What is Data Decay and How Does it Affect Your Business?
Having useful data is a crucial part of successfully finding new clients and maintaining your current client list. If your information isn’t up to date, it can result in a business loss, both returning or new. As such, any business owner must learn about what data decay is and how to prevent it.
What is Data Decay?
Data decay refers to the loss of data related to your client base over time.
With age, contact information, company information, and other pertinent information from past and current clients become outdated.
It’s estimated that data decays at a rate of three percent per month for business-to-business companies, or about 70.3 percent per year, according to some studies.
Data Decay and Sales
If you’re in sales, data decay is a serious problem that can stand in your way of finding good leads or maintaining client relationships. All that data you spent time and money to get will go to waste if you don’t properly maintain it before it decays for good.
Data decay can lead to a loss of sales and clients if not addressed. In return, that can lower your conversion rates, which is the number of leads that end in actual sales.
Since your team relies on your client or lead information to make sales, it’s crucial to protect yourself from data decay.
Common Data Decay Problems
While all your data can decay, some information tends to change rather regularly with time. Common data decay culprits include:
- Points of Contact – People leave companies, and if that individual was your only contact for a company, it’d be that much harder for you to reclose the sale. If your connection leaves the company, it can also be challenging to find someone familiar with your business who can vouch for you.
- Phone Numbers – People change their numbers all the time. However, they often fail to update their contacts of this change or even change it online.
- Emails – Mergers, job changes, or switching to new software can all result in email changes. If your contact had an email change, your message might never reach them.
- Company Needs – Companies you once sold to can go paperless, switch product focus, or make other significant changes. These changes may affect whether they still do business with you or what their needs now are.
- Office Locations – Just as individuals get mail from previous owners or renters, so too do businesses. A location change may mean your mail isn’t reaching your client.
- Hours of Operations – Your calls or emails may be left unanswered because the business you’re selling to isn’t open on Tuesdays anymore or only work from home that day. Calling when an office is closed may decrease the odds of them calling you back.
How to Prevent DATA Decay
While decay is inevitable, there are easy steps you can take to maintain your data and update it. Easy fixes may include:
- Phone Number Validators – One of the easiest ways to tell if a phone number is still operational is to check it, but you don’t need to do that manually. Application programming interfaces (API) can run as many numbers as you need to determine if the number is active. Consider investing in a tool for validating phone numbers in bulk to avoid calling disconnected numbers. You’ll be able to run spreadsheets of your clients’ and leads’ contact information.
- Check in With Clients Regularly – You likely do this already to keep the client updated on your progress, but you still might not be fully aware of organization or operation changes on their end. This is especially true for points of contact information. If you don’t check in with your clients, you’ll never know if the data you have for them is still accurate. Pick a date to call your clients and validate or update their data.
- Allow Clients to Update Their Information – An even easier way to update your client’s data is to have them do it for you. Create an online portal through your website that’ll let clients update their information themselves, just as they would for a personal account. You can also send out an online survey that asks customers to verify their information.
- Use Third-Party Data – There are a growing number of online companies that let you check the contact information of companies and individuals. These sites can also help you generate additional client leads.
- Create a Data Decay Prevention Plan – Create a standardized plan for all your employees to check for data decay. This could be as simple as setting aside a day for all employees to call and email their clients to verify or creating a physical checklist for your employees to follow.
Data Decay and Your Business
Data decay can result in the loss of clients and additional challenges to finding new ones.
People leave companies, get promoted and switch job roles, or simply change their phone numbers.
Your sales team will need to check in frequently with clients and take other proactive steps to prevent data decay.