Salesforce Data.com: Why is it shut down now and what to do next?

Salesforce discontinued data.com, which was reportedly making money for the company by offering qualified leads to the businesses. And if you are wondering and still trying to make sense of what happened, here’s why the leading cloud-based CRM services provider decided to pull the plug on its sales and B2Blead generation component. It seems like the end of an era, but a logical conclusion to a technology solution that has served its purpose and outlived its utility.  

What is Salesforce Data.com?

According to its official website, Data.com is the first complete and native data solution inside Salesforce. Conceived with Dun & Bradstreet, the company scraps off the internet to build a contact list. The Salesforce CRM tools can access this contact list for workflow automation, email automation and marketing automation. 

The company offers data mining services and data scrubbing services to businesses to maintain and update this data.  The clean, reliable and qualitative data enables businesses to generate actionable insights and empowers them to stay ahead of the curve. The services of Data.com are classified into two segments, namely Clean and Prospector. 

Salesforce Data.Com Clean

The Salesforce Clean boasts of powerful data verification tools that improve the quality of contact and lead data, enrich it further by adding relevant and target-specific details to it. The entire process, right from data appending to data scraping takes place inside Salesforce via Data.com

Salesforce Data.Com Prospector

The Prospector is native to Salesforce and is a tool used to search or filter through the target. Since the businesses are targeting a specific set of customers, the pipeline is much faster, bottlenecks are reduced, and the connection to the customers is more streamlined. The outreach program becomes more aligned to the marketing objective. The Prospector offers you a 360-degree view of sales and marketing processes right within Salesforce.

According to Salesforce, the existing connects within the system will be used to maintain the Data.com towards the end-of-life. Once it is achieved (by 2020), the contact database will be archived and will no longer be in use. 

While the licenses of Prospector and Clean can’t be renewed now, these tools are slated to go out of circulation entirely and retire on July 31, 2020.

The journey of Salesforce Data.Com

Data.com came into being with Salesforce’s acquisition of Jigsaw. Even before this collab, Jigsaw was considered to be a quality tool that enabled businesses and sellers to democratise crowd-sourced data from different sources such as tax, mailing records, events or tradeshows. Businesses could exchange their compiled data and make the most of it. 

Rechristened as Data.com, the Jigsaw’s democratisation of data appears to feel like more of an afterthought that was on the way to become irrelevant sooner than you might think. The advent of social media, especially LinkedIn, the sellers are getting better at contact sourcing and contacting the person directly without the circuitous routes of a lead generation portal.  Then, there were targeted email marketing campaigns that emphasised on personalisation, whereas data.com provided contacts for mass-mailing and which were company-centric. The businesses, however, moved on to a proved ROI-based strategy where they communicated with buyers and companies that are the perfect fit for their business and services. The ROI-oriented account-based tools and not the ones handing out contacts is the need of the hour. 

Since last year, it has stopped taking new customers. However, it is not the only one. Other big data and data mining services providers such as Salesloft’s Prospector, KiteDesk have closed the doors for new customers too. B2B companies and sales reps that relied heavily on contact data provided by the Data.com are still trying to understand the ‘whys’ and ‘whats’, and we help them find out exactly that! 

One among the many reasons that Salesforce decided to call it quits with Data.com was to abide by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that brings crowd-sourced data under the scanner. According to this law, “Organisations found breaching the GDPR can be fined up to four per cent of annual global turnover or an amount of €20 Million (whichever is greater).” 

 It is the maximum fine that can be levied upon the businesses that don’t adhere to most serious infringement yet the basic requirements of an outreach campaign such as having sufficient consent from the customer to use their data. Crowd-sourced data comes without any liability and is often duplicated. Once it enters into a system, it is difficult to ensure its hygiene. Regular CRM data cleaning and various checkpoints are the ways to keep data current and complete. 

Besides, there are several data mining tools available in the market as opposed to when Salesforce started. While marketing automation has still a long way to go, the businesses now have a variety of tools outside the periphery of Salesforce while being highly compatible and platform-agnostic. The lack of new features to accommodate targeted and micro focussed marketing campaigns also contributed to its demise.  

As social sourcing the contact becomes the widely-accepted form of lead generation, account-based selling takes the place of mass mailing, stringent laws for outreach campaign come into being, and businesses look beyond the CRM for data solutions, Salesforce has no option but to shut down Data.com

Nonsensical and Irresponsible Data Sanitation Practices

Data.com gained popularity for leading the way forward to the democratic availability of data. However, the idea of ‘of the people, by the people and for the people’ didn’t work out well. There were no sanity checks to the data uploaded, the data scrubbing practices were non-existent, and users could upload any data lists that they want. Experts like Neil Patel have always emphasised on the importance of paying attention to the origin of data rather than building an overloaded system. However, companies often fail to understand the 101 of data quality. Salespeople forget the core principle of their work that it is ever-evolving. People tend to change their jobs, address and email IDs, but the changed details rarely make it to the contact list. 

