer a feature like this, the training is most important for your IT department who can circumvent the constraints put on the average user. Your points: ______

CRM Cleaned. 5 points. Has your CRM gone through a full normalization and deduplication process? Once you have your Data-Plan developed, you need to ensure that the data you have meets the plan. Why only 5 points? A one-time cleaning does not solve the long term problem. Don’t pat yourself on the back for this, if this is all you do, you will have one month per year of clean data. Your points: ______

CRM Enforcement. 15 points. Is your data plan enforced by your CRM? This is tremendously important. If your provider does not have this feature, it means you must either build or find an add-on to your CRM. An even better option is to provide all users of your CRM Broadlook’s Contact Capture to automatically and error free enter contacts into your CRM. Contact Capture is FREE (not trying to sell anything here). Your points: ______

Product/Integration Enforcement. 10 points. Do other products that bring information into your CRM adhere to your Data-Plan? Beware of products that dump data to a Excel or CSV file. Sometimes it is unavoidable, however, direct exporting systems that comply with your Data-Plan and do deduplication in real-time are always a superior choice. Your points: ______

Vendor Enforcement. 10 Points. Do vendors that provide you with list data deliver it in compliance with your Data-Plan? Some vendors may push back at first; however, it has been my experience that the entire process will go smoother if the vendor complies to the Data-Plan. Hold your ground and remember that list providers want your business. Show them the format that you want your data …and don’t compromise. Your points: ______

Import Enforcement, by culture. 5 points. Does the IT staff buy-in to following the Data-Plan? The best way to make this happen is include the IT department in the development of the Data-Plan. Your points: ______

Import Enforcement, by technology. 15 points. Is your IT staff prevented from circumventing a Data-Plan by rights management? Everyone must obey the Data-Plan. If your IT staff can circumvent best practices established by management, problems will arise. It the IT staff disagrees with a Data-Plan, best practice dictates that the Data-Plan reviewed, discussed and potentially revised. Again, this maintains the single point of truth and enforceability to make your Data Plan work. Your points: ______

URL Enforcement. 20 points. Do you have a URL (website) field for each company in your CRM.? The URL of a company is more important than a DUNS number, location or anything else. It is the single best piece of company-centric information that can be used to update the CRM over time. The URL can be used to update and add contacts to your CRM with tools like Broadlook’s Profiler. Your points: ______

How did you do? I want to hear from you! Send how you did to Donato Diorio (me AT dioriodiorio dot com).

<20 F
40 D
60 C
80 B
100 A
Your score: __________

Understanding how your data and processes rank is paramount. Dirty CRM data is a huge problem with sales force efficiency. You may think that cleaning your CRM on a regular cycle is a good thing. Don’t pat yourself on the back just yet; cleaning CRM data on a cycle is treating a symptom. Just like good physical health, the best solution to eradicate dirty CRM data is prevention. Prevent dirty data from getting into your CRM and your CRM be clean and healthy. You may even enjoy using it again.

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