B2B marketing professionals have developed a keen appetite for buzzwords in the past few years. Ideal customer profiles, social spelling, account-based marketing, and all these other fancy terms have cropped up. They get the most attention in the conversation about best B2B marketing practices. It’s not that these aren’t essential topics. However, in a rush to focus on the ‘next big thing,’ B2B marketers often overlook more fundamental (and often banal, boring) aspects of B2B marketing basics. Aspects like data hygiene.
For any B2B sales and marketing team, the data they possess is one of their most valuable assets. However, merely procuring good-quality information is not enough. Neither is it enough to simply clean databases once in a while. If you are serious about increasing your B2B organization’s ROI, investing regularly in improving data quality is critical for growth.
Customer data hygiene collectively refers to the practices that an individual, a firm or company follows to keep its data error-free. As a B2B marketer, you must have been on the receiving end of disastrous results of a failed marketing campaign at least once in your career. Sure, many different causes and factors affect the overall outcome of a marketing campaign. However, data hygiene, too, plays a vital role in lead generation, marketing, and other client outreach efforts that your B2B organization undertakes.
How Data Gets Dirty
If data were the lifeblood of your B2B organization’s marketing efforts, good data would be haemoglobin. The importance of having relevant, fresh, up-to-date data is evident. However, due to a multitude of reasons, data loses its relevance and decays at a rapid rate. Studies assume that data naturally decays at a rate of 6%-7% every month. Factor in job changes, company mergers, promotions, hiring, and firing, and that number suddenly seems believable.
In a data scenario, dirty data refers to a database record that is not accurate. Maybe