Data discussions are far from sexy, but doing data correctly can translate into significant positive impacts to your company’s revenue. By conservative estimates, one-quarter of the average B2B database is inaccurate (according to SiriusDecisions).

How does your database compare? Are you above that average, or painfully below?

If you think of data as the lifeblood of your pipeline, instead of delivering rich, oxygenated blood, dirty data delivers anemic, suffocating blood. So what happens to the system? At best, it slowly withers over time. At worst, it leads to a complete system shutdown.

Growing a strong pipeline cannot be done in a vacuum. It starts with a foundation of crisp, clean data that is accurate and actionable for both sales and marketing.

Now Let’s Talk Dirty

When reviewing your database, do any of these words come to mind?

  • Inaccurate
  • Decay
  • Incomplete
  • Inconsistent
  • Incorrect
  • Duplicate
  • Non-standard

Does this make you cringe? Leave you feeling like running to the nearest exit? If this is what comes to mind when you need to crack open your database, then read on!

There’s a sutra credited to Yogi Bhajan that goes something like this: “There’s a way through every block.” And, it’s true for your database, too. There is a way out of the decay, the inaccuracies and the duplicates.

Start Getting Clean

To get started, you’ll need to incorporate a methodology to your approach of reviewing, analyzing and taking prescriptive action. Here are some tips to get you moving:

1. Review

This first step sets the foundation. You’ll need to assign a data czar (or captain) to assess the state of your data. The review process should include a mapping of future best practices, such as standardizing required fields across all records. Data decay is an inevitable and dynamic process, which means your review should also establish a minimum immunization schedule for ongoing cleaning.

The review process would be incomplete without an identification of incoming data pollution. Once you’ve uncovered the source(s) of pollution, you can establish prevention efforts.

2. Analyze

Analyzing the problems caused by bad data is wasted effort. You certainly can’t swim the English Channel without a healthy body, fueled by balanced eating and rigorous exercise. The same is true of your data. Once you’ve reviewed the state of your data, developed standards for required fields, established a schedule for cleaning and plugged incoming polluted/incomplete data, it’s time to analyze: What geo regions are represented strongly? Where can there be expansion? What industries or business sizes are dominant?

This step can be accomplished by requesting a data diagnostic, which essentially leverages your data intelligence provider to not only clean your database but return a detailed analysis of your market and presence. The analysis can be used to establish campaign ROIs, segmentation of sales territories and growth efforts.

3. Take Action

Lastly, action is the easiest step to take once the decision is made and your data intelligence partner selected. This key step provides the foundation necessary for the health of your campaigns, pipelines and revenue growth.

A shaky foundation lasts only so long. Partnering with companies such as InsideView for healthy data will set your sales and marketing teams up for long term success.