Unlike a social media friends list, a B2B data list is about quality over quantity
How many friends do you have on this online profile? Or how many followers do you have on that platform?
It's a question anyone who has ever ventured into the world of social media is familiar with.
The number of friends or followers we accumulate online has become a benchmark of the success of our online outreach. But the real question should be, how many of these profiles you are "friends" with do you actually know?
Compiling a large number of online acquaintances might sound impressive, but if you don't actually know them then what's the point.
All too often this focus on quantity of contacts creeps into the sourcing and compilation of B2B data lists and the more pressing matter of developing a quality list gets lost.
Many businesses already have some form of database but all too often it is compiled of a mix of full names, half names, job titles from five years ago and even out of date company details - none of which is beneficial.
A focused and high quality B2B data list is far more beneficial than a canyon of information which cannot be interpreted or used effectively.
This is a serious challenge to many businesses, as highlighted in a report by the Data Quality Index, revealing that 40% of leads compiled or provided to businesses contained bad data.
The study found:
- 15% contained duplicate data
- 8% had missing fields
- 11% included invalid formatting or ranges
- 6% had invalid email or physical addresses
In this blog we'll take a look at how you can measure the quality of a B2B data list.
Completeness of data
Incomplete data is the bane of any data list as it instantly reduces the effectiveness and reliability of information and can render it useless to a campaign - all because a data field was left blank.
Knowing that "Craig" is someone in a particular business you should be contacting is pretty useless, not least because there might be more than one Craig.
To ensure data is complete, you need to be sure all data items are recorded. Think about the last time you tried to find someone on a social media platform, now think how much harder it would be if you only had a first name.
Have you ever received a marketing email related to something you once signed up for weeks or months ago and then almost immediately received the exact same email?
Chances are your details have been entered into a system twice and no-one has noticed.
Now think about it; what did this do of your opinion of the business the duplicate emails came from?
Duplicated data is unfortunately prevalent within many data lists.
This is largely down to the fact that many suppliers, or individual businesses, pull their information from multiple sources like Companies House or 118 Information and then have to sort through the information to remove the duplicates.
When you're dealing with hundreds or thousands of entries it can be easy for duplicates to slip through the cracks.
A quality data list - especially one being compiled from multiple sources - needs to be checked for duplicates to protect a campaign’s integrity.
Time is always a factor
You could create the most in-depth, accurate (more on that later) and compliant data list your business has ever seen, but if it's taken months to compile the chances are many of the data entries will be very out of date by the time it comes to using the data.
Many businesses underestimate how quickly B2B data can deteriorate (in reality it's like buying a computer; once you've bought it, it is already out of date).
Delving back into the archives, businesses and suppliers might find huge swaths of data – but if the information is not up to date its value is limited.
Accuracy of the data
Accuracy of data is one of the most important things to consider when it comes to compiling a B2B data list.
Data which is not up-to-date, entered incorrectly when it was collected or just data which has decayed naturally over time can be a death knell to a campaign.
After all, nothing will put a prospect off doing business with you quicker than not taking the time to make sure you have the right name. Or worse still, a prospect not getting the chance to engage with you because it never got to them in the first place.
Legislation like the General Data Protection Regulation has become almost synonymous with the use of data today, and ensuring a data list is compliant is a key quality check which must be carried out.
Even before GDPR, email marketing has been subject to the laws under the Privacy and Electronics Communications Regulations (PECR) while sales calls are already regulated by The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and the Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS).
When using data it is vital that you check it is in line with these rules and regulations.
Anyone who has ever owned a car knows the tightrope you walk when you wait until something big goes wrong before you start to take care of it.
Even a simple thing like not topping up the coolant can result in the engine overheating and in the worst case scenario the need to get the radiator replaced - all because you didn't buy a bottle of anti-freeze for a few pounds.
The same goes for the maintenance of a data list.
Allowing an entire list to decay over time is far more costly than carrying out regular health checks and ensuring entries are kept up to date.
You can find out more about the importance of data audits here
Can Marketscan help?
In a word, yes.
We have invested the time and effort into the creation of our Megabase, which includes:
- More than 3.1 million actively trading businesses
- Details of 4.3 million decision makers
- 1.27 million email addresses
- 2.45 million telephone numbers
Megabase enables a much deeper dive into data as well, going beyond the Standard Industry Classification (SIC) codes which are issued by the government to classify sectors. We use a unique industry classification system designed solely for the marketer with over 2,300 industry types to provide improved targeting.
Regular data health checks also ensure the data we provide is the most current and compliant data to give your business and campaign the best chance of success.
For more information on how to get the most out of data download our Complete Guide to B2B Data eGuide now