A classic core data model for Master Data in CRM databases and Master Data hubs when doing B2B is that you have:
- Accounts being the BUSINESS entities who are your customers, prospects and all kind of other business partners
- Contacts being the EMPLOYEEs working there and acting in the roles as decision makers, influencers, gate keepers, users and so on – and having some kind of job title
Establishing and maintaining an optimal data quality with B2B records are often done by integrating with external reference data.
Available sources for the account layer have been in place for many years as business directories. The D&B Worldbase is one example but there are plenty around with varying scopes. Those directories offered by service providers often also covers the contact layer. But actuality has always been a problem and depth (completeness) have been limited not at least with large business entities. So in most cases I have witnessed only the account level has been integrated with external reference data while the use of external contact layer data have been limited to new market campaigns (with varying results).
With the rise of social network sites information about employees are made more or less available to anyone. Last time (mid-October) I checked on LinkedIn the rate of profiles compared to population was:
- Denmark had 435,628 profiles, population 5,519,441 giving a ratio of 7.89 %.
- Netherlands had 1,278,927 profiles, population 16,500,156 giving a ratio of 7.75 %
- USA had 23,089,079 profiles, population 307,698,000 giving a ratio of 7.50 %.
Other countries I checked had lesser ratios but fast increasing numbers. All in all a formidable source of reference data for the contact layer.
Of course there are data quality issues with social networking sites. Data are maintained by the persons themselves which most often means good actuality and validity – but sometimes also means exaggeration and deceit. And yes, there are duplicate profiles.
Doing Social CRM is already hot stuff. Social MDM – in the meaning of exploiting social network reference data – will follow.