When businesses hire a third-party database, the CRM gets inundated with outdated, duplicated and incomplete data.  So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a sales rep end up wasting more than 546 working hours in a year owing to the bad data in the system. 

Lack of regulatory practices

Data.com was cool for businesses before the latter realised its uncool lack and utter disregard for personalisation and data mining services. An outreach campaign to reach out to your customers isn’t about sending the same mail to an odd list of 10,000 people (Fact check: it is spam).  It is about connecting with the customers they want it or the way they would prefer. So, when this data prospecting tool closes down completely, it shouldn’t come as a surprise.  Missing fields, duplicate data, invalid formatting and invalid values just add to the madness of crowd-source data. Here’s just a sneak peek at enterprise lead disposition for businesses, showcasing the impact of poor quality data on B2B lead generation.

salesforce data.com

 

The lack of reinventing

Companies, these days, are thriving on data and focus on making a data-oriented system for their business processes. However, it is the quality of data that often gets overlooked.  The email marketing campaigns are now interactive, more personalised and tend to serve a niche target segment. Cold calling or emailing is still relevant, but it is also quality over quantity. If only Data.com had reinvented its practices and had adopted a proactive approach towards email appending and data scrubbing, we wouldn’t be here talking about the downfall of it. 

 

A salesperson making an unintentional typo while entering the details in the system, not following the format, or a customer changing a job – it all leads to unstructured and poor-quality data.  According to this research by Marketing Sherpa, every year, up to thirty per cent of data becomes inadequate and inaccurate. At the same time, businesses do nothing about it but continue to base their business decisions on it.

Bad CRM data leads to higher bounce rates of email, inaccurate details of customers result in poor business decisions, wasted time and efforts. The practice of keeping data up-to-date is rare than you might think despite its criticality. 

At times when companies are opening up to nudge-based user personas, buyer behaviour, social listening and predictive analysis, data is what drives them all and quality data is non-negotiable. However, Data.com scored a big ZERO when it came to offering relevant and current data to its clients – the only job that it had.

So, what to do now?

Data.com is gone, and with it being out of the picture, you need to find data appending companies that adhere to international CAN-SPAM regulations and have data appending services in place. A data solution provider that takes the ownership of the data it is provided to you and ensures it is updated, complete and accurate. It should offer value-based solutions such as CRM cleaning, email data validation, email verification, email address validation and scrubbing simultaneously to ensure that the data is checked and looked into for discrepancies at various checkpoints, especially when it enters into the system. 

Accurate, verified, and targeted contact data is the need of the hour. Your salespeople shouldn’t spend their time double-verifying email address details off the social media or finding out the right information for a targeted segment when you have already paid for it. 

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Why You Need To Clean Your CRM: The Biggest Reasons for Customer Relationship Management

Undoubtedly, even in your business, the Sales team’s job is most likely to be the hardest. After all, they are the ones tasked with obtaining and maintaining customer information.. Surely, they use this information the most, but none of the organization’s operations can run smoothly without this critical data and contact intel. In spite of being so important, customer information will almost never come together in a meticulously organized way.

Imagine the typical sales office in any organization. The salespeople on board will be busy taking calls, making pitches and talking to prospects, leads or customers. They’re working hard to extract invaluable customer data. Sadly, information is scattered across a variety of channels and places, given how demanding and high-powered this process is, Maybe the call software has a comprehensive call log that is incredibly useful, but it lacks some important insight your salesperson discovered on the call.

That insight was probably written on a sticky note that could get lost in nothingness at any time. Additionally, critical customer information or communication details are scattered across digital calendars, spreadsheets, documents, email trails, or other platforms.

Such scattered information is a nightmare in a scenario where salespeople have to regularly retrace their communication with customers to do their job skillfuly. Imagine how difficult it would be to get quick updates or keep a track of things in this case. Moreover, sales in today’s era are time-sensitive. Everything has to be done fast, swiftly and efficiently. If you sales team’s daily schedule looks like this, it isn’t feasible to your organization’s long-term success.

This is where CRM systems can be very useful. Such software systems can help you bring cohesion and uniformity within operations for streamlined processes.

What Is Customer Relationship Management Exactly?

 

 

customer relationship management

 

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is not a standalone software, activity or product. It refers to the various tools, techniques, technologies, and strategies employed by organizations to seek, acquire, develop, nurture, or even retain customers. These include present, past and even prospective customer relationships. CRM ensures that all the interactions with stakeholders run smoothly and flow freely without lack of information hindering your organizational goals. The end goal of a smooth-running CRM system is to make the process of sales easier and increase overall profits for the company.

CRM software helps an organization gather customer-centric data from multiple platforms or channels. It can be customized for each individual organization’s unique needs. Moreover, it can store detailed information about the customer’s buying journey. A CRM system can detail information right from personal info and contact details, to purchasing habits and even buying behaviour patterns.

