bets on crowd-powered data… Because data ages like fish


Share on LinkedIn

In past research we’ve found that shoring up data quality is a common cause of delayed or under-performing CRM/SFA projects. It doesn’t matter how customer-centric you are, how well processes are designed, or how users are trained… if the data underlying the CRM system is out of date, you’re just automating garbage.

Kyle Christensen, Senior Director, Enterprise Marketing at, put it more colorfully: “Contact data ages like fish.”

Well said. And good luck getting users to trust a CRM system running on such “smelly” data.

In the past few years, Jigsaw made a splash with its crowd-sourced model of contact data acquisition and cleaning, and other data service providers (e.g. InsideView, OneSource) have moved to integrate social data sources, too. Jigsaw founder Jim Fowler told me last year that he sized data-as-a-service as a billion dollar industry.

Apparently Marc Benioff agreed with the potential because earlier this year snapped up Jigsaw in a $142M purchase. Now is taking the next step to tightly integrate Jigsaw into its main CRM solution. just announced that CRM users can access an integrated Jigsaw service for $29/month.

Also, users can use Chatter to follow changes to contact records or accounts. This strikes me a genuinely useful Social Business application that combines Enterprise 2.0 (Chatter) functionality with crowd-sourced data to help reps do their jobs more efficiently.

In a brief demo showed some data quality and reporting functions that should help keep data smelling fresh. But it’s worth noting that this entire approach, built on data supplied by the Jigsaw community, rests on same wisdom-of-the-crowds assumption that powers Wikipedia. Cost-effective, but only as good as the people adding or updating records.

Clearly user-generated data can play an important role in CRM applications, and has done a nice job integrating Jigsaw. To get the right balance of cost and quality, larger and/or more sophisticated companies should also consider services that provide compiled, mined or edited data.

Further reading:
* OneSource strives to once again be the “one” source for B2B business information
* Jigsaw Data-as-a-Service: The Next Billion Dollar Player?


  1. Combining a down economy with hyper-competition might be the end of Jigsaw. Now days, salespersons are not going to give away their money-making contacts! If anything, they might actually enter the wrong contact information into Jigsaw just to throw off the competition. Remember, it’s business (and their bonus)! Good point, “good luck getting users to trust a CRM system running on such ‘smelly’ data.” Nice article!


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here