In the third and final blog post in the Good CRM Data trilogy, Planning Your Data Model and Tips to Avoid Data Duplication in Your CRM, I want to discuss the final component to building a good and reliable database. And as if you had not guessed, it is the actual data itself.
So let’s get a couple of facts out on the table:
- The shelf life of any list is about 30 days. The migratory nature of business today means people change jobs frequently. The list you got from your new sales rep last year probably has a very low accuracy rate today.
- No one has a perfect list. They all contain bad data, though some are better than others. Most of the list providers today will claim a 10% accuracy rate and for the most part, that is probably close to what we have found.
- Determine the purpose of your data. If your plan is to execute e-mail campaigns, the amount of time you will spend verifying data will be low compared to higher cost activities like direct selling. Remember to do the math on how much time you are investing in finding and verifying data versus buying. The average contact with e-mail address costs about 45 cents versus about 37 cents per minute to pay a rep to track the information down.
Types of Data Sources
Let’s visit some of the data sources with which I have had experience and provide objective feedback on each. With all of these sources, the goal is to get it into your CRM quickly and spend the least amount of time updating it. Most companies have integration with the top CRMs or are working on some integration.
LinkedIn The top pick for accuracy in my opinion is LinkedIn. Because the data is managed by the user, it is more likely to be correct. If you are a premium user, LinkedIn provides a very nice integration with a number of CRM solutions as shown in the picture.
The problem with LinkedIn, however, is that you are not able to directly transfer data from LinkedIn. LinkedIn makes it very clear in their integration agreement that data transfer is not allowed – look but don’t keep. If you choose to use LinkedIn as a source, be sure to check out Salesloft. They have a very unique product that allows you to use LinkedIn and adds email discovery as well as export capabilities.
NetProspex & InsideView Next in the list are the compilers. These are companies who scour the web for data, verify it through a number of sources, and then server it back to you for a fee. The two most notable are NetProspex and InsideView. InsideView has been a good source of data for us, as has NetProspex. If you are looking for very specific data on a company or person, such as what technology they have installed, NetProspex is the way to go. Though they do not have as much integration with all CRMs they do have beta integrations in the work. InsideView, on the other hand, has excellent integration. You can transfer contact information from their database to yours with the click of a button.
With a recently announced partnership between Microsoft and InsideView, I can only expect their service and data to get better. Both organizations have annual agreements, which is by far the least costly way to go and merits my recommendation.
Data.comNext are the crowdsourced models like Data.com. Though this is the least expensive way to get data, the accuracy is often suspect. If your goal is to get a marketing list you plan to email blast, this will be the best route. Data.com has an excellent pricing model as well as an “all-you-can-consume” model. Owned by Salesforce.com, they have excellent integration with Salesforce, but not so much with other CRMs. Data.com has indicated they are doing more cross checking of data to improve accuracy, but until they change their crowdsourcing model, I think they will be challenged.
Data Brokers: Alesco Data Group
Last but not least are the data brokers. These are companies whose business is selling data. They often will get the data from the same sources you would, but provide value added services at a sometimes lower price. Though there are hundreds out there, we recommend checking our Alesco Data Group. They have been a long-term player in the data market and have some unique products that differentiate them from the pack. They are definitely worth checking out.
As the last in three post regarding data, I hope you ended up realizing that you will spend years developing a good database from which to build your business. It is expensive and time consuming. Stop thinking about data in terms of Excel spreadsheets but rather the foundation of your business. Protect it, manage it and more than anything else value it. At some point you will look at your database as a source of revenue and realize the value data is to your business.