The quality of your sales and marketing data affects every aspect of your business, from marketing and sales to development and customer success. Yet a survey by Harvard Business Review (HBR) in 2017 found that 47% of newly created data records have at least one critical error. The scariest villains of all are the ones that we actually don’t see. And we turn to each other when things are going tragically wrong and there’s no reason to think that there is a silent killer in the darkness… cold, silent, methodical, which ultimately leads you to make irrational decisions.

Marketers are consistently on the lookout for the new low-hanging fruit that can help them easily grab the attention of their audience. High-value engagement with low-priced attention is the holy grail of marketing ROI. However, the success of your marketing efforts doesn’t hinge on your ability to clearly recognize shifts in B2B buyer attention faster than your competitors.

All of your marketing efforts, strategies, tactics, and channels have no meaning if you continually fall victim to one of the most critical issues plaguing the marketing profession- bad data.

This is not another Halloween story. This is actually what happens with most prospecting campaigns. Marketers work hard to put every single piece into the right place, hit the send button, and then wait. Slowly, but we start to see results, however, the results are not what the marketers planned or hoped for. The response rate is almost non-existent. The open rate is very low. And no one is picking up the phone on the other end of the line.

Finally, the finger-pointing begins. It’s the product, it’s the campaign. It’s the sales versus marketing competency. This company sucks. This job sucks. I have got to get out of here.

However, the reality: it’s none of that.

It’s your sales and marketing data.

It’s quite easy to hide bad data problems by going through the motions in sales and marketing. But when it comes down to results, driving sales success and getting a return your marketing investments requires a solid foundation of good, strong sales and marketing data. The correct approach to intent data can help you to get the results you want.

Marketers around the world rejoiced when big data analytics solution went mainstream. Finally, a way to put all of the sales and marketing data you gather to good use. However, the realization of “garbage in, garbage out” keeps many sales and marketing teams from unlocking the full benefits.

Poor data quality costs U.S businesses more than $3.1 trillion per year, based on a study from IBM. The reason poor data costs so much is that the decision-makers, data scientists, managers, knowledge works, and others must accommodate it in their daily work, as said by the Data Doc, Thomas C. Redman. And doing so is both expensive and time-consuming.

Sales inevitably waste much of their time trying to chase deals that will never close, when you provide then with bad prospect data, instead of focusing on high-value deals.

What Is Bad Data?

Generally speaking, bad marketing data simply means that it’s not accurate. Whether it’s, data missing from contact profiles, duplicate data complicating your CRM, data that was incorrectly entered in your CRM, or the data that’s just plain inaccurate, bad data will hold you and your business from moving forward.

Of course, there are so many types of data a company may choose to gather, however, here we will focus on one of the most important- contact data. Contact data includes a contact’s name, email address, phone number, address, Job title, company, industry, etc., all of which are crucial to sales, marketing, fulfillment, and service.

While there are several factors contributing to bad data, however, many of these problems begin from an over-reliance on the data you generate with traditional lead generation strategy. While first-party data provides you a strong foundation for effective marketing strategies, fixing bad data problems requires verified intent data that delivers deep insights into the contact you’re trying so hard to reach.

The following are some of the common issues that make a contact record bad;

  • Inaccuracies like missing zip code or bad abbreviations
  • Typos caused by carelessness or speed
  • Fraudulent information
  • Without appropriate mapping, moving data from one platform to another
  • Data decay as contacts move, change positions and get new phone numbers

What Is the Cost of Bad Data?

Quite similar to garbage, bad data only gets worse over time.

Poor data quality can easily cause a company’s sales team to waste time and effort chasing bad leads. Based on a 2018 study by SiriusDecisions, B2B databases contain between 10 to 25 percent of critical contact data errors. What that means is that 1 in 4 leads could have a bad email address or phone number attached, so follow-up communications may never reach the intended person.

The customer success team first loses money and time dealing with unhappy customers, even if they gave you bad contact information, they’ll still put the blame on your company for something that never arrives. Then more time is spent troubleshooting problems and clarifying bad information, resulting in frustration and major inefficiencies.

The overall costs to organizations include reputation related losses that arises when unhappy customers take to the internet to share their grievances and bad experiences. So much time and effort are lost because of the hidden data factories that surface within a company when the employees working with bad data take it upon themselves to make corrections without actually understanding how or why the data is incorrect in the first place. Bad data takes away the ability of a company to take full advantage of business tools like sales, marketing automation solutions, and CRM.

How Bad is Your Bad Data?

One of our customers collects their sales and marketing data through a business card scanning program. So when we evaluated the accuracy and effectiveness of this tactic, we found that more than 50% of the phone numbers they collected were not correct. And among the data that they collected, one of their marketing titles was Cinematographer/Lighting Director.

