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CMOCouncil-B2B-Primary-Sources-Prospect-Customer-Data-Nov2013Just 16% of North American B2B marketers say that their prospect data is accurate, reliable and comprehensive, with 79% admitting it needs improvement, details the CMO Council in a new report [download page]. Part of the problem seems to be that a plurality 24% update their data resources only periodically, with few doing so constantly in real-time (17%) or daily (14%). Marketers may have difficulty updating data more than periodically, given that they are drawing on a wide variety of sources.

The most common source of prospect data and customer insights are internal proprietary databases (51%), according to the report, though many also turn to trade shows and industry events (44%) and data developed by individual sales reps. More than 1 in 5 are also using 3rd-party information sources (31%), social media (25%) and channel partners (22%), although few are gleaning insights from telemarketing or contact centers (15%), list brokers and aggregators (9%) and outsourced service providers (4%).

Respondents to the survey admitted having a difficult time integrating, maintaining and refreshing their data sources, with only 38% saying they do so extremely (4%) or very (34%) well.

Perhaps more worrisomely, though, is the analysis of the areas of customer insight that most need improvement. The top response was basic engagement data, such as titles, roles and contact information, cited by 59% as an area they would like to improve. That suggests that many aren’t confident in the quality of the most basic information they need, although it’s also possible that the presence of this data at the top of the list is a reflection of how critical respondents perceive it be.

Beyond that most basic data, many respondents also said they would like to improve the competitive information (54%) they have at their disposable, as well as industry data and market insights (50%), contact duties and responsibilities (45%) and the corporate structure of the organization (40%). Interestingly, fewer (31%) are looking to improve insights related to breaking news and business developments, even though the survey elsewhere finds that only 39% of respondents’ sales organizations have access to timely, up-to-date insights into their customer’s business.

About the Data: About one-third of the 230 North American marketers surveyed are with organizations with more than $1 billion in revenue.

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