Alex Bistran, Director, Revenue Marketing, Zylotech
Imagine driving with a broken GPS that tells you to turn left when you should turn right, never gives you the correct speed limit for the road you’re on, and says you’ve reached your destination when you know you’re not even halfway there. It probably wouldn’t take long before you chucked that GPS out your car window. Is it any wonder, then, that sales and marketing teams are willing to chuck out big chunks of their data because of bad information?
The reality is that many business organizations have lost confidence in their customer data because of outdated information, incompleteness, inconsistencies, and irrelevance. This is particularly true for business-to-business (B2B) companies that rely on business contact information for their account-based marketing. People change roles and companies far more often than they change their home address. Emails change after a merger or acquisition. And employees frequently work hundreds of miles away from their regional or divisional headquarters, despite what their business cards may say. Yes, dealing with “bad” data is just the cost of doing business to business.
Data fact: 22 percent of customer data decays each year.
Bad data can hurt your bottom line
Of course, B2B organizations don’t simply settle for bad data. They try to fix it: through data cleansing, merging, munging, and filling in the gaps with trusted third-party data. This takes a lot of time and costs money while typically yielding only marginally better results. Unfortunately, bad data persists, negatively impacting sales and marketing efforts in a number of ways:
- Personalized messages that feature the wrong name or professional address (so much for knowing your customer!)
- Money spent on promotional messages and campaigns that never reach the right person
- Mistaking a single, large account for several smaller accounts
- Mixed messages sent to different contacts in the same organization
- Incomplete tracking data for campaign effectiveness measurement
- Inability to match prospects with your ideal customer profile
What B2B organizations need to succeed isn’t more data, but better data. In other words, they need data that is reliable, actionable, complete, and consolidated in a universal format that allows different organizational teams to share data effectively and track it consistently. To achieve this, many companies are turning to a new technology: the customer data platform (CDP).
CDPs are good for your data
The role of a CDP is to collect, organize, and operationalize your best data, which is typically the first-party data that comes into your business through various channels. In addition, some CDPs (like Zylotech’s CDP solution) can enhance your first-party data with trusted third-party data to fill in missing fields and create a 360-degree of your customers. Unlike a data warehouse, a CDP isn’t meant to be a storage place for all your data, just the small fraction of customer data that is relevant and actionable. And CDPs can do things that a data warehouse isn’t designed to do, such as compare data entries for consistency, check for changes to data over time, and highlight potential quality issues that could be undermining data confidence.
The key to a successful CDP is trust. Sales, marketing, and customer experience teams need to trust the data stored in their CDP to drive decisions, whether it’s deciding which accounts require immediate attention or which campaign messaging is most likely to resonate with a particular customer. By constantly refreshing data from your own customer interactions and combining it with validated, third-party B2B data to accurately reflect your contacts and accounts, a CDP provides a clean stream of actionable data that can be operationalized to flow through your marketing, sales, and customer service channels. And, importantly, that can lead to a healthier revenue stream too.
To understand and measure the ROI from a CDP, read my next blog or download our guide on B2B Customer Data Platforms here.