B2B sales have evolved. While the traditional means of sales such as cold calling still hold its ground, it is the data solutions such as e-mail appending and marketing that are catching the fancy of decision-makers. A sales team thrives on productivity and efficiency. To achieve an objective and a goal, a salesperson doesn’t have to work hard but smarter. And what could be a better way than ensuring a holistic, accurate, complete 360 degree CRM?
What is CRM?
Customer relationship management is an approach to manage your connections with potential and current clients in one place. It gives a holistic view of a client’s interaction with a salesperson and lets the latter identify the potential of this interaction. The best part is this single hub-point dashboard that lets you see everything at one place, from ‘what they are saying about you on social media’ to predicting the pipeline of the sales.
While CRM is a traditional tool used by sales and marketing, it is the customer service team that is making the most of enriched data at one place. With CRM in place, a customer support executive can manage and close the inquiry of a customer raised across different channels without confusion and losing track of it, combining sales, marketing and service- all aspects of a business. A lot of data is generated and CRM is the best approach to handle it.
Challenges and a Way out: Why do Businesses Need E-Mail Appending?
Businesses need to understand that bringing new customers is more difficult. The objective should be to retain the existing customers. It is where the real revenue lies, and it is the sole reason many businesses prefer investing in creating personalised experiences and changing the way they deal with customers.
A successful email marketing campaign has verified and accurate email database to thank for. If a marketing team wants to pursue online leads and promote products or services, it needs correct and complete e-mail IDs. If a sales team is looking to follow up the leads promptly and want to advance the pipeline, it has to ensure the emails in the database is accurate.
However, in a real-life scenario, data turns murkier sooner than expected. A sales team on-field may collect several leads that get stored inaccurately. There can be typos, incorrect information or sometimes the leads don’t get entered at all. The finer contact details may get lost and leads may not be followed up promptly. And the entire sales and customer support of your business may end up becoming guesswork instead of a sure-shot strategic approach.
People and businesses are the two main culprits behind bad data. People because they change jobs, change their phone numbers, location and e-mail IDs whereas the database remains as-it-is. Businesses often focus on tech-first and in the race of hoarding data while they tend to overlook aspects like CRM cleaning. The data remain old and outdated, yielding disqualified leads. More often, the sales and marketing team spends their time doing admin or non-revenue tasks such as verifying the information in the database, leading to the wastage of time and resources.
The Direct Marketing Association suggests that one in three users are changing their email ID to avoid the spammers, causing a serious dent in the database and eventually, customer-business relationship. This report shows that users show inertia to change their primary email IDs, and 51 per cent of users have the same IDs from the last ten years now. However, the struggle to get the customers to open the emails is real as the average open rate across industries is just 20,81 per cent.
This State of Inbound Report suggests that only 29 per cent of people are interested in knowing about a product directly from a salesperson. Fifty-seven per cent of businesses have made a decision much before they make a call to a supplier and often their decision is based on at least three pieces of content they see online.
And even if as a decision-maker you fail to acknowledge the disruption in B2B sales zeitgeist but your on-ground salespeople are feeling the heat.
It is not just sales that get lost in the due process. Your customers may approach your teams through different methods. They may ask questions, look for information and want you to get back to them. When you don’t have their information, you wouldn’t! It doesn’t make sense to keep asking for information from them, leading to slow response and fade out interest.
More and more organisations are embracing the data-driven approach to marketing. They want to acquire big data, whereas the real challenge lies in keeping it clean. The data is acquired through various channels and in different modes, making the challenge of gathering the right data and keeping it pristine is quite an arduous task. Marketers are always on the lookout of customers’ information that can be used to derive actionable insights. All businesses are required to maintain and create a database of their potential and present customers for e-mail marketing.
Why email appending is a must?
This study suggests that not integrating email with contact list leaves more than seventy per cent of data useless. It also means that every ten emails your business is sending to its potential customers, only three are reaching out. Seven of them are just being delivered to a wrong ID or a person who might not be interested in your services in the first place. A business should embrace data appending proactively. As its business processes continue to bring more data, data appending can’t be limited to being a one-time activity. A data-driven business should focus on data’s integrity more. Small data is even bigger when the data showing the way is accurate and clean, whereas even the big data can’t save a business from going bankrupt if it continues to sit on the archaic information.