Another customer listed the wife of the of their prospect company CEO as the company’s Head of IT, even though she had not worked for the company for over 30 years. Some other contacts they identified as corporate CIOs were actually actors, dentists, and aircraft maintenance technicians. Among the data collected, a person listed as a CIO was actually a tea boy, the person who delivers light snacks and beverages during the break time. Of course, he hears many gossips during the day, but that doesn’t make him qualified to be the Chief Information Officer of his company.

Another customer that uses web scraping and crawling methods to collect data gave us tons of ‘chefs’ instead of ‘chiefs. Better yet were the IT contacts created from finding profiles by searching with the letters ‘I’ and ‘T’ in that order, leaving us with many jokes profiles with official titles of “suck IT.”

We have acquired lists from some of the better-known bargain providers since we first started this project, and tested their rates for a bounce back. The two lists that we got had estimated bounce back rates of 12% and 15%. These numbers are enough to eventually get your domain blocked, maybe sooner than you actually think.

Hold tight, as it gets much worse than this.

The bounce rates are only the most visible indication of how bad a list may be. They don’t take into account the huge number of the email addresses that are still active but totally useless, either because the individual has left the organization or just the job role. These are the true devils in plain clothes. The most popular type of honey pot or spam trap that they trick marketers into sending emails, just to have them mark your email as spam and get your sending domain blacklisted.

As of now, you can clearly see that bad, poor data is a death knell to everything that you do.

A leading lead generation agency examined 12 lead generation campaigns across industries representing over 100,000 connections made by email or phone. What their study found is that a lead generation campaign without first investing in cleaning data wastes 27.3% of each sales representative’s time. On average, that’s 546 hours in total for a year per sales representative. When you put this another way, its equivalent to a three month paid trip/vacation each year for every member of your sales team.

Normally, a bounce rate above 5 percent should make you slightly nervous. And a bounce rate above 10 percent should make you sweat and a little scared. And anything above 20% should terrify you.

To understand the true impact of your bounce rates, think of them this way: your bounce rates are used to fuel confidence to all the technology involved in receiving and sending emails: that you either know the person that you are sending to, or know what you’re doing. The marketing automation solutions use bounce rates to accurately identify those in violation of their terms of service agreement. Hosting platforms, email servers, and filtering solutions use bounce rates to route emails to the spam folder or even quarantine. So if you send to just one email to an account with repurposed or invalid inboxes, all the other emails that you send in the future to valid inboxes at that account may be impacted as well. Or even worse, the filtering or server tool may submit a spam complaint.

Eventually, sooner than later, a bounced email could easily land your IP or domain on a blacklist or at the very least damage the reputation of either, which impacts every email communication using that IP or domain.

If you don’t have good data to start off, none of the cool social-selling app, any fancy CRM implementation, dialer, great training, or awesome services like Connect and Sell can help you. These investments increasingly lose much of their value if your sales and marketing data kills your opportunity to generate revenue before the first email is even sent.

If you are trying to develop a real system and a real process around the efforts of your revenue generation, it should begin with arming your sales and marketing teams with qualified, up-to-date data on your prospects, and we know a place where you can actually get that, and it’s here at Infotanks Media.

Solving Bad Data Issues with Intent Data:

The key to overcoming an organization’s bad data problem is third-party sales and marketing data. By closely working with a trusted, reputable provider, like Infotanks Media, you can easily ensure the accuracy of sales and marketing data that indicated exactly where your target accounts are in the buyer’s journey. Additionally, third-party sales and marketing data offers you a reference point to compare your organization’s databases so that it accurately identify and minimize inaccuracies that may have existed in your CRM for so long.

Unlike working with first-party sales and marketing data, working with third-party sales and marketing data helps you to better understand the behavior of your target prospects outside of your company’s website. It’s always great to know when any of your prospects download your resource or request for a demo, but do you know how are they interacting with your competitors? Third-party sales and marketing data will provide you with insights into your prospect behavior so that you can make the best possible data-driven decisions.

Focusing entirely on the bad data problems within your organization may lead you down the costly part of putting together a data science team to overcome your bad data problems. And while that’s an important task, you’ll see higher ROI by striking a good balance between first-party data collection and third-party intent data.


As already mentioned in this blog post, if you are trying to create a real system and a real process around the efforts of your revenue generation, it should begin with arming your sales and marketing teams with qualified, up-to-date sales and marketing data on your prospects.

Seriously, you’re investing a lot of money and effort in driving success from your marketing and sales teams. Your job depends on hitting your numbers. So don’t let your sales and marketing data kill your efforts and don’t be the victim of any horror story.

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