Bad Data is Killing Your Company’s Sales… Here’s What You Can Do About It

Let’s sit down and have a chat about sales data.
Maybe it’s just a bit messy. Maybe it’s totally decayed. Maybe it’s incomplete, or irrelevant, or you just can’t get to the bottom of it all. 
Either way, odds are: it’s costing you business. 
Luckily, collecting, utilizing, and preserving your data is easier than you think. Let’s break down how the future of data can transform your sales potential, how you can beat back some of the biggest threats to your data’s integrity—and how you can turn those new data-driven insights into cold hard cash. 
Data is Your Sales Team’s Super Power
From email response rates, to direct sales—data is linked to your profits. 

In fact, 50 to 75 percent of a B2B marketing campaign’s success comes down to the accuracy of data. And in some stages of your funnel, clean data can net you a 25% higher conversion rate than your disorganized competition. 
Now, saying “who cares if my data isn’t perfect” is as good as saying “who cares about a HUGE potential profit loss.”
The answer to the second question is “everyone”. The answer to the first question should be the same. 
Here are just a few game-changing ways that you can turn big data, into big wins. 
Game Changer #1: Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics is a crystal ball for lead qualification—and just about every other decision your sales team needs to make. Put simply: it’s taking the data you’ve built up in the past, and using it to predict who will buy in the future. 
Predictive takes your current customer database, mixes it with data from external providers, and gives you a holistic view of who your prospects are. Then, using machine learning, it funnels data through statistical models—continuously refining it into concrete patterns. The result? Nearly spooky insight into who your customers are, where you can find them, and when they’re ready to buy. 
Why is this a big deal?

The data that comes out of predictive analytics yields some seriously powerful patterns. They can improve customer databases, source net-new prospects, and give near psychic-insights into which prospects are ready to buy. 
Or, in a nutshell, as defined by Swift Capital:  
“We know 80% of our revenue will come from 20% of our prospects. And 80% of pipeline will come from 20% of our campaigns. Predictive identifies the 20%.”
Beyond that, predictive analytics is set to grow…and fast. A recent report suggests, within the period of a year, 36.8% of high growth companies will have invested in predictive. 
Hint: if you’re hoping to be a “high growth” company, this is where to look. 
Game Changer #2: Sentiment Analysis
If you think of data as a set of digits and demographics—you're missing some pretty big opportunities.
Introducing, sentiment analysis: data that reveals how your customers (and potential customers!) really think about your brand. 
Sentiment analysis software can extract meaning from millions of messages—revealing the positive and negative emotions behind the torrents of text. Now every email, social media message, or chat pop up, can be broken down—dissected by syntax, voice, and tone—and harnessed for a better understanding of your customer base.
Why is this a big deal?
Sentiment analysis hones the masses of inbound intel your company gets everyday. From that, it creates a nuanced portrait of your market, in a time where that understanding is critical. 
Looking forward, the companies that excel, will win on customer experience. Right now, of companies that deliver best-in-class service, 70% rely on customer feedback
So for a customer experience that gives you a competitive advantage—you’ll need a better understanding of who your customer is. And for that—sentiment analysis is the key.
But if emotional data still sounds a little “soft” to you, know that sentiment analysis doesn’t live in isolation. Pair these insights with behaviour models, and you can easily increase your predictive power—yielding more accurate revenue projections, better leads, and a higher sales volume. 
Game Changer #3: Pipeline and Data Visualization
Your sales data is only as good as the impression it makes on your team. Maybe moms who like you on social media convert better than the business owners on your newsletter. But if that insight is buried in spreadsheets, it might as well not exist. 
Collabsport Collect Pro visually represents contact engagement data—right on your dashboard. We’ve seen this feature boost sales’ teams accountability, and better define their goals and action items. 
One of our favorite new visualization tricks is pipeline visualization. When you model your sales pipeline, you see (literally) where your deals fall. Your sales team knows when to reach out. Everyone saves time, and you make money. 
However it’s modeled, data visualization is the key to understanding your CRM’s data—faster, more accurately, and more insightfully. 
Why is this a big deal?

As the wealth of data we have access to grows, data visualization becomes more and more important. Reports show that you’re 28% more likely to find timely information if you rely on visual data discovery tools—rather than a typical reporting dashboard. 
Ultimately, data visualization answers the question of: "I have the numbers—now what?" 
And that answer leads to smarter insights, more relevant action items, and in the end—an increase in sales. 
Inaccuracy is Your Sales Team’s Kryptonite
As the sales landscape changes, your team will rely more on data. And the teams who have a handle on their data, will have a clear competitive advantage. 
So it’s time for a moment of truth. Ask yourself: how accurate is my data? 
And before you answer—take a good look at where your data lives. In all likelihood, that’s your CRM. 
83% of senior executives claim their biggest challenge with CRMs is getting their staff to use the software. They're not wrong. Less than 37% of sales reps actually do use their company’s CRM correctly. 
Meaning: if your system isn't automated, it’s definitely not fully accurate. 
But even if it is, or your team is made up of flawless input robots, there’s a greater threat to your data integrity be aware of: decay—the pesky result of our shifting digital footprints. 
A prospect gets a new job? Their old email is mucking up your database. Someone signs up for your email list, but uses a nickname? You might be stuck with duplicates. 
Some estimates put the average annual database decay at 25%—meaning every year, a quarter of your records could be irrelevant. 
And with visualization, sentiment analysis, and predictive analytics changing the sales landscape—75% accuracy just won’t cut it. 

Here to Save the Day: A Healthier Database
So the bad news is: most companies are struggling to reign in their data. 
The good news is: once you reign in yours, you’ll have a leg up on the competition. 
Here are a few, easy ways to get ahead. 

1. Give your database a checkup. Keeping your data healthy means giving it a thorough diagnosis. At a minimum, take a look at your: 

  • Email Bounce Rates: Are they much higher than 2%? Are they increasing, or decreasing? 
  • Auto-replies: Are they mostly out-of-office? Or do many indicate a job change?
  • Last Touch Report: Check your CRM. Who hasn’t heard from you in 90 days? 6 months? A year? Those contacts have probably gone stale. 
  • Non-responses: Maybe they're just not that into you. Maybe their contact info, just isn't that accurate. 

Throughout this process, data visibility can make all the difference. Investing in software that makes bounce rates or non-responses clear, current, and easy to observe—can go a long way towards making database checkups painless. 
2. And do it regularly. Ideally, you should be monitoring and cleaning your database at least once a month. If you’re a small business—make sure to give it a thorough scrub yearly. 
And when we say scrub, we mean every single data point. Reports show the cost of dirty data escalates. It’ll cost you about $1 to verify a record as it's entered, $10 to scrub and cleanse it later, and $100 if you do nothing at all.  
3. Improve your CRM adoption. So scrubbing your data cuts you from $100 to $10. But if you want that expense down to a dollar per record—your data entry needs to be spotless. 22% of all reported problems to successful CRM implementation were people-related or linked to user adoption. Tools like Collabspot, simplify manual data entry by integrating your CRM with your inbox. Automating this process can save you time, and save your data’s integrity. 
4. Prevent duplicates. Duplicates are a plague every database. They waste your sales team’s time, as they sift through redundant prospects. And they skew the results of your emails, tests, and audience insights. Investing in software that automatically deletes or merges duplicate contents, could save you money and time in the long run. 
Next Steps
The future of sales is data driven. The present of sales is filled with data that doesn’t work. 
The companies that grow, are the companies that take data seriously. They’re the ones that harness it: to predict how and when prospects will buy, to mine how their customer base feels about their brand, and to visualize which action items will lead to success. 
To be a company leading the future of sales, look to your present CRM. And remember not to look away from it for too long.