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The Costly Consequences of Bad Data for Small Sales Teams

The estimated reading time for this post is 6 minutes

Stop Burning Money on Bad Sales Data 

If you’re a sales or business development leader at a small company with a small or nonexistent sales team, you appreciate how crucial every lead is for your bottom line. 

But what if the data you’re relying on to generate those leads is bad? After all, the List IS the Strategy, right?

Bad data can not only waste time and resources, but it can also bottom out your bottom line if not tended to promptly.

Why is Prospect Contact Data So bad?

According to a 2021 Bureau of Labor Statistics (US) survey the average employee turnover is 57.3%.  This staggering number is segmented into two main groups: voluntary turnover (25%) and involuntary turnover (29%) and high performers (loosely defined) comprise 3% of the total turnover (so 54.3% are mid or low performers).

In a world of quiet-quitting, remote work and bastardized hybrid work schemes, the workforce is more volatile than ever.

The implication is that the likelihood of you being able to reach your Ideal Prospect using your CRM contact data from the year before or even last year is likely incorrect or wrong. Relying on such Sales data is like relying on a bridge to nowhere.

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Where your money is likely to go when investing in bad sales data….

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The Importance of Quality Data in Sales

As a sales expert specializing in B2B sales at expanding small businesses and  having made hundreds of thousands of outbound call attempts, I’ve seen firsthand my share of poor sales data. So, I understand the importance of having high-quality contact data in both outbound and inbound sales motions.  

Here are some primary benefits of good sales contact data:

  • High-quality contact data allows sales teams to be more efficient with their time and resources. With accurate contact information, sales representatives can focus on reaching out to the right people and avoid wasting time on dead-end leads. This can help to streamline the sales process and increase overall productivity.

  • Good contact data can also improve targeting efforts. By having a detailed understanding of their target audience, businesses can create more targeted and effective sales and marketing strategies. This can lead to better engagement with potential customers, ultimately resulting in higher conversion rates.

  • Having good contact data can also help businesses build stronger relationships with their customers. By maintaining accurate and up-to-date information on their customers, businesses can tailor their sales and marketing efforts to meet their specific needs and preferences. This can help to foster a deeper sense of trust and loyalty between the business and its customers, leading to increased retention rates and long-term success.

The Persona Non Grata Syndrome

In our work with small businesses and pre-series A startups, we’ve found that most owners and founders have a general idea of the psychographics of their Ideal clients but do not have enough reference clients to affirm these personas, hence much of the time making them Non Grata (Not Welcome – At least as a customer). Accordingly, their marketing and sales teams fail in their outreach attempts, through no fault of their own:

  • Expend a significant amount of time and resources attempting to connect to the wrong people.  If they had accurate contact details of their hypothetical ideal prospects then they could quickly test for goodness of fit.  Instead they spend hours and weeks building contacts lists from a variety of sources that end up being the wrong people, the wrong data or both!

  • Even when conversations take place, the owners and sales team discover that they’re not speaking with someone in the buying committee or have the problem they’re trying to solve.  With accurate contact data and account mapping you can virtually eliminate this issue.

When using accurate and validated sales data, your sales and marketing teams are targeting the right individuals which can create prospect journeys and messaging that resonates with them, thereby improving brand value and awareness.

The Consequences of Bad Data

I can say with certainty that having the wrong sales data can be incredibly detrimental to your sales efforts. Without accurate and relevant data:

  • Your sales team may be wasting their time and resources on leads that will never convert. This is because they may be pursuing leads that do not fit your ideal customer profile, or they may be using outdated or incorrect information to try to make a sale. This can result in a lot of wasted effort, as well as frustration and disappointment when deals do not close.

  • Without this data, sales and marketing people can’t  personalize their approach to each individual lead, tailoring your messaging and tactics to their specific needs and pain points.

  • Businesses need this data so they can increase their chances of success and help build stronger relationships with your customers over time. Ultimately, having the right sales data can make all the difference when it comes to closing deals and growing your business.

Damaged brand reputation 

The Sales and Marketing teams are the leading edge of your company’s brand in the market.  By using incorrect sales contact data these teams can do significant damage to your brand’s reputation.

Inaccurate or outdated information can lead to mistakes and misunderstandings that can negatively impact the prospect and customer experience. For example, if your sales team is using incorrect corporate revenue information (a firmographic data point), this can lead to pricing discrepancies and frustrated customers. Similarly, if your team is pursuing leads that are not a good fit for your product or service, this can lead to negative reviews and a damaged reputation.

Furthermore, in today’s digital age, word of mouth spreads quickly (especially in small highly targeted groups like municipalities or healthcare professionals), and negative reviews can have a significant impact on a brand’s reputation. With social media and online review platforms, customers have more power than ever before to share their experiences and opinions. 

If your brand is associated with inaccurate or outdated information, this can quickly spread, leading to a loss of trust and credibility among your target audience. Ultimately, having the right sales data is essential not only for closing deals but also for building a strong brand reputation and ensuring customer satisfaction.

Wasted Time

I’ve spoken to so many sales leaders over the years and have heard quite a few stories (enough to write a book)  on how wrong sales data can lead to wasted time and effort on conversations with non-buyers. 

This can be particularly frustrating for sales teams who may be excited about what they believe to be new sales opportunities, only to find out that the leads they are pursuing are not a good fit for their product or service. This can be a significant distraction for the sales team, as they may spend valuable time and resources pursuing leads that are unlikely to convert.

Moreover, the false sense of opportunity that comes from having the wrong sales data can be detrimental to a sales team’s morale and motivation. When sales reps are misled into thinking that they have a pipeline full of potential buyers, only to find out that those opportunities are not real, it can be demotivating and even demoralizing. 

This can lead to a decrease in productivity, a loss of enthusiasm for the job and staff turnover, which can ultimately impact the bottom line. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that your sales team has access to accurate and up-to-date sales data, so they can focus their efforts on pursuing real sales opportunities and avoid wasting time on conversations with non-buyers.

Investing in Data is Investing in your Success

Investing in high-quality data may seem like an added expense, but it’s crucial for the success and growth of your small business. By improving your outbound sales development and generating more revenue, you’ll see a significant return on investment.

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