When you’re targeting a lead and start to dig into their profile in your CRM system, do you feel a chill run down your spine? Does the hair on your neck stand up and your heart start to race? Or are you so confident in your data that digging into lead data is like digging into a bag of candy on Halloween night?

Well chances are your sales and marketing data is more of a trick than a treat. The typical B2B company and contact data decays somewhere between 2 and 5 percent per month, according to several studies from MarketingProfs, Biznology, and others. That means as much as 70 percent of your data can be incorrect after just one year.

That decay, like the skin falling off of an undead zombie, contributes to the average B2B database being 25 percent inaccurate at any given time, according to SiriusDecisions.

Blog-PumpkinChartEveryone experiences these horrors because you’re living them every day. In that same SiriusDecisions study, they also found that 60 percent of companies called their data “unreliable” and 80 percent of companies consider their phone contact records “risky.”

So your data situation is scary. Not “boo” scary; Texas chainsaw scary!

Really? Is it that bad?

Yes, it’s that bad, and here’s why.

Data decay happens because:

  • People change titles or get abducted by aliens,
  • Companies or workers move to new office locations or get sucked into other dimensions,
  • Phone numbers and email addresses change or get infested by flesh-eating beetles,
  • Companies change branding or get sliced up by other evil companies, and, of course,
  • People move to new companies or take on new roles or get transported to the realm of the demons.

The frequency at which people change jobs is truly frightening. At some larger companies the median employee tenure is well below 18 months. Companies like Google (1.1 year median tenure) or Ross Stores (1.2 years) or New York Life Insurance (1.4 years) see a lot of turnover, so the people filling the roles you’re targeting are moving around more than you might expect.

Companies are also popping up, going under, being acquired, changing names, and more. Just looking at smaller companies, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that about 520,000 new businesses open and 680,000 close each year. Or look at some large, higher-profile companies that have recently made changes that can impact your targeting, like HP’s pending breakup, or InBev’s planned acquisition of SABMiller, or Humana acquiring Aetna. Like sharks on a feeding frenzy, it’s never-ending, and it impacts titles and phone numbers and locations and so on.

With changes to contact data happening so often, it’s amazing that you’re even able to connect with anyone. However, the impact is as clear as a crystal ball: ghastly targeting effectiveness, campaign costs increasing to supernatural sizes, the grim reaper hovering over your brand, and the blood being sucked from your results.

If you’re not terrified when you think about your data, you should be.

Turn your trick into a treat!

Our team of ghouls has written several posts on how to keep your data clean and ensure data hygiene, which is a great place to start cleansing the demons from your data’s soul. But if you’re looking for a spoiler, here are a few ways to begin your exorcism of bad data.

  • Summon a clean goblin and put them to work fixing inaccuracies, de-duping, and adding missing fields in your existing records.
  • Conjure up a data assessment to get a handle on your data and know where your troubles are.
  • Enrich your data with a potion that corrects and appends any incomplete or inaccurate data provided by incoming leads.
  • Most target list vendors provide data that’s straight out of a horror movie, so get good, clean, accurate leads by using a reputable vendor who can build custom lists to match your targeting needs.

After reading this post, you’re probably scared. But with the right plan, all your troubles can disappear…like a vampire in the sunlight!