Data.com is Dead. Long Live the Data

Last year Salesforce announced plans for the retirement of its Data.com platform, phasing out all of its services over the coming year. July 31 was the last date customers could renew their subscription for the Data.com Clean and Prospect tools. Assuming you did, you have another full year to strategize your inevitable switch to another platform. But if you didn’t renew, your subscription will expire soon and you urgently need a contingency plan to not just switch but also mitigate any risks associated with it. 

But before you go out looking for a new data partner, it’s worth understanding why Data.com was shuttered in the first place. This is important to avoid repeating the same mistake and choosing a reliable long-term partner. 

The Backstory 

Many of Data.com customers are still confused as to why Salesforce retired it given it was still one of the market leaders. To put it simply- yes, Data.com was big but big failures also tend to create a big mess. Salesforce just wasn’t willing to take that risk. The decision itself was based on three core factors: 

The Market Moved on 

Eight years ago when Salesforce acquired Data.com, marketing automation was still in its early days and it became the goto tool for large campaigns. But then came account-based marketing (ABM) which flipped the model on its head. Since ABM shifted the focus from mass mailings to targeted communications, quality and accuracy began to trump database size. 

The Deteriorated Data Quality

Data.com primarily relied on crowdsourced data that simply wasn’t suited for hyper-focused marketing. While crowdsourcing allows you to rapidly scale the size of a database you wind up with a signal vs. noise problem. With so many data points and sources, the problem becomes how do you find the true data points. For instance, you may have a half dozen versions of one person’s contact information. So the challenge is determining which of those records (or which parts of those records) is correct. 

The solution has been to rely on machine processing using machine learning and algorithms to determine which record is the right one. However, while these technologies are constantly improving machine processing is typically at best about 70% accurate (and often even lower). Even more, to reach even those relatively low levels of accuracy requires constant investment in improvements to machine processing, something Data.com had fallen behind on. The result was that at the time of Salesforce’s announcement estimates of their data accuracy were as low as 25-50%. In the age of ABM missing your target audience to that extent just does not work.

The GDPR Hurdle

It’s interesting to note that Data.com started retiring the same month that GDPR was set to go into effect. It’s plausible that Salesforce found it more feasible to retire Data.com rather than invest significant time and resources on compliance owing to its already fledgling model. 

Where Do We Currently Stand 

Data.com, for all practical purposes, is now dead. It discontinued selling new contacts, plans or points on May 4, 2018.  A year later, May 2019 was the last date customers could use Connect. The next cutoff date was July 31, 2019. From this day onwards, customers can no longer purchase or renew Clean and Prospector subscriptions. The final nail will be on July 31, 2020, after which customers will no longer be able to use their Clean and Prospector tools. That means all existing customers of Data.com who do not have a replacement lined up will be without a data partner shortly. 

The After-Effects 

If you don’t already know, data on average decays at around 2% every month, or over 30% per year. That means, depending on the size of your database, hundreds or thousands of contacts will become inaccurate every day after your subscription expires. And if you factor in the cost associated with bad data in your system, it can easily throw off the balance of your entire sales and marketing efforts. For instance, you lose approximately $8 for every call your sales team makes to a wrong number. Subsequently, the cost of acquisition for an appointment goes up by $170.  This clearly indicates the vital importance for Data.com customers to find a reliable data partner to transition to. 

Where to Next? 

As most business managers would agree, porting to a new platform is always trickier than simply adopting a new platform. There are compatibility issues, performance, and quality expectations, and above all, the new platform should conform to the existing workflow of employees. Also, there is certain anxiety relating to future platform growth and support. 


To put this into Data.com user’s perspective, they would look for a platform that is compatible with their previous tools vis-a-vis Salesforce, Outreach, Salesloft, Hubspot, etc., has considerably better data quality, and above all, is on a rising curve. The last thing you want is to switch to an aged platform that also winds up sunsetting a few years down the line. 


SalesIntel: The Perfect Match 

More than just a data vendor or a prospecting tool, SalesIntel is a comprehensive sales intelligence platform that is perfectly suited to match the needs of modern account-based marketers. Having 40 data filters and enrichment features, we offer much more than just contact lists. Since all of our data is reverified every 90-days, there is no question of data deterioration. And we have all of your integrations covered as well.

The best part of partnering with SalesIntel is that we are growing at an astonishing rate- projecting to reach 5 million human-verified contacts by the end of this year as well as rolling out numerous new platform integrations and features in the coming months. 

Get in touch for a data health check, test-drive our data yourself or click here to learn more about our data and how our combination of machine processing and human verification gives you the most reliable data available.