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How to Achieve Clean Data in B2B Marketing

Editor's Note: Today's post comes courtesy of Amanda Nelson, Director of Marketing at RingLead, where she leads the content marketing strategy and execution. She has spent the last three years in content marketing and community management at salesforce.com and Radian6, and has a background in account management for interactive and full service advertising agencies. Follow her on Twitter at @amandalnelson.

Even if you’re the best marketer in the world using stellar practices, over time, your contact data will decay. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American worker changes jobs about every 4.5 years. They get promoted, or terminated, or they simply get a better offer elsewhere. That translates to about 1.85% monthly change at each company.

The data in your CRM that’s likely to change over time for each prospect may include:

• Change in title/promotion

• Change in working location

• Change of phone number

• Add mobile phone number

• Change of department

• Change of area code

• Change in email domain

• Change in company name

• Change in company website

• Merger or acquisition

Overall, about 12% of your data, on average, will change each year. As just one example, 75 phone numbers change every 30 minutes.

Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to maintain a purring marketing database. Here are three helpful steps.

  • Continuously generate new leads: Ensure that you’re always collecting a fresh cache of goods. Leads are the oxygen in your database.
  • Use an application to remove and prevent duplicate leads: Duplicate leads don’t just cause confusion and inefficiency; they also derail reporting by associating data with the wrong leads, contacts and opportunities. Use an application for duplicate removal, which finds your existing duplicates and merges them together.
  • Update existing leads: Keeping your existing database accurate will make updating contact data much easier. There will be no mistakes and updates will run smoothly.

Cleaning Data with Marketing Automation

Dirty data can easily enter your marketing automation system, for example, if you have a web form built in a marketing automation platform, leads will enter their information into that form.

Let’s say a contact completed a form on your website a month ago. Today, that same contact submits another web form with a different email address. This creates a duplicate in your marketing automation system.

With these two email addresses for one person, your marketing automation system is going to send two records into your CRM. Duplicate records in your CRM causes extra work for sales teams, costing valuable time that could be spent selling. A duplicate prevention platform will not only check marketing automation systems, but it will check your CRM and find that month-old record. Instead of creating a duplicate, it will merge it with the record in your CRM and the record in your marketing automation platform.

Top Five Reasons to Invest in Keeping Your Data Clean

  1. Better segmentation of leads and clients, allowing you to focus your message on the right people at the right time. For example, if you want a 20% off coupon to go only to new prospects, versus your best clients.
  2. Avoid duplicate sending of emails. In spite of all the precautions, it is possible to send multiple emails to the same lead, usually because duplicate records are not merged.
  3. Accurate reporting to your boss. With the CMO having a seat at the revenue table, you must have accurate, consistent, and repeatable reports.
  4. Avoid hurting pending deals if you email the wrong marketing material to key prospects during sales negotiations. If your database is not providing that detail on life-cycle stage, that could sink a deal or two.
  5. Save money by removing bad or old leads to stay below pricing thresholds. Much has been written about the cost of bad data. Oftentimes you’re paying for the same leads multiple times, as duplicates live in your marketing automation platform.

Keeping your marketing automation database clean is an important part of administering it. If your data is dirty, then your job as a marketing manager becomes a whole lot harder.

For more strategies on how to leverage the data in your marketing arsenal, download the Modern Marketing Essentials Guide to Data Management.

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