Our stance on B2B data is no secret. Although we’ve said it before, we feel it’s worth repeating: Prospect and customer data is the most critical asset a B2B organization can own.  

Think about it, without contact information, how would you sell, market, or provide quality customer service? The short answer is—you wouldn’t be able to.

If you’re like most modern companies, you already have access to some sort of contact database. But, collecting data and having access to it is only one small step toward data-driven success. Data quality and cleanliness is where the real power lies.

Today we’re talking about data hygiene and the drastic shift happening in database maintenance right now. Keep reading.

Automated Data Maintenance: The Future of Data Hygiene

The importance of ongoing data hygiene

We can’t stress this enough: Bad data shouldn’t be taken lightly. If not for the sake of your sales and marketing campaigns, do it for the sake of your bottom line.  The longer bad data remains in your database, the more expensive it becomes to cleanse.

Remember the 1-10-100 rule: It takes $1 to verify a record as it’s entered, $10 to cleanse, and $100 if nothing is done (source). This adds up quickly, consider these statistics:

  • 40% of business objectives fail due to inaccurate data (source)
  • Bad data costs U.S. businesses more than $611 billion each year (source)
  • Inaccurate data has a direct impact on the bottom line of 88% of businesses, with the average company losing 12% of its revenue as a result (source)

Dirty data is a real problem for most companies—due to both the rapid rate at which data decays and poor maintenance practices. The worst part? These statistics probably won’t improve any time soon. Here’s why (source):

  • 40% of email users change their email address at least once every two years
  • 15% of email users change their email address one or more times a year
  • 20% of all postal addresses change every year
  • 18% of all telephone numbers change every year
  • 21% of all CEOs change every year
  • 25-33% of email addresses become outdated every year
  • 60% of people change job titles within their organizations each year

So what’s a company to do? Fortunately, technological advancements have made it easier than ever to cleanse and maintain your database. In fact, we venture to say such advancements have changed the course of history.

The old method: One-time database auditing

In the past, data issues were solved with one-time data audits. Then, once the project was complete, companies would promptly forget about data maintenance until the next time their data decayed to the point it was no longer usable.

For reference, a standard data audit looks something like this: Companies manually analyze their existing database to highlight inconsistencies or inaccuracies. Then, sometimes with the help of a data solution, the gaps and errors are rectified. Simple, right?

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this process, technology has allowed for more advanced, ongoing data hygiene practices.  And, unfortunately, one-time data fixes are no longer a match for data decay.

The new method: Ongoing, automated database maintenance

As your prospects and customers change jobs and contact information it’s critical that you keep up with them. Rather than scheduling the occasional data audit, you must now integrate database maintenance and ongoing data hygiene into your day-to-day workflow.

SiriusDecisions says it best, “Organizations must shift their focus from one-time data cleansing to ongoing data maintenance to turn the tide.” If you’re shaking your head right about now, hear us out. We know that, as a marketing, sales, or operations professional, the last thing you need is another task to check off your daily to-do list.

But here’s the good news: it’s now easier than ever to prioritize ongoing data hygiene and automate this process. Most data providers are coming out with a ‘set it and forget it’ option. With the click of a button, your database will be cleaned, appended, and normalized on a set schedule.

Final thoughts about automated data maintenance and ongoing database hygiene practices.

Although ongoing data hygiene is becoming standard practice, it’s still imperative that your company adopts a data-driven mindset from the top down. While it’s simple enough to find a database solution, you still need to do your research and select a product that will fit your data maintenance needs. And lastly, be sure to ask about ongoing, automated data maintenance.

If you’d like to learn more about this shift in database maintenance, check out these recent blog posts:

With the ZoomInfo for Salesforce Suite, you can ensure the information in your database is always the most accurate and current with automatic and scheduled updates.

Protect your email reputation with access to the most accurate and up-to-date email addresses, decrease the time-to-action with better routing, and improve segmentation and lead nurturing.

Let us worry about database maintenance so you can worry about more important things. Contact us today to learn more.

About the author

Ryan Hadfield

Ryan Hadfield is a content marketing director at ZoomInfo, the leading B2B contact data solution.

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