Email appending takes place in two phases :
E-mail Profiling :
It is the initial yet most important step of cross-checking e-mail IDs in the database. It can be an automated, a semi-automated or manual process to identify the missing or actionable information in the database and flag it for further action.
Email Appending :
Email appending is a process to match and verify the customer data in the repository with actual information. The data engineers change, modify or add verified information to the contact list, complete the missing data or eliminate the incorrect one.
Benefits of email appending
Apart from helping you to reach out to an extensive base of customers, email appending helps a business in:
CRM Cleaning :
The first step of email appending is to crosscheck the database for information. The missing, incomplete and inaccurate information get verified and updated. It is important because more than forty per cent of companies are dealing with messy data across several channels such as BI, marketing and CRM.
According to 1-10-100 rule, it costs $1 for proactively preventing the database from getting corrupted, $10 for CRM data cleaning and $100 when it does nothing and just before its marketing and sales strategy becomes a complete failure! Regular CRM cleaning and appending can ensure that the data is cleaned up as it comes. No need to roll up the sleeves!
Multi-channel Approach :
A business can approach and reach out to its customers in multiple ways when it chooses to integrate its contact list with emails.
Reduced Campaign Costs :
When an email database is current and fresh, the marketing team can decrease the costs associated with a campaign considerably.
A marketing or sales team doesn’t have to spend their time digging out relevant emails out of the database. Instead, they can focus on creating relevant strategies apt for promoting a business or service.
Increased ROI :
Since promotional emails are reaching out to the targeted customers, a campaign’s deliverability and click-through rates increase to a greater extent.
Sender Reputation :
Email appending ensures the emails comply with CAN-SPAM and anti-spam acts across the world.
Enhanced Customer Satisfaction :
Targeted and concise communication via emails is possible with email appending, leading to wholesome customer experience. Since accurate data takes the guesswork out of the window, the marketing team can work on a better strategy.
Email appending and Email Marketing: Decoding the Connection
All businesses, big or small, online or offline, B2B or B2C – can benefit from integrating customer email database with the contact list. Email marketing is still the number one approach to get the attention of potential customers and inform the current base about your newly-launched products or services. It is cost-effective as well as engages customers in a never before manner! The feedback is real-time and timely.
However, like every other marketing campaign, it too starts with a list. If the list you are sorting through your customers is inaccurate and outdated, leave return on investment, and you can’t even reach out to your targeted customers. Yes, you got it right. The success of an email marketing campaign relies on the list you are starting with. The best way to get the list right is to ensure a hundred per cent accuracy, which is only possible with appending.
Email appending ensures that the list is accurate, up-to-date and verified. Since appending also includes enrichment and enhancing the CRM with verified and current information, the existing email database never becomes outdated. Your sales, customer support and marketing database can leverage the integrated contact list and boost deliverability as well as click-through rates.
The marketing team can also develop and execute campaigns in a better way since they know who they are crafting the strategy for. Most importantly, CRM cleaning and appending tackles the challenge of email deliverability- the major cause of headache for every marketing manager!
How to Maintain Data for Email Appending?
Today’s business is data-driven. Be it email appending or marketing; it all starts with data. Before you get all hyped up to integrate contact lists with email, you need to maintain the data and take the following steps:
1 Data Profiling :
Data profiling involves cross-checking and pinpointing the existing problems in the database. It helps in analysing the data much before you start zeroing in on the potential customers’ email IDs. A business gets a clear view of data quality as well as can have a clear understanding of how deeply the data needs to be cleaned. Also, many businesses use this feature to create ‘user persona’ that helps them to learn more about their customers, buying preferences, target markets and competitors. B2B profiling usually includes aspects like :
- Company information
- Board of directors and key contacts
- Financial information/balance sheet
- Company awards
- Area of expertise and function
- Key partnership
- SWOT analysis
- Infrastructure details
- Social media accounts
- Website and SEO graph
2 Data Cleaning :
Once the concerns in the database are raised, it is time to clean, update and verify those troublesome details. Details fixed in this step are:
- Phone number
- Email address
3 Deduplication :
Companies often take help of third-party databases, which more often than not have similar data. Duplicate data can cost business customers and money. It can block your view of looking at the bigger picture and stop you from embracing a complete account of analytics and target groups. Eliminating duplicate data can simplify the process for the marketing and sales team.
