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Bad data cost US businesses more than $3 trillion each year, with individual companies often paying to the tune of millions of dollars for the errors. Among suspect data are leads that serve as the very lifeblood of many organizations, fueling sales, growth, and expansion. But it is estimated that nearly 40 percent of sales leads are invalid. And a major contributor to invalid leads are duplicates. Duplicate leads can cost time, money, customer satisfaction, and even your organization’s hard-won reputation. Make sure you avoid these 10 dangers of duplicate leads:

1. Duplicate Invoicing

Duplicate leads mean you have more than one record for the same person—and they’re much more common than you may realize. Nearly half of all records entered into a CRM is a duplicate. When partners provide leads, you rightly pay for the first lead, but duplicates mean you also pay for all subsequent records for the same person. With deduplication, you save real and immediate dollars.

2. Inaccurate Personas

You can’t sell to customers if you don’t know who they are. Duplicate leads give you multiple versions of a single customer and may hold conflicting information. For example, if your intent is to target a particular individual based on their educational status or job title, and they’ve now advanced in either, you may pursue a lead that will never come to fruition. Your team wastes time going after irrelevant leads at the expense of those that might more readily convert into sales.

3. Fragmented Sales Funnel

Having multiple records for the same lead exacerbates existing silos and leads to fragmentation in the sales funnel. Instead of working many leads, your sales team works the same lead over and over again. Your potential customers don’t like it and neither do your sales reps. Their time is wasted, productivity sapped, and sales results negatively impacted. And when different members of your team and automated systems communicate with prospects with inconsistent and sometimes conflicting messaging, even successful sales may come through multiple avenues. Without the ability to follow leads through a repeatable and scalable sales journey, you cannot effectively allocate resources, detect patterns, replicate successes, or predict for the future.

4. Misaligned Messaging

Today’s consumer expects personalized messaging from ads and certainly from sales reps calling on the telephone. Imagine getting a call from someone trying to sell you something and they get the fundamentals wrong—wrong gender, age, location. Or hearing messaging totally out of alignment to where you are in the sales funnel. You were ready to commit, and they treat you as if you’re brand new. It makes for an awkward call. The prospect is frustrated but so is your sales agent. They can’t properly work leads when the info is out-of-date or wrong—and it often is. Customer data degrade at a rate of 2 percent per month, so without automated deduplication in place, your sales team is probably sending the wrong message to their prospects.

5. Manual Data Pulls

When sales reps doubt lead quality, they take it upon themselves to manually check data accuracy and perform manual deduplication. The process is time-consuming, arduous, and likely outside the wheelhouse of your salespeople. Even using automation, it can be cumbersome. The typical means to find, requalify, and merge duplicates is a multistep process.

  • Open lead list
  • Activate the find duplicate feature
  • Select duplicates to merge
  • Perform initial lead merge
  • Choose a master lead
  • Finalize merge

Every minute your sales rep spends on deduplication is a minute they’re NOT selling!

6. Duplicate Sales Collateral

Do you create offline content for sales leads? Consider the cost to print and mail slick flyers with great branding and imagine how diluted the messaging gets when the same prospect receives them multiple times. You waste money and the brochure that should have wowed appears wishy washy and redundant. You also waste time and money online when you serve the same ad multiple times to the same prospect. Ad fatigue occurs sooner, and you pay for digital marketing that is ineffective and unengaging.

7. Data Storage Cost Increases

Lead duplication can result in increased costs for data storage. Not only do you pay for additional storage infrastructure or cloud services to accommodate excess data; you also pay for additional manhours to manage, process, back up, and retain duplicates. Any updates, patches, and repairs to software systems include data that are redundant causing all the tasks that your team performs to take longer. And many CRM systems are priced based on the volume of data stored. Duplicate leads unnecessarily inflate the price you pay.

8. Poor Analytics

Duplicate leads can both inflate and deflate your results. When the same lead is counted multiple times, it can make your marketing efforts appear more successful than they are. It looks like you’re producing more leads, but many are dupes. But duplicate leads can also artificially lower your conversion rates. You’re not converting as many leads because many are the same leads. And dupes can also affect the calculation of your return on investment (ROI) for marketing campaigns. If leads are not deduplicated, the cost associated with acquiring those leads may seem higher than it actually is, which can result in a deflated ROI. Without accurate information, decision makers cannot properly allocate resources, build effective strategies, spend efficiently, or plan for the future.

9. Lower Staff Morale

Working leads that do not move through the funnel and result in sales means commissioned salespeople make less money, even though they exert the same effort they always have. Spending time performing deduplication is time wasted. And being fed data that cannot be trusted is disillusioning. It’s all a frustrating scenario that can lower morale, decrease productivity, and increase employee churn rate. From an organizational level, it means you must do more with less and spend time on training new employees instead of helping your team grow and advance in a rewarding career within your company.

10. Tarnished Brand Reputation

For many organizations, brand value translates to real dollars and cents and long-term profitability. And while a good brand reputation can take years to establish, bad customer service can tarnish your image in an instant. Particularly in a culture of heightened consumer expectations, online reviews, and viral posts, the negative impact of poor customer service due to duplicate leads can result in irreversible harm to your brand.

Have you paid for the same lead multiple times or spent hours tinkering with deduplication to make sure you don’t? The CloudControlMedia Platform can help block, scrub, reroute, and dedupe partner leads so you only work the leads that are likely to turn into sales. Request a free demo today.

Linda Emma is Head of Marketing at CloudControlMedia. She has more than two decades of experience in marketing and journalism and frequently presents on how AI is impacting digital media.