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Like any good marketer, I know that quality campaigns begin with good data – the better the data the better the results. The problem is, our database is a mess and I’m not even sure where to start to clean it up. We have a large amount of data, it’s a mixture of old and new contacts, and I couldn’t tell you how much of it is accurate.
What should I do? How do I begin to clean up this massive data mess?! I’m not a very analytical type of person, so I need to know the basics to get in front of our data problems before we’re too far gone.
Marketing Manager at B2B firm, Detroit, MI
I’m going to help you before you let this data drive you completely bonkers! Data can be one of the peskier parts of marketing campaigns, but understanding the basics can clear things up.
In today’s B2B world, the keys to success, maximizing campaign ROI, and amplifying the impact of your efforts begins not with maximizing the volume of contacts you start with but rather with the quality data you feed into campaigns.
Start by considering the following elements of quality B2B data:
Make sure all the provided attributes are complete with a valid value for each contact in your purchase file. This may seem like a no-brainer, but even the most detailed set of instructions can return an incomplete list. Whether your contact fields are missing because of internal sourcing shortcomings, the result of an external list provider’s inadequacies, or because assumptions were made around which fields are ultimately necessary to run your campaign, always check your purchase for completeness.
Aside from ensuring you have the bare minimum to run your campaign, you never know what fields may be useful for data manipulation or analysis. You may need to match contacts to organizations from a previous campaign and may require a unique identifier to merge the sheets together. Alternatively, you may want to do campaign analysis on a successfully completed campaign so that you know what to build on for the next campaign. This will ensure no field are missing in your file when you conduct an analysis on what industries, revenue range, or employee size your most lucrative deals came from.
Get an idea of how often your data is validated and determine whether the freshness of your data is acceptable within the context of your campaign. DiscoverOrg, for example, has 100+ data points regularly refreshed and human-verified every 90 days. On their web interface, you can further segment contacts out by last refresh date.
The freshness of your data is important because contact turnover is every marketer’s nightmare and a reality of B2B marketing. Contact data is incredibly fluid as people change roles, jobs, and companies. Regardless of what a marketer runs, every invalid contact result is money lost to the company and client.
In some cases, you may even risk getting your entire company blacklisted if the data you’re using is too old! When your email blast experiences a bounce rate of between 5-10%, either the tool you’re using or the company you’re targeting may blacklist your domain. After that, you’ve completely closed off a world of contacts to your organization.
Make sure everything looks correct and uniform. A major source of bad data comes from human error. A file can be skewed by someone previously manipulating the data or it could come from how the data was entered through the CRM.[bctt tweet=”A major source of bad data comes from human error.” username=”televerde”]
Additionally, inconsistent management of data can potentially lead to duplicated entries and various iterations. This can lead to inaccuracy in report building and misreporting of performance KPIs (example: filtering your list of accounts by revenue ranges but not using the same revenue group size across your entire database). A fundamental requirement of quality data is to normalize your data so you can create a consistent and easy-to-use source of campaign information.
The Right Contacts
Make sure you are targeting the right influencers and not just going for as many touch points within a target company. A common approach to sourcing data to support campaigns is: the more the better. Nervous marketers want enough contacts to cover the duration of a campaign but also want to have enough to account for the quality of their agents and their ability to convert a prospect. In turn, data providers are more than happy to improve the size of the deal and provide them these contacts.
Don’t let data become just a buzzword for your company, let it be a reality
When it comes to campaign data, there will always be things that B2B marketers and sales just cannot control. With all else being equal, focus on what you do have control over and evaluate whether the contacts you source are complete, fresh, standardized, and right. The industry for sourcing contact information is still imperfect when it comes to providing accurate data. Some contacts will always age a little better than others and the only source for perfect information is reaching out to the contact themselves. Don’t let this discourage your data-driven strategy.
May your coffee be strong and your data be clean!
Data Services Team Lead, Televerde