Your B2B database is a constantly evolving entity that needs to be nurtured and maintained to keep it in tip-top condition, no matter how large or small it may be. The quality of your B2B data has a direct impact on your organisation, and on your ability to hit your marketing and sales targets and grow your business.
Even if your database appears to be in perfectly good working order, it is still important to put it under the microscope periodically. B2B data degrades, and with new data entering your CRM all the time, and data regulations to adhere to, it’s important to make sure that the information you hold is clean, correct, and compliant.
WHAT IS A DATA AUDIT?
A data audit is a process of systematically assessing the data to determine its quality. Auditing data involves looking at key metrics, to make conclusions about the properties of a data set.
Conducting a data audit will allow you to inspect your database to ensure that it is fit for purpose. In doing so this will also provide you with the confidence that your records are of the highest quality, and that they are not harbouring any risks to your business.
The positive knock-on effect from this is that you can plan and execute campaigns that are delivered to the people that would most benefit from your product or service.
In short, a data audit will enable you to get a firm grip on your records. In this way, you can be certain of the role that data is playing within your organisation – and that you won’t encounter any unwelcome surprises.
WHY Is a data audit SO IMPORTANT
Holding on to and using poor quality “dirty” data will limit your ability to score leads and win sales. B2B data decays at a rate of approximately 40% percent a year, therefore many of the records you currently have may no longer be relevant – whether because a business acquires new premises, or an individual leaves their role to take on a new position elsewhere.
Furthermore, some of your records might be inaccurate or missing details – perhaps a member of your sales team misheard certain details over the phone, or maybe a prospect didn’t fill out every field in a form online.
There is also a chance that your records may not be legally compliant. For example, if you bought a data list online from a supplier that didn’t have permission to pass on the information.
You need to be especially careful when purchasing data, otherwise, you run the risk of paying for records that will end up costing your business far more in the long run. To avoid putting your business at risk, it is always worth contacting a specialist data agency, such as Marketscan, if you wish to supplement your existing database with more records.
Ultimately, using bad data results in wasted time and resources as you pursue the wrong, or entirely inappropriate, leads. This can annoy people and damage your reputation – and the costs quickly add up too.
Eliminate illegal data with a data audit
Whether you have inherited an existing database, have licensed a dataset, or simply haven’t ever conducted a data audit on any of your data, you need to be absolutely sure that you are allowed to contact the people whose information is contained in your database.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) hands out hefty fines to companies that carry out unsolicited sales and marketing calls. LTH Holdings, a telephone marketing company from Cardiff, have been fined £145,000 for making 1.4 million calls selling funeral plans to people who were also registered with the TPS for a year between May 2019 to May 2020. The ICO received 41 complaints. The ICO has online reports that LTH adopted aggressive, coercive, and persuasive methods in its direct marketing, which is concerning given the target audience could be vulnerable people.
If you’re buying data, you need to establish its source of origin. Has it been obtained ethically and legally? Or is there some ambiguity about where it’s come from? Things may seem fine on the surface, but appearances can be deceptive.
Compiling high-quality data lists requires time and resources and this will be reflected in the price quoted by a good provider. A price that’s too good to be true may indicate that a provider has cut corners.
Does purchased data need to be audited?
There are a number of important questions that it’s a good idea to ask your data provider. For example, are all the records provided PECR compliant?
If you wish to purchase a dataset that includes telephone numbers, it is illegal to call anyone whose details appear on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) or Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS) registers. Therefore it’s important to ask your supplier if the lists they are supplying have been cross checked.
Even if you do business with a reputable B2B data supplier, you should at least perform an annual audit of the data you hold. At Marketscan, before any data is transferred to clients we perform 42 checks on the data, as well as cross-check it against the TPS and CTPS registers. We also offer monthly updates on any data our client’s license from us to remove any records that should no longer be used.
Can your data provider offer deliverability warranties? It’s unlikely that you will ever achieve a 100 percent deliverability rate as the variables are too numerous, but your provider should be able to demonstrate that your campaigns will get to their intended recipients the vast majority of the time. As an example, our delivery rates are over 90%.
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of your intuition. If you’re not convinced that your potential list provider is reputable, don’t dismiss your uneasiness. A good partner will be easily contactable through more than one route; they will be open about where they have obtained their data from – and, more importantly, they will be able to show evidence to prove it; and they will happily answer any questions you might have.
Having been in the industry for over 40 years, our approach is always consultative and we are proud to have developed our own unique database that combines B2B data from 5 of the UK’s top sources.
HOW TO IMPLEMENT A DATA AUDIT
A thorough data audit generally consists of three stages:
- Diagnosis – pinpointing the problem. Where are the faults in your data? What changes need to be made?
- Treatment – solving the problem. What steps do you need to take to clean up your data?
- Expansion – moving beyond the problem. How can you reach more of the right people?
You can carry out each of these steps by yourself or, if you feel like you need a helping hand, you can partner with a specialist B2B data consultancy.
By entrusting us with your data audit we will undertake a thorough and systematic review by matching your data to our MegabaseTM From there we can do the following:
- Amend inaccurate records
- Append and update missing information
- Remove duplicates and “goneaways”
- Flag illegal data
- Identify recurring customer profiles
- Calculate market penetration
For further reading on data cleansing read 3 ways dirty data could damage your business and