The key to making data actionable may just be a phone call away.

In the third annual B2B Marketing Data Benchmark Report from Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex, researchers discovered that “the ability to reach buyers by phone is fundamental to closing the loop between sales and marketing – and keeping that relationship as healthy as possible.”

However, the data services company determined that marketing databases are filled with inaccurate telephone numbers – or no numbers at all – based on its analysis of more than 223 million analyzed records.

The report raises a red flag, with 54 percent of the records missing a phone number – and provides a compelling reason to evaluate your company’s B2B marketing database, sooner rather than later. If your leads contain bad phone numbers, you’ll see likely see conversions of marketing qualified leads (MQL) into sales qualified leads (SQL) decline.

Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex considers this transition in your marketing and sales pipeline to be one of the worst places for leads to fall out of the funnel.

Lost in the Funnel

Data crunchers theorize that phone connectivity, or lack of it, is caused by a disproportionate amount of prospect data vs. customer data in database marketing. Simply put: You most likely have complete contact information recorded for customers, but prospects may not be as forthcoming with their information.

If their speculation is true, “then the greatest risk to marketers is inefficient demand generation funnels, where leads are stuck in a pre-MQL stage or don’t advance past sales accepted… due to a lack of actionable phone numbers.”

Stick to Best Practices

There should be some relief ahead for integrated marketers of any size. Even small companies or solo entrepreneurs with sound integrated marketing initiatives in place will benefit from the wider adoption of marketing automation technologies.

Until then, don’t send your sales team squirreling to source phone numbers just yet. The time and effort involved creates huge inefficiencies in the system, and does even worse things for marketing and sales alignment, researchers pointed out.

Instead, look for ways to create best practices moving forward. Here are some tips on how to find meaningful sources of data to glean insights about buyer intent, customer engagement and more. And if you’re just starting out in data-driven marketing, we’ve provided a blueprint for how to build an integrated database or data warehouse to unlock and reveal new, actionable insights that inform strategy, boost response and increase ROI.