All in all, your Customer Relationship Management system’s key function is its ability to bring all important customer information into a cohesive and structured format. It makes doing business easier with handy intel to fuel your outreach efforts. The customer’s complete relationship with your organization can be detailed in this manner. Such systems store and optimize deal details including notes, insights, call details, emails, and appointments.

Moreover, if you opt for the service, you can get live-notifications when your customer performs an activity with significance to you. You’ll get notifications when some clicks on a link via email, signs up for a webinar, visits your service or price page, or even interacts with your website chat system. We don’t have to tell you the importance of having such valuable information at your disposal.

The Biggest Reasons to Clean You Customer Relationship Management System

Given how important a CRM system’s functionality is to your sales efforts, you must do everything in your power to maintain, clean and optimize your Customer Relationship Management technology. Let’s learn the most important reasons in this article.

Optimize Time

Sales can take time to land, but the faster you can sell, the faster you’ll rake in the big bucks. With a CRM system, as we explained above, sales teams can maximize their productivity. However, if the database which powers the CRMs system is out dated, irrelevant or full of incorrect information, the time you’re so keen on saving will be wasted instead.

An awfully maintained customer relationship management system will end up with your sales efforts being wasted on dead end targets.


optimize time                                                                       image source

Estimates suggest that 20% of records that make their way to a CRM system are duplicates. Moreover, precious time is wasted on these duplicates – time that could have otherwise gone to more return-generating activities. Bad data in your CRM is not entirely unavoidable. This makes keeping your Customer Relationship Management system clean even more important.

Save Money

No business owner can say no to spend less while getting more out of their investments. Employing a CRM system is surely a great way to optimize your investments by giving sales teams a one-stop communication solution. However, if this system is riddled with bad data, it takes away time and money.

Ineffective records cause your ad campaign results to drop. Such records are capable to losing money through leaks in the sales funnel. Moreover, without the backing of valid data, scheduling appointments, pitch meetings, phone calls, and even maintaining email or call logs becomes challenging. Without crystal-clear insight that up-to-date intel can bring, a CRM system doesn’t add value to your investment. This makes Customer Relationship Management system cleaning and maintenance extremely vital to your organization’s health.

Improve Marketing Response Rates

Contacting people from a bad email or marketing list is sure to bring average results at best. The response to your marketing campaigns in such a scenario won’t be ideal. You can’t undertake a full-fledged campaign on any platform with out-dated or irrelevant data.


increase response rate

image source

A CRM system will streamline the process of executing campaigns and even developing them. But if it isn’t supplemented with regular maintenance or cleaning, it will cause you to target the wrong people. Additionally, it may lead to getting blacklisted by email ISPs. With regular customer relationship management cleaning services, you are in a position to make insightful evaluations. You can evaluate if a person is an ideal customer for your organization or if they will respond to a particular marketing action. Moreover, it makes it easier to build trust and credibility by providing a smooth customer experience.

Retain More Customers

For any organization, retaining customers is a far more lucrative deal than acquiring new ones. This reselling to existing customers is furthered by a sense of trust and credibility in the market. A CRM system can get you to a position where retaining customers is easier. However, for this to be a reality, you need to clean and maintain the system for optimum functionality.

The last thing you need is a customer’s agitation set off by unwanted or unsolicited communication on your part. If your reps will repeatedly send across redundant info to existing customers when they’re not ready to buy, they may be put off. Eventually, this might translate to lower open rates, dropping click-through rates, and poor response in general. In such a scenario, cleaning out your CRM system regularly helps you stay on the edge and retain customers effectively.

The Bottom Line

Sure, you now know that Customer Relationship Management cleaning services are not something to skimp on. But, is there a type of cleaning that assures you better results?

At BizProspex, we believe that manual CRM data cleaning services/ data mining services have an edge over all other types of cleaning. When a bad Customer Relationship Management system can ruin your efforts, shoddy maintenance doesn’t really make a big difference. Instead, the focus is on finding a service that ensure immaculately verified, perfectly updated and meticulously checked records at the end.

With manual CRM data cleaning services, you are ensured top-notch results because as compared to machine intelligence, skilled technicians manually keep your CRM database running. The kind of accuracy that guarantees results for CRMs comes from hands-on, professional attention.

CRM data cleaning services are best availed from organizations that take the manual approach to maintaining your CRM. To ensure that your own teams don’t waste precious time, money or resources in the long run, such extra effort is required in such processes.

Right from Manual Data Cleaning or Researching, B2B Lead generation, skip tracing, data verification to CRM Cleaning, crm data appending, tech appending, data scraping, data scrubbing, web scraping services or anything related to Data, BizProspex is the right partner for your B2B business. If your marketing efforts aren’t bringing in the results you desire, it may be time to consider a Customer Relationship Management partner today!

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