Data Accuracy's Impact on the Marketing Automation Space

Without the right tools, marketing and IT professionals lack the accurate data necessary to target current and potential customers with the highly relevant information that often leads to conversions.

Though CRM and marketing automation systems have become commonplace across industries, many companies still have yet to successfully employ these tools to their benefit. While many have partnered with various vendors in the space, countless others continue to approach their data collection and lead generation tactics with antiquated Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and inconsistent customer profiles. But, if vendors are to expand their reach and fill the gaps in today's IT environment, they must first explore the current state of the space.

DiscoverOrg's "Room for Improvement: CRM and Marketing Automation Usage at IT Companies" report surveyed 359 North American marketing and sales personnel in the IT industry to examine and quantify the impact CRM and marketing automation tools are having on work habits, productivity, and data integrity. Because determining the true ROI of lead generation efforts and the cost of purchasing and maintaining these systems is still largely undetermined due to lack of trust in the quality of the data, the study sought to: uncover the most popular vendors used and their accompanying pain points; establish the significance of data quality and the steps necessary to ensure data accuracy; and comprehend the different levels of segmentation used to target new customers.

The following statistics highlight the current CRM and marketing automation landscape:

  • Of those polled, more than 46 percent use SalesForce as their current CRM system. However, nearly 24 have no CRM system in place, leaving them to track sales activity via Microsoft Excel or not track their lead and sales pipeline until revenue has been realized.
  • While 14 percent of respondents are currently using Marketo for their marketing automation needs, and 9 percent are using Hubspot, nearly 61 percent have no marketing automation system in place.
  • The majority of respondents can segment their database by state (80 percent), city (77 percent), and area code (65 percent). However, due to incomplete data, many are unable to segment by company size (42 percent), job title (35 percent), or industry type (30 percent).
  • Respondents are primarily concerned with keeping data accurate in all systems (33 percent), getting sales personnel to use the automation tools (23 percent), and achieving significant ROI (18 percent).
  • While 30 percent of those surveyed would rank their data greater than80 percent accurate and 54 percent believe their data to be 50-79 percent accurate, nearly 14 percent would rank their data less than 50 percent accurate, and more than 2 percent would dump their data entirely.
  • To refresh their CRM data, 58 percent of respondents rely on sales representatives to update and cleanse records, 22 percent append with an outside provider, and 21 percent have no strategy whatsoever.

Key takeaway: According to 72 percent of those polled, accuracy remains the most attractive element of any sales intelligence tool. However, data accuracy also happens to be the primary challenge companies struggle with when it comes to their automation system and determining marketing ROI and sales productivity. In many instances, organizations put sales representatives in charge of data cleansing, yet 46 percent of respondents say doing so leads to more than half of their database being inaccurate. This technique, combined with the inability to segment based on current technologies deployed (61 percent), truly limits a company's capacity to target potential clients and make strategic plays to displace an organization's current vendor choice. Marketers and IT professionals require high quality lead and contact data in order to ensure highly relevant, targeted messaging gets in front of the right person, for accurate, detailed, and up-to-date information could mean the difference between success and failure in today's competitive environment.