Data hygiene — it’s at the center of results-turning lead generation, client outreach, and all marketing efforts. It plays a vital role in data-driven sales and marketing teams, as having clean data contributes to being able to address strategic questions and gain actionable insights about customers and prospects. Not to mention it can save you thousands of hours and dollars from the wasted effort that bad data can cause. Even then, B2B marketers still admit that data hygiene is one of the fundamental parts of marketing that often gets overlooked. So, with the many headaches and dollars that dirty data can cause, how does such a valuable asset still get left behind? According to DemandGen Report, 57% of B2B marketers do not have a standard process in place for keeping their database updated. Data hygiene isn’t a one-step strategy. Whether your team is big or small, experienced or brand new, maintaining clean data takes proactive measures and adaptability. Let’s review three best practices that your team can adopt to keep your B2B data clean and accurate and ultimately help your business develop and nurture more quality and profitable customer relationships.
1. Scrub your lead database regularly
B2B buyers’ contact information can and will fluctuate depending on the ongoing changes in a customer’s or prospect’s career — this can mean updates in a job and title, email address and phone number changes, or business mergers and closures. Sales and marketing teams are often misinformed about their buyers as B2B data decays at about 70.3% per year according to InsideView.
Consider deploying the following tips:
- Set up a maintenance schedule: Whether it’s monthly or quarterly, find a schedule and process that works best for your team. A regular maintenance schedule will allow your team to identify and remove duplicate and irrelevant records.
- Conduct data audits: This is the first step in understanding the how, what, and where of your data. Figure out where your existing data comes from, how it’s organized, and its accessibility. Ask the right questions to find holes or inconsistencies in your marketing contact database. Analyze and assess how your data can be improved — for example, can you streamline mass uploads or manual entries, or are your web forms asking for irrelevant information? The faster you can solve data issues, the fewer accounts will slip through the cracks and your team can work more efficiently.
2. Verify and update lead contact information
Prevent your sales and marketing teams from sending the wrong message to the wrong contact. There’s nothing worse than spending hours on a personalized marketing campaign only to find out that the client gifts were addressed with incorrect names or the wrong accounts were targeted. Understand how and why irrelevant information enters your database — is it outdated lead capture forms or incomplete or invalid data that your CRM can’t process? By keeping track of the most accurate customer information, you’ll gain improved trust between your internal teams and your customers and prospects.
- Understand your CRM: According to Salesforce, CRM is one of the top three tools that can help create personalized interactions to foster better customer relationships and marketing ROI. What you can do: Regularly audit current forms and assess if your database is providing your team with relevant information for personalized and targeted marketing campaigns, successful discovery calls, and effective lead follow-up.
- Align sales and marketing: Sales and marketing may not always have access to the same information. Integrating data management along with getting sales and marketing goals and standards on the same page will decrease tension between the two teams.
3. Invest, invest, invest — in your team and technology
Integrative technologies allow your company to store and analyze lead data, providing a more seamless, comprehensive database view.
- Hire in-house talent: We’re living in the age of analytics, and it’s becoming clear that companies are facing a challenge in extracting value from quality data. According to Indeed, the demand for data scientists is up 344%. In order to stay competitive, data savviness and industry expertise mean attracting and retaining the right talent internally — this is key to incorporating data-driven insights into day-to-day processes that work best for your company and industry.
- Use third-party tools, technology, and resources: Improve database processes by employing other sources or vendors such as InsideView that can help build more accurate contact lists, data verification, and update lead information.
- Outsource to data-cleansing vendors: Allow your team to focus on what they do best. If data cleansing is something that can’t be done efficiently and quickly in-house, outsourcing to an expert will help automate tasks such as de-duplication efforts and make your operations (and marketing campaigns) run more smoothly.
The goal is to evaluate, develop, and nurture customer relationships using quality data pulled from inbound and outbound marketing campaigns. Poor data quality creates a rippling effect that disrupts your company as a whole — fragmented issues become magnified and costs escalate leading to a loss in operational efficiencies, opportunities, and revenue. Establishing data ownership and setting standards for data analytics are key in keeping your data clean. It’s an ever-changing and evolving process, but as businesses and industries evolve, sales and marketing goals and processes must also evolve. Whether or not your team has the resources to optimize your database processes on a monthly or quarterly basis, database check-ins are crucial for uncovering insights and roadblocks. Having the right partners that can drive successful sales and marketing operations will help your company create more meaningful and profitable customer relationships and working with a team like Unreal Digital Group can help you do just that.
Contact us if you’re interested in a consultation or if you have any questions about marketing operations and data hygiene. And, be sure to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook so you don’t miss out on additional strategies and insights.