The sun is shining and the bluebonnets are blooming here in Austin which only means one thing: 2 weeks until the dead heat of summer. I'm enjoying our short spring season by working from one of the many coffee shop patios around town. This is great, database cleaning weather. And with the GDPR gauntlet being laid down in May, it’s time to get things in order.
Data is the foundation to your technology and campaigns. There is a reason we don’t have our houses built on sand. It’s bound to fall apart. If your data and processes are not pristine, you are going to fall short of your revenue goals due to poor campaign performance and operational suckiness such as:
- Bad personalization
- Email deliverability issues
- Inability to properly analyze and segment
- Data storage fees for outdated records
- Time wasted with manual cleansing and research
So clean it like you mean it.
Take out the trash
Right off the bat, you can delete the following contacts:
- Hard bounces
- Unqualified or bad fit (applies to accounts as well)
- No longer there
Many get squeamish about losing the data. But if it is getting in the way of your ability to successfully do your job, it wasn’t providing you value anyways. If you fall on the more conservative side of this issue you can always export that data and keep it somewhere safe to recall later if needed. If you are also using a CRM like SalesForce, you can delete from your marketing automation platform and retain it in the CRM.
$$$ SAVING TIP: Data storage fees can get pricey, especially when you are paying for bad records to sit in your database. By removing the junk, you will cut down on these fees.
Take Inventory & Get Organized
Whatever tools you are using, they probably consist of content, landing pages, forms, contacts, workflows, lists etc. When you have multiple users and poor documentation and governance over your database it is bound to get a bit messy. Here are some tips on getting organized:
- Organize assets with folders, tags or naming conventions when possible
- Perform a Content Audit - we like this kit from HubSpot
- Questions to ask: How old is it? Is it still relevant? How did it perform?
- Ensure you have good content coverage for all of your personas throughout each stage of the buyer’s journey
- Review emails and refresh nurture campaigns
- Delete one-offs including reports, lists, and workflows that are no longer relevant or in use.
- Create redirects to the landing pages and/or PDFs that you may delete in order to avoid 404 errors.
- For older content, repurpose into blog posts or free, ungated content
- Frequently review routing rules and update with any territory or named account changes
Identify and fill the gaps in your data
One area of your marketing database that can get overlooked is the actual data itself. With inaccurate or outdated information and gaps of information on your contacts and accounts, you will be unsuccessful at personalizing email or segmenting your database for ABM.
- Identify what the most crucial fields are for routing, scoring, persona identification, and segmentation. The most typical fields for B2B marketers are Revenue, Industry, Employee Count, Job Function etc.
- Are you able to identify who in your database is a resident of the EU?
- Identify what accounts and contacts are missing that necessary information.
- Do you have contacts that make up the entire decision making unit (DMU) of your target accounts?
- Do you know who makes up your Total Addressable Market (TAM) and do you have those accounts with contacts in your database?
- What percentage of records are complete against this criteria? Monitor percentage complete over time to make sure you are improving your data health over time.
Once you know where your gaps are, come up with a plan to fill in the gaps and maintain that health overtime. On average your database degrades 3-5% every month. A data provider, like ReachForce, can help clean up your foundational data while ensuring it remains pristine.
Keep it clean
Nearly half of all B2B marketers are unsure of their own data management practices. Only 12% are maintaining their databases in real-time (good job)!
I am going to let you in on a secret about that super powerful automation tool in your tech stack...it can be used to automate more than email sends.
- Implement a lead/account status to identify poor fit contacts and accounts, competitors, etc.
- Run an re-engagement campaign to shake those non-responsive contact loose.
- Auto-identify duplicates and hard bounces to be merged or deleted as appropriate.
- Implement a workflow to maintain your active customer list when deals are won and when contracts expire.
- Create dynamic lists of your most frequently emailed groups rather than creating one-off lists such as customers, personas, partners, and closed-lost accounts.
We also recommend only uploading leads that you would actual sell to. ReachForce SmartForms will help keep those inbound leads clean and enrich all that high-quality data points you need.
I really can’t say this enough but you MUST document everything! We rely heavily on Google Docs for our internal documentation so that it’s a living, breathing document not something stored in a shared drive that creates version control issues. With the rate that marketers come and go, you do not want your processes to go with the person who developed them.
Here are some of the things I recommend to document:
- Data management processes and best practices such as how often you clean house or what workflows are enabled
- Naming conventions from lists to campaign names this makes it easy to find so you won’t create duplicates
- Baseline metrics for your database health in order to show improvement and ROI on the resource investment of properly maintaining your database
- Lead scoring and routing rules
- Personas and identification process
- Target customer profile including demographic type data
At ReachForce we are firm believers in the power of GOOD, reliable data to have a dramatic impact to your marketing and sales performance. The key to making your data work for you is starting with a clear understanding of what you have in place today. If you aren’t sure where to start, contact us and we would love to help you clean your (data) house.