B2B Data

The Cost of Dirty Data

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May 3, 2024

1 min read

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The Cost of Dirty Data

Data, data, data! It’s hard to escape…both as a buzzword and as the foundation to most business operations today.

If you Google ‘The Cost of Dirty Data,’ thousands of articles will pop up, and they all describe a never-ending plethora of pain points and costs—namely, that bad data costs the US $3 trillion a year.

The punchline is: There are serious financial impacts to businesses for poorly managed and maintained data due to opportunity costs, wasted effort, and inflated data storage fees.

Quantifying the Pain: How Much is Dirty Data Costing You?

There are various ways to quantify what the operational inefficiencies caused by dirty data mean for a business in dollars and cents:

The standard method is the rule of 1-10-100, which states that it’s far more cost-effective to prevent data issues upfront than to pay for them later.

  • $1: It costs $1 to conduct due diligence around cleanly adding/verifying new records into your system
  • $10: It costs $10 to fix a data record once it’s ‘infected’
  • $100: It costs $100 per record to do nothing and proceed making business decisions based on inaccurate information


An alternative is calculating based on company value:

  • Estimate the value of data in a business as 20% of the value of the Company
  • Cost Components Stemming from Dirty Data:
    • Stale/Out-of-Date Data: 10% of the value of the data
    • Manual Efforts to Correct Data: 5% of the value of the data
    • Rework: 10% of the value of the data

Example Calculation:

  • Company Value $20M
  • Data Value: $4M
  • Cost of Dirty Data: $1M
    • Stale/Out of Date Data: $400K
    • Manual Efforts to Correct Data: $200K
    • Rework: $400K

Operational Problems Associated with Dirty Data

Bad data costs US companies over $3 trillion per year, and operating with subpar or inaccurate data can cost a company in a myriad of other ways. The list below details some, but certainly not all, examples:

Productivity consequences

  • Rework on activities informed by inaccurate data
  • Inefficiencies during cross-collaboration due to contradicting data sources

Uninformed decision making

  • Wasted money on misinformed priorities
  • Poor investments based on bad data, which can include wasting employee time and efforts or prioritizing the wrong internal projects

Poor customer experience

If your data on your customers is inaccurate, it can result in negative experiences for your customers:

  • Delivery consistency
  • Service quality
  • Lost trust

Inaccurate reporting

  • Wasted investments in campaigns
  • Forecasting inaccuracies
  • Understanding actual performance and results of ongoing initiatives
  • Confusion across the organization when reporting doesn’t align to day to day-to-day activities

The Benefits of Cleaning Up Dirty Data

It’s a common understanding that dirty data can cause your business a lot of pain, monetarily and operationally. So what are some benefits of having clean data across an organization?

Single source of truth = Alignment across internal teams

Multiple stakeholders understanding and agreeing on the facts helps teams align and more efficiently work towards productive answers and next steps

Trust in reporting = Improved decision-making

  • Accurate reporting helps the business understand what’s working and what’s not
  • This understanding leads to improved decision-making

Operational efficiency

  • Having trust in data minimizes scenarios for rework
  • Clean and consistent data allows the teams leveraging the data to have more efficient work streams instead of spinning gears on tracking down and reconciling disparate data sources

How Demandbase Can Help

At its core, Demandbase is all about data to make better-informed GTM decisions. Demandbase provides the following offerings to support our customers in pursuit of optimal data operations across sales and marketing:

Demandbase Software: Data Integrity

Data integrity can seem like an elusive goal, especially if you’re dealing with incomplete or inaccurate data, but it’s entirely attainable.

When it comes to improving your CRM data hygiene quickly and dramatically, Demandbase’s Data Integrity solution can help. With AI-powered data enrichment and standardization, you can clean up accounts, contacts, and leads, fill in missing data, and enhance sales territory assignments. Demandbase’s Data Integrity gives you a fully up-to-date picture of your pipeline and your customers, freeing up your team to work on strategic projects that propel your go-to-market (GTM) engine forward.

Learn more about Data Integrity.

Professional Services: Clean and Activate

To create a better data foundation for implementing Demandbase’s Data Integrity software or if you just need a one-time data cleaning exercise, Demandbase Professional Services also offers a Clean and Activate Service.

This service consists of matching your input data, either Company and/or Contact, to Demandbase Data and enriching those records in an offline flat file delivery.

Clean & Activate allows you to clean (duplicates/data inconsistencies), update existing information, and add additional data points that are missing on Companies and/or Contacts in your CRM (or other data source) with more current information from Demandbase data.

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Alex Jansen

Associate Director of Data Services, Demandbase

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