The perfect time to complete a B2B data cleanse may not exist, but the end of the year may be the closest thing. The slowdown of sales and marketing activity in December provides the ideal opportunity for an annual database quality assessment to identify its deterioration over the last year. This means that any issues can be identified and sorted out before the new year campaigns kick off.
It is estimated that poor B2B data is costing companies as much as 27% of their potential annual revenue, a significant loss especially for something easily rectified when done correctly.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE INCLUDED IN A DATA HEALTH CHECK?
DEDUPE AND CONSOLIDATE TO CREATE SINGLE CLIENT RECORD
Many businesses fragment their data across multiple teams and processes, resulting in duplicated contact and account information. Marketing funnels and sales pipelines are a typical offender. Throughout the year, duplicated contacts are likely to be subjected to repeated marketing messages and campaigns without intention, risking a negative experience of your brand. If an organisation name has been entered multiple ways, this will create duplicated records (The Data Business Vs The Data Business Ltd) which can result in expensive waste if using mail campaigns for example.
Without the know-how, fixing these dupes is a lengthy and monotonous process. The general rule of thumb for calculating the in-house cost of duplicate records is the 1-10-100 rule. It costs around £1 to check for duplicates, around £10 to fix each duplicate and around £100 per duplicate if nothing is done about this issue. The goal is to consolidate a dataset to create a ‘single client record’ which combines all previous marketing engagement needed to qualify a lead.
VALIDATE CONTACTS TO DETERMINE DECAY RATE
We all know the biggest challenge of using B2B data is the ongoing struggle against a constantly deteriorating validity rate. It’s inevitable. Contacts leave companies, get promotions and change details. A typical B2B database will deteriorate by an average of 3% per month, that’s 36% a year! When left unchecked, this has a significant impact on your sales potential and leaves potential revenue on the table.
The main goal of an overall cleanse is to find out how much a static database has depreciated over a period of time, in this case, a year. The best resolution is to conduct an email validation test. The vast majority of emails become invalid once a contact leaves their position. Software is good enough for a general audit of a database’s validity, but to get an accurate assessment, a manual process will always perform better. Manual checks get around firewall and “out of office” messages, improving the accuracy of an audit to 96%.
FIX FORMATTING ISSUES
As all the largest databases on the market rely on automated input, having correct formatting is crucial. Over the course of the year, thousands of contacts may have been inputted into a B2B database either manually or by imports. A 2020 Forbes study found that 94% of businesses were certain that their databases contained inaccuracy. A business can only profit from marketing automation if their data is formatted correctly. An improperly formatted contact name would look unprofessional on your first automated email to an MQL.
Formatting large and fragmented datasets is not easy, it takes a combination of time, skill and patience to be carried out efficiently. The goal is to resolve the mistakes and duplicated entries. You should be aiming for a database containing fully standardised fields.
ENRICH YOUR EXISTING DATA
Personalised B2B marketing is crucial to bringing in returns. In fact, HelpLama noted that personalised email marketing returns 6x higher transaction rate when used effectively. No one has the time to scroll through thousands of records, researching and writing a personalised email based on contact behaviours. But correctly categorised data can help significantly.
By grouping your contacts into seniority, and job functions you can deliver highly appropriate emails targeting their specific pains. Similarly, categorising organisation sectors, types and sub types along with their size is an incredibly effective way to improve efficiency.
With this enriched, categorised data, your team can then run analysis on the performance of your marketing. Are you converting with C-level HR contacts more than HR managers? Who engages with your blogs more than others? This vital intelligence will allow for you to make insightful and profitable sales/marketing decisions through 2023.
REPLENISH WITH FRESH, QUALITY CONTACTS
To kick the new year marketing campaigns off, you want to continue to reach fresh, appropriate contacts with your products and services. Lets say your database has been reduced by the annual average of 33%, what is left of your data is not going to be enough to grow next year. That’s where replenishment of contacts comes in.
The typical approach is to buy a new list and gamble on it’s effectiveness. But there’s a better way. A bespoke replenishment approach can find the like-for-like replacement for the now invalid contact at an existing organisation, allowing you to nurture an established relationship for a cost-efficient price.
Additionally, a track-and-trace approach can keep you in touch with valuable contacts who have moved to a new organisation. There’s no software on the market which can accurately create such a tailored replenishment list so this has to be carried out manually, but the results provide valuable returns. Econsultancy states that 82% of prospects choose a business they are familiar with.
The overall quality of replenished leads is a massive factor in how a database will perform in the coming year. As the saying goes, if you put rubbish in, you get rubbish out. However, if you know the replenished leads have been researched to your exact fit, and have been freshly validated before delivery, you have the comfort of knowing that your new data is going to serve you well in the next year.
WHAT DO I DO NEXT?
The bad news is that all of the above procedures are required to keep any B2B database in top shape and running at peak efficiency to drive performance. Doing so in house is possible, but requires a trained team, software licences and a management process to ensure data governance is being met. To get all this ready for January 2023 is a big task on its own.
The good news is that a comprehensive data service provider, can complete all the procedures mentioned in this blog to the highest quality. A service provided by The Data Business has the ability to cleanse, enrich and replenish all forms of B2B databases on a daily basis, and have the skilled team on hand to approach your specific data needs with a made-to-measure approach at a cost-effective price.