Data Decay – Why Your B2B Sales Team Has Fewer Leads Than Your Competitors

Olin Hyde
March 30, 2016

So you’re sitting with some of your business friends and someone asks how business is going lately. Everyone seems to have leads coming out of their ears and your sales team is lagging behind. You may be wondering what they are doing that you aren’t.

This guide is going to show you some of the reasons why your sales team has fewer leads, and why it’s all down to data decay.

The Number One Reason

The number one reason why there’s such a disparity between the number of leads B2B companies have is because most leads are dead and will come to nothing. If you have fewer leads than your competitors, the chances are this is a good thing. It means you’re not picking up lots of pointless leads.

And this is a growing problem across all industries. The constant decay of data means that most leads B2B companies have are worthless. One study predicted that 84% of B2B marketing databases  are barely functional because the data was either incomplete or irrelevant.

This is a bigger problem in some industries than others. A high turnover industry, for example, tends to see data decay at a faster rate.

The Effects of Data Decay

Data decay is a major problem for businesses. It leads to a lot of wasted effort and it reduces the productivity of your team. Due to the job market being in a state of flux, the rate of data decay has accelerated in recent years. Businesses that have lots of older email addresses on their list may call only to discover that the business no longer exists or the contact has disappeared.

But inaccurate databases can have a serious effect on businesses as a whole. It can make your sales team look extremely unprofessional when they mention the name of a contact who no longer works there. Marketing emails could come across as spam because nobody remembers you. And if you target emails that no longer exist, those higher bounce rates could get you banned from your newsletter platform.

How to Stop Bad Data?

Your sales team needs real leads if your company is going to succeed. The easiest way to stop bad data is to contact the leads in question early on. Don’t put them at the bottom of the list and work on the older leads first. Set a cut-off point and from then on make new leads a priority.

Striking when the iron is hot increases the chances that your contact will remember you and what you do. If you have a business that barely remembers what you do, you have a near 0% chance of actually making a sale. And if this is happening time and time again with older leads, your profits are going to suffer.

What About Incorrect Data?

Big data is an essential component in the modern B2B sales arena. But the more data you have the higher the chance that it can go wrong. Without specialized tools, the only way you can actually spot incorrect data is by going through it manually.

You have to make a decision about that data and whether it’s relevant. Unless you can hire someone to constantly check the accuracy of the data in your database, you would be better served gathering less data and working on other matters.


Most businesses are shocked that data can grow stale within a matter of weeks. There’s a lot of research on this matter and you can now find statistics relating to the average rate of which your data will decay based on the industry you are in. The decay rates should show you what you need to do next.

A Continuing Problem

It’s important to mention that this is a continuing problem and you are always going to run into data that’s decayed or is plain wrong. But you can reduce it by acting quickly and swiftly. This isn’t just important for eliminating dead-end leads, it’s important for the conversation you will have over the phone or via email.

On the other hand, you may simply have fewer leads because your employees aren’t doing a good enough job. Examine the resources you are giving them and whether what you are doing is giving them all the tools they need to succeed.

There are pieces of specialist software that can help you keep track of your lead database and to examine it for accuracy. It will require a small investment on your part, but it can make all the difference to your productivity.

How will you make sure that you have more genuine and valid leads today?

Further Reading

Olin Hyde
April 8, 2020
. 5 min read
Lainey Mebust
October 10, 2019
Olin Hyde
August 18, 2019