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Many marketers know that good data management is critical to the success of their lead generation programs.

Data is at the heart of every email campaign, webinar invitation, whitepaper download, form completion, and sales follow-up. It can turn marketing strategy and tactics into marketing triumph—helping marketers target the right audiences with the right messages at the right time.

However, although most marketers are aware of the benefits of good data management, many fail to ensure that their contact databases are as accurate, complete, and up to date as possible. In fact, more than half of US companies are working with unreliable marketing data (2013 NetProspex Marketing Data Benchmark Report).

Because tens of millions of Americans changing jobs each year and the vast majority of buyers submit incomplete information on registration forms, data can be difficult to manage. And although there are ways that marketers can ensure that they are using more reliable and comprehensive contact databases, some of the best data management practices also happen to be the ones most commonly overlooked.

To make sure you avoid overlooking those best-practices, here are five tips to keep you on track to reaching the people you want with the content that drives engagement and creates qualified leads for your sales team.

1. Establish standards

Work with your marketing and sales teams to ensure that all constituents have the same expectations for data quality. Clarity for what is expected and agreement on goals as an organization are critical to your go-forward strategy.

2. Monitor your data health

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image of Derek Slayton

Derek Slayton is CMO of NetProspex, a provider of B2B data services. He has over 20 years of experience in technology sales and marketing.

LinkedIn: Derek Slayton