4 Data Enhancing :
Data enhancement includes adding information to the existing data. The executives may call or track a customer’s social media to find out relevant information and update the database. It is an important and integral aspect of data sanitation as it helps the marketing team to take purview of a customer’s data quite holistically, improving segmentation and outreach as a result. If a business wants to succeed in Omni-channel marketing efforts, it needs to take its database and its sanity religiously. It is a bespoke solution that is done keeping a business’ needs and targeted customers in mind.
Best Practices of Email Appending
Integrating email with contact list is the quickest and one of the most cost-effective ways to email list building. The updated database is compliant with anti-spam acts and laws prevalent all over the world and subsequently boosts your outreach efforts. However, email append isn’t a single, one-time activity. It requires continuous effort to keep the email list clean and up-to-date. A business can take the following steps to ensure a state-of-the-art email list building :
- Email append can only be done if an email is associated with an already existing customer. A customer should initiate the request of communication in the form of a questionnaire, contest or survey-offline or online. Some contact should be established beforehand by a customer or recipient to be added to an email database. Email list building can be done by listing existing customer contacts only. Prospect customer contacts can’t feature in the list.
- Email appending is one of the cost-effective approaches to keep the database current and updated. However, it is of utmost importance to choose your appending and CRM cleaning partner carefully. They should be professional and have the necessary expertise in offering tailor-made solutions as per your business’ need. They should have a complete understanding of global anti-spam laws and must understand the algorithm and processes involved in the matching process. They should offer assistance and training to the employees to keep the data sanitised. Whether it is a B2B or B2C email appending, they should follow a rigorous data check and pattern to ensure compliance. Your service provider should be able to run a series of suppression to keep the bounce rate in check. The suppression also helps in addressing blacklisted emails and CAN-SPAM database. Complying with the due process enables you to maximise the ROI and ensure the smooth delivery of mails with minimum complaints.
- A source of email append should always be mentioned to help you navigate out of a complex situation. Emails are sent out to only existing customers for an email marketing campaign and the complaints or ‘unsubscribe’ rates are generally very low. However, when you do, you can always pull out the source record to sort the issue out.
- A welcome message is important when you send out the very first communication to your customers. It is always better to personalise emailers and include a sentence or two about how you received their email address. It is better to seek permission in an affirmative tone without getting all ‘salesy.’ It is also called permission mailing. The subject line and matter should be concise and push the context for further conversations.
- Opt-out and unsubscribe link should be there at the end of each email. Users who choose to opt-out should be added to Can-Spam file so that they don’t receive any further communication from your end.
Email Appending in a Data-Driven World: The Conclusion
Most businesses are all about data today. It is data that drives their business, and it is, indeed, the key differentiator. Maintaining high-quality data poses a mammoth challenge for a business. While businesses are thriving on multi-channel strategy, they are also deriving actionable insights out of data that can help them to increase customer retention and get new customers. However, it all boils down to managing the database, which is the stepping stone of every marketing strategy across all channels and verticals.
As per a report, over forty per cent companies are dealing with bad data across BI, marketing and CRM and only sixteen per cent of companies believe that their data is up-to-date.
Besides, a sales team should spend its time pursuing leads and pushing them further down the sales funnel. However, if it isn’t the case, and you find them chasing the non-revenue tasks such as verifying the information of a customer, it is time to enhance and cleanse your CRM data.
Why does a business need to hire a professional data mining service provider?
The significance of correct email database can’t be stressed enough. When a business hires a B2B email appending services provider, it ensures that its promotional emails are reaching out to the targeted group, landing in the inbox and not in the ‘Spam’ folder. A service provider goes to extra mile to understand your business, its needs and challenges it is facing due to inaccurate and unverified database. Only the qualified and high-quality global B2C and B2B email appending are done based on your requirements to ensure a clean and updated contact list.
Many businesses prefer email marketing owing to their inexpensive nature and vast reach. With the right email database, a marketing team can execute an email marketing campaign successfully and in a more efficient manner. By the end of 2020, there will be more than four billion email users. When they choose to integrate emails with their contact list, they are enhancing their business exponentially. Data solutions and business consulting services such as email appending, data enhancement and CRM cleaning ; businesses can foster their outreach efforts and connect with customers globally. Ask the experts about email list building and how to maximise the email marketing impact now!
E-mail marketing: Some Interesting Facts
Ø Until today, people have received and sent more than 281 billion e-mails.
Ø In the hospitality industry, email marketing still yields maximum ROI and generates maximum B2B and B2C leads.