marketing data
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By Katie Bullard

Successful sales and marketing execution is knowing what a best customer looks like for your organization, knowing how to find prospects that with potential to become best customers, and engaging with those prospects throughout the process. To do this requires having in-depth data on your prospects and your customers to most effectively identify and engage with both.

In fact, data is one of most integral components of a team’s success.  It’s the motor oil that keeps organizations running. Put high-quality oil in, and your team’s engine will continue to run smoothly. But sneak in the cheap stuff, and problems will begin quickly manifesting themselves in the form of time wasted chasing after the wrong people, pursuing people who have left a company and other dead ends. How can a company know the data it most likely pays to receive is in fact good? It’s not a simple task, but there are some definitive ways in which to ensure your data is verified and optimal for your team’s needs.

  1. It comes from a reliable source. Good data is not inexpensive. If an organization tries to sell you data based on price point, beware. That’s a red flag they obtained the data in a less than optimal way from less than quality sources. Even more dangerous is trying to find data via methods like crowdsourcing or web scraping. Good data—truly good data—is an investment, but one that will pay off down the road.
  1. It applies human brainpower to the verification process. The best way to test and verify data is to apply both technology and human intelligence to it. Using a combination of big data analysis and research conducted by teams of analysts has been proven to yield data that performs optimally and holds up. This approach closes the gap between identification and insight, leading to an increase in qualified leads, engagement (mostly in the form of phone calls, demos and meetings) and ultimately, sales.
  1. It is updated on a regular basis. Even good data can begin to erode quickly, due to near-constant personnel changes within, into and out of companies.  Poor data contributes to sales and marketing reps spending about two-thirds of their time on data management and other non-sales activities, impacting both the top and bottom lines. The solution? The same team of researchers who verify data should be updating it at a minimum of every 90 days to ensure its quality and accuracy.
  1. It’s managed well. Data can be contaminated via a number of means, beginning with whether the data was originally entered correctly, whether it is maintained consistently and at consistent touchpoint throughout the data process, and whether it issued and interpreted correctly at the point of access. If data is not managed well, entire data sets can become ‘noisy’ due to contamination, preventing them from delivering the desired results and ROI. As part of the overall data verification and updating process, data must be managed using a top-down approach that looks at entire data sets as a whole, then breaks them down into categories and applies testing procedures to be sure contamination has not crept in.

It’s clear there is data, and there is good data. What’s not as clear is how to find trustworthy sources of data that offer consistent, continual management and care. When negotiating with sales and marketing vendors, don’t be afraid to test them on the four points above, asking for proof they’re delivering on each of these integral components. If they can verify that they deal in only verified data, you can feel confident in making the investment.

Katie Bullard is Chief Marketing Officer at DiscoverOrg, responsible for leading the company’s global marketing and growth functions. DiscoverOrg is a leading global sales and marketing intelligence tool used by more than 2,000 of the world’s fastest-growing companies to accelerate growth. @Katie_E_Bullard.