In Data Quality Management

By Mark Kolanach

Thanks to everyone who joined Christopher Antonopoulos from Measured Results Marketing and me during our webinar last week, where we outlined the negative impact of ignoring the ongoing atrophy of your marketing database and discussed techniques for remediating your database and the benefits in doing so.

In case you missed the webinar, weren’t able to stay for the whole duration, or are just interested in reviewing some of the information we covered, below you will find a summary of our discussion for your reference.

We kicked off the webinar by sharing a shocking statistic from Dun & Bradstreet: despite 100% of all companies in the U.S. wanting to grow their revenue, only 30% were able to do so. In our experience, not being able to efficiently market to your marketing database, taking into account both obsolete contacts as well as the lack of segmentation data for properly focusing campaigns and messaging, is a critical failure point in realizing revenue goals.

What does your current database look like?

Dirty, spammy, obsolete, useless: these are just some of the words you might use to describe your current database. In other words, these are the challenges you need to address moving forward with your data-cleanup (see Steps 2 and 3 below).

Lots of Contacts, But Nobody’s Home

In the webinar, we mentioned that many companies invest huge amounts of money collecting thousands – maybe hundreds of thousands – of contacts from marketing campaigns, attending events and tradeshows, purchasing lists, etc., yet never receive the responses they expect from these contacts.

This presents a huge challenge for companies and their sales teams. Sales ends up chasing dead leads or looking at duplicate contacts or figuring out who the prospects are – all of which are costing you valuable time and resources – because they’re given bad data. To compound this, you can’t even market effectively to them, creating a double negative hit on productivity.

So how do you ensure that your database contains qualified people without mixing in all of those dead leads? The key is to maintain the currency and hygiene of your database, as Gartner research indicates that 22% of U.S workers, on average, change jobs over a 12 month period. Full disclosure, Gartner is a ReachForce customer.

5 Steps to Fixing Your Data Problem

In order to fix your data, Christopher outlined the five essential steps he communicates to his customers when working to address their dirty database challenges.

1. Determine which data is required. Desired data can be separated into three tiers.

  • Essentials: the title, company, and the prospect/customer. This is the information that is absolutely essential to collect in order to validate and qualify leads. This is obviously in addition to their name and email address.
  • Refinements: things like geography, product/interest, industry, decision role, company size, etc. This is the additional information that enables you to start really breaking your leads into groups, for better lead scoring, targeting for campaigns, persona development, etc.
  • Best of Class. These are their pain points: the things that drive their behavior, help with progressive profiling and predictive messaging.

The good news is that with ReachForce SmartForms you can have a short 5 field form and still catapult your new inbound leads through the first two stages of data gathering (Essentials and Refinements).

SmartForms works behind the scenes to populate the demographic and firmographic information of up to four levels of company hierarchy from our database of licensed company data to enable you to know where that prospect sits geographically while also knowing their company HQ location for proper lead routing. Add in our Inferred Technology data, licensed from Datanyze, and you have a winning formula for enabling you to focus your energy on activities that will differentiate you from the competition.

2. Evaluate your existing data. When evaluating your existing data, you should be asking yourself:

  • Is this lead/contact valid or obsolete?
  • Is this a marketable contact?
  • Am I missing critical information?
  • Which contacts have information I can segment on for campaigns or personalization, as well as developing personas?

If you aren’t able to answer these questions, your data is challenged. And keep in mind, bad data that you believe good is worse than no data at all.

3. Clean up your data. Using free crowdsourced or screenscraped data (unverified) instead of verified data is going to create uncertainty in your database. This is why we license our data from the top aggregators in the business – we don’t trust your success or failure to cheap shortcuts. Implementing an automated data management system cleans up those errors in a much quicker and more efficient manner than by you manually doing it. Plus, it doesn’t interfere with you getting home to have dinner with your family, like the manual method frequently will.

4. Re-engage. Once you’ve cleaned up your database and validated your contacts, it’s important to go back and reconnect with those contacts with a meaningful message, and now your database will allow you to identify different audiences for different messages. Individuals who don’t respond to emails or download collateral will naturally fall out of your database.

5. Prevent bad data from happening. Think of this as your database’s bouncer (Angus, as seen in the webinar). You need to prevent bad data from residing in your database, whether on the inbound or just aging out (see Gartner statistic above). ReachForce’s Continuous DataManager (CDM) solution does just this, ensuring that only verified, complete data resides in your database, while obsolete, spammy, duplicate records are flagged for your review and remediation.

Database hygiene is essential for business growth and success. It helps you target qualified leads instead of wasting your time and the time of your sales team going after contacts that aren’t interested.

For more information on ReachForce SmartForms and CDM, visit our products page.