Data Quality is Your Sales 2.0 Problem!

Updated: May 19, 2010

No-one feels the data quality issue more keenly than your marketing department, who respond to your request for a targeted vertical or geographical campaign, but find that the key contacts are wrong or out of date, the quality of the data you bought in doesn't live up to expectation, or the filter can't be done because the vertical or geographical field has only been filled in some of the time. So your campaign goes out to a third of the market you were hoping to address.

Data quality has arrived at the top of the in-tray for the CRM providers as well. They know that they can produce the most comprehensive analytical and reporting tools, but if the underlying data is not trustworthy, then sales leaders don't have the confidence to run their business on what the information is telling them.

So where does that leave you? Forecasts get done in excel, or on paper, forecast calls and meetings take up valuable selling time, and still, across the industry, around 50% of forecast deals don't come in during the forecast period. In the last couple weeks we have seen the major CRM providers attempt to address this, with the acquisition of jigsaw by salesforce.com and partnership between Oracle CRM on Demand and zoominfo.

But will the data providers be able to make enough of an impact on data quality? It depends of course on the quality of their data, and if you've ever bought data, you'll know that the quality, accuracy and currency of their data is not perfect, despite their protestations to the contrary.

In the Sales 2.0 context your reliance on the veracity of the information you act on is even more acute. The selling role is less face-to-face than it was. More of the buying process takes place over the web, and more of the selling role is conducted remotely or using Sales 2.0 resources like social media, so you're even more reliant on the information being right.

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