Business data degrades at the rate of 3% to 6% per month. Translation: One third of your information on business buyers and prospects may be inaccurate and ineffectual for sales and marketing use by the end of every year. These statistics from D&B are further indicators of the volatility of business data:• A new business opens every minute.• A new business files for bankruptcy every 8 minutes.• A business closes every 3 minutes.• A CEO changes every minute.• A company name change occurs every 2 minutes.Add to this the additional complexities of a B-to-B database, where not only do you need basic information like postal address, phone and email addresses, but data on multiple contacts within a company — purchase decision makers, influencers, purchasing agents etc., company site information, not just an headquarters address and more. And this doesn’t account for other valuable data such as purchase history, competitive product installed etc. Your customer and prospect lists are the foundation of your marketing efforts. 50-70% of your marketing campaign success is dependent upon your list quality. How can you be sure you have good quality customer and prospect data?When it comes to list procurement, we as marketers are interested in a few key things:• How many contacts can I obtain? This can be net new contacts to help build your list or additional data for existing contacts e.g. adding email address or specific company site information. • Will the records be complete? Will I get all the fields I need?• Will the information be accurate?• What are the best list sources? The DMRS Group recently completed a study comparing online sources of B-to-B Data. In the study they reviewed 10 online suppliers of marketing information and assessed them on the basis of number of contacts for specified industry, number of contacts for a specific firm identified within each industry and the number of complete contacts. Read the full white paper to see how the vendors stack up.They also provide some guidance on how to order compiled data, including the following:• Be sure to investigate the data sources and maintenance practices of the vendors you are considering• Do not assume that subsidiaries of large compilers have the same data. • Be very specific about industry selections when placing your order.• Look for vendors that specialize in specific industries relevant to your business• Whenever possible conduct a comparative test before you purchase a list. One way to do this by running an append test by sending each prospective vendor a sample of your house list, be sure to include a few records where you know the data is accurate and use this as an indicator for overall data accuracy. Another way is to order a sample list and verify the accuracy via phone.So, what’s in your database? Maybe it’s time to give your customer and prospect databases a thorough hygiene check.