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Bad Data = Bad Everything

Henry Schuck

September 19th, 2016

You’re building, re-building, or optimizing your sales team – good for you. Where do you begin?

Let’s use pizza (because everyone loves pizza) as an analogy.

You MUST have good dough – that’s your people – without dough, a pizza isn’t really a pizza. Then you’ve got to have cheese – that’s product training, company training, sales training – if you have good dough and good cheese, you have cheesy bread. You don’t really have pizza yet, but you’re close. You still need sauce. Bad sauce will ruin the pizza. Good sauce can make all the difference. And when you’re building or rebuilding a sales team, that sauce is data. Get it right and that perfect combination of cheese, dough, and toppings – like dialers, cadencing tools, etc. – is off the charts. Get it wrong and you’ll sit around wondering, “What is it about this pizza that just isn’t right?”

Bad sauce = bad pizza. In sales, bad data = bad everything.

So, where should you start with data? A data optimization strategy involves accurate data sources, data integration, data enrichment, and data clean up. Simply put: you need a great data source, and you need to integrate that data directly into your daily sales workflow tools.

Human-Verified Data Wins Every Time

When thinking about data sources, there are two distinct groups of data: datasets that are curated by people…and everything else. Human-verified data has been cleansed and updated by a person who discerns if the data is correct – as opposed to an algorithm that simply fills a field or makes an “educated” guess about what’s accurate and what isn’t.

Without humans, data requires the end user (read: your sales team) to update it manually. Manually entered data is often out-of-date the minute it goes in. For instance, individuals don’t typically update their LinkedIn profiles the moment they accept a new job offer. Material sourced by scraping bots isn’t verified and should make the user wary. Chances are, it’s wrong.

Here’s the thing: even validated and human-verified data is worthless unless there is a workflow tool in place to that keeps it refreshed and enters it into your CRM, Marketing Automation tool, SDR tool, and/or dialer system. It’s like putting some sauce on your pizza, leaving it out for a week and expecting it to still be good – data, like sauce, decays.

If you have great data, then you need a way for your reps to seamlessly integrate it into their workflow tools. You and I both know that when given the choice to fill out Industry, Exact Title, Direct Dial, Email, Reporting Structure, Employee Size, Revenue, SIC Code, NAICS Code, and Tech Stack Information your sales reps, God bless ‘em, will only enter Name, Title, Phone, and Email. This leaves your CRM system with many holes. The point? Data needs a mechanism to automatically refresh – otherwise it gets bad immediately.

Data Optimization Cycles Return Value

So how do you automate this process? Whether you use Salesforce, Zoho, Bullhorn, Marketo, Eloqua, Hubspot, etc. DiscoverOrg has built tight integrations into those platforms to ensure that our data updates in real-time – where you need it, when you need it. If your data provider doesn’t offer an integration that includes regular data cleansing processes, then you’ve created a vicious cycle.

To sum it up, the foundation of a successful sales strategy centers on three things:

1) Data sources that are human-verified

2) Tight integrations between CRM and data sources

3) Fresh and complete data, regularly updated through clean and append tools

It takes the proper mix of all these ingredients to make a truly satisfying sales team. And once it’s built out correctly, you’ll have a lot of extra dough for more pizza.

About the author

Henry Schuck

Henry Schuck is the CEO of DiscoverOrg. He founded the company from his law school apartment when he was 23 years old. Since then, he has guided the organization to 9 consecutive years of fast growth – including funding rounds with TA Associates, Goldman Sachs BDC, and Antares Capital. The company now employs 300 people and is on a $60m+ run rate.

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