In an ideal world, you already own the data, and when dealing with your own clients, you will. However, this is the exception and not the rule. Generally, any new business campaign uses masses of bought-in data at some stage, generally before the new business salespeople begin the qualifying work, and it's essential that you check it for accuracy or you risk ruining your campaign and potentially your reputation in the market as well.
Only two really effective ways exist for testing the accuracy of information: an eyesight test and a random sample test:
- The eyesight test involves just what it says, taking a cross sample of the data and checking it by looking at it against reference data that you know to be accurate. Check for simple things like the address being correct (doing this is simple with a quick online search) and the sector being correct (in your business, you likely know the key players and the key targets already). If your sample passes these tests, then move on to the random sample test.
- The random sample involves contacting the companies using the given data and testing for accuracy. Anything less than 90 percent accuracy overall isn't good enough, and you should push back on your data suppliers.