For some employees, the CRM represents no more than a company-wide Rolodex, enabling them to conveniently look up email addresses and phone numbers. These CRM users may view inaccurate data as a mere inconvenience. On the other end of the spectrum, we find the rainmakers and the marketing and business development (BD) teams. These power users are focused on growth and rely on the accuracy of their firm’s CRM to discover and nurture business opportunities.
David Caiati and Kristofer Bochat have been dealing with Data Quality Services (DQS) for several years. I met with them to gather their insights on the way CRMs are used.
Kristofer Bochat, Data Quality Manager at LexisNexis® InterAction® estimates that one-third of the data stored in CRMs becomes outdated within a year during normal times “because people are changing jobs, being promoted, changing locations, you name it.” Bochat notes that the “great resignation”, which took the world by surprise, is amplifying this statistic. For marketing and BD professionals this means that upwards of 33% of their marketing budget and efforts may go to waste as their messaging fails to reach its intended audience.
With hundreds of thousands of dollars in marketing budget at stake, data maintenance—which is crucial for business development (BD) and marketing teams that are making decisions on how and when to reach prospects—is much more than a simple housekeeping item. As your contacts get promoted to higher decision-making roles within their companies or move to other companies, being the first to notice and open a dialogue regarding future opportunities can be the difference between winning a new client or not. “Hundreds of times, if not thousands, when making changes while cleansing and augmenting our clients’ data, we discover contacts that have just recently moved to new businesses; CRM users suddenly see relationship and IQ scores change and that can lead to new opportunities for the firm,” explains Bochat. (IQ score is a feature of InterAction that uses complex algorithms to rate relationships.)
The phenomenon of stale data worsened during the recent global pandemic and intensified the burning need that already existed. David Caiati, Director of Professional Services at InterAction explains: “With the economy taking a hit, many firms decided to furlough staff to cut costs, to make sure they remain profitable; this made sense since the outlook for legal services looked bleak as the world slowly came to a halt. One group firms deemed ‘nonessential’ was data quality.”
But decisions have consequences, Caiati learned. “What happened was that over a period of 6 to 12 months, firms figured out that while, ‘it's great we're saving money on not paying for data stewards, we're losing out in the long run. We're sending emails into blackholes; CRM data alert tickets aren't being processed, and we are getting blacklisted for sending emails to the wrong accounts.’” Indeed, bad data is a silent killer when it comes to client management, BD, and marketing.
When did InterAction’s professional services team start offering DQS?
Kristofer Bochat recounts that “the story of our department probably goes back 10 years or even before, but it really took off during 2020 and has been accelerating ever since. As I mentioned, many studies have shown that on average, within one year, a third of your database becomes outdated. So, if you understand the scope of this problem under normal circumstances, imagine what is happening in the market right now with millions of people changing jobs. It is easy to see why this service has really taken off so quickly.”
But wait; haven’t we come to believe that state-of-the-art technology has made manual data quality services redundant?
The short answer is no. The key insight—one understood deeply at LexisNexis—is that even in a technology-based environment, the human element is crucial for setting the right strategy when it comes to data maintenance and usage. Bochat explains, “We use LinkedIn, we use Google, we use ZoomInfo; we also use Dossier, the LexisNexis business research tool. You'd be surprised to see the conflicting data that these services provide. It's right here that a highly skilled data steward makes all the difference—comparing data and guaranteeing accurate outcomes. I have been with LexisNexis for 15 years, so in a sense I’ve seen it all, I know that each customer is unique. I’ll sit down with clients, go through their priorities, we’ll talk about where their pain points are, I’ll do an analysis of their data and develop a customized solution.
“Our team is composed of full-time employees, all sourced internally from within Lexis and fully dedicated. We do not look for part-timers, people looking to do some extra hours on their night off,” says Bochat. Everyone that works for LexisNexis goes through a periodic background check. They are degreed professionals who are fully vetted, trained, and InterAction-certified. In this business, trust is a big factor, and these are questions any legal firm must ask when considering a data quality service provider.”
What are the things your customers most appreciate in your services?
“Stability, quality, pricing, and convenience,” says David Caiati, who goes on to explain each, as follows:
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