February 26th, 2019 | by

Cat Meme Queen, CEO at Catmom3.com: That’s a potential title and email domain that could be entered into your web form fill to get that ebook or whitepaper you promised.

THEY get a free ebook. And YOU get bad CRM data, killing email deliverability, wasting your reps’ time, skewing your analytics, and costing you money.

We’ve all done it. We didn’t want our names on someone’s email list, so we typed in a favorite video game character, a poop joke, or threw our cat under the bus. It’s funny. It’s expensive. And it happens all the time.

Here are some real entries we’ve discovered in our own form-fills:

silly web form fill names in the crm


We guarantee Tyrone Shoelaces and Unicorn Beard Trimmer are still out there, chuckling to themselves, filling out web forms, and killing your data quality.

It’s a serious problem for any company who relies on web form-fills or other user-generated data for inbound campaigns. It damages:

  • Deliverability
  • Monetary cost
  • Tracking campaign performance – skewing numbers
  • Trust
  • Productivity

Bad fill-form data hurts email deliverability

Email deliverability is the first problem the Marketing team will notice when they’re dealing with bad CRM or Marketing Automation data.

If the lead entered a domain name that simply doesn’t exist (looking at you, Catmom3.com) you’ll get a hard bounce. This is already a headache for marketers, as 2.1% of B2B emails decay each month, even in a perfect world.

marketing operations coordinator amanda hamilton

Moreover – the many errors in web form-fills aren’t always deliberate.

Amanda Hamilton, DiscoverOrg’s Marketing Operations Coordinator, points to both accidental typos and deliberate actions that search engines take to prevent SPAM: “The email may look mostly right, but accidental typos are hard to spot.”

How does bad data get into your Marketing Automation System?

it's easy to enter bad data into your marketing automation systemWhen someone requests to download a piece of content, your marketing automation system is set up to send them a confirmation email with the link to the asset.

And every time someone puts in a fake email into your webform, you are damaging your sending reputation, because the email bounces.

And when that record moves into other Nurture programs, promotional campaigns, or your CRM – yeah, it gets worse.

Effects of poor email deliverability

The effect of a high bounce rate is fast and brutal: If your email bounce rate exceeds about 4%. Your domain authority is damaged, which can hinder future marketing email sends – and that includes everyone who uses the domain name. Additionally, many Marketing Automation Systems have a lock-out period for anyone who exceeds a certain bounce rate.

“This is a hot topic because it’s always been!” says Christine Olivas, Founder & Chief Strategist of Christine Olivas Consulting. “While email is no longer the ‘hero tactic’ for many B2B campaigns, companies need to know that the addresses they’re using are accurate. And, of course, protecting your domain reputation is still important.”


Learn more: 3 Email Deliverability Mistakes You’re Making Right Now

Getting into the inbox isn’t enough

Another factor many marketers may not consider: Search engines like Google look for engagement with emails. Just making it into the inbox isn’t enough.

“Google wants to make sure people are actually opening your email, clicking on it,” says Hamilton. “You may have noticed Google prompting you: ‘Do you want to hear from this person?’ Or it may move your email automatically into the “Promotions” folder, where it won’t be taken seriously.

“At DiscoverOrg, we look to see if recipients are filling forms, are they clicking on emails. If not – there’s a good chance it may be a spam trap. We look for things that show intent: clicks, opens, replies. And if they go cold and stop opening our emails, we don’t want to continue emailing them. Having a valid email isn’t enough. It has to be valuable.”


If your prospect isn’t engaging with it – either because Mr. Bumpkins doesn’t exist, or they’re not interested – your reputation will degrade over time.

Bad CRM data costs real money.

Since most CRMs charge by the record, bad data hits your marketing budget directly.

The 1:10:100 Rule says that each bad record costs $1.00 on the way in, $10.00 once it’s in your system, and $100 if it’s never corrected.

The costs include resources to correct the record, and time wasted sending messages to a nonexistent person.

Lost productivity costs money too.

Dominique Catabay, DiscoverOrg Email Marketing Manager“When I set up campaigns for sales reps, I have to rely on the data in our CRM and MAT. I don’t have the time to physically go through each record,” says Dominique Catabay, DiscoverOrg’s Manager of Email Marketing. “When you have people that aren’t real, made-up email addresses, stuff like that – you can’t trust the data. That really slows me down.”


The Salesforce User’s Benchmark Report says that almost half of of Marketing professionals think just 70% of the data in their Salesforce CRM is accurate. A full 20% of Sales professionals think at least half of it is garbage:

salesforce users benchmark report


Sir Dank Meme Creator might be the Internet Cat Meme Custodian, but they’re also a buzzkill. Productivity has a real number on it.

Lost productivity costs sales and marketing departments approximately 550 hours and as much as $32,000 PER sales rep – thanks to bad data.

Bad data damages trust.

It can be funny to encounter Lisa Lisa Bobisa Fananna Fanna Fofisa when you’re looking at a list of names.

But it’s not so funny for a busy sales rep, who’s wasted his time crafting personalized messages to people who will never see them. Email lists with high bounce rates erode trust between sales and marketing teams.

When the Sales team feels they cannot trust the lead data coming from Marketing, they second-guess the data. And when that happens, they start vetting the data themselves – which slows lead routing, and makes it impossible to scale operations.

Downstream effects of this erosion of trust include sales burnout and high turnover. An SDR without confidence won’t be successful. The whole company is effected.

So – how can you make sure your web form-fill data is accurate?

Hamilton has some ideas to make sure your emails are squeaky-clean and feeding smooth operations. Ask:

  • Is the email verified with verification tools – not just your eyeballs?
  • Are your emails well segmented so your content is relevant and valuable?
  • Are your emails engaging enough that prospects click through?
  • Check your Sender Policy Framework, related to your domain authority.
  • Make sure your bounce rate stays under 4% (we use Neverbounce and shoot for 2%) Emails should be verified every 30-90 days.

There are a lot of factors to consider if your company relies on email of any kind to generate leads. Without a foundation of good data, all other marketing and sales operations are compromised.

bad data in your crm mat

So keep an eye out for Internet Cat Meme Custodian at Catmom3.com – and take every opportunity to clean and double-check your data!

Did you know DiscoverOrg can automatically clean, update, and append your data – in your own CRM? To learn more about the most accurate data in the business, request a demo!

Learn how to make your B2B email more effective:


Contact data and scoops for the right buyer — at the right time.



Let us know when you’re ready to start winning.


Charity Heller
About the author

Charity Heller

Content Strategist, DiscoverOrg

Charity Heller, DiscoverOrg's content strategy manager, has been developing, composing, and editing content since age 2. Before her dive into content marketing, she founded and operated a book-editing company for 10 years. Charity has a B.A. in English literature, Professional Editing Certification from U.C. Berkeley, and she's a certified Project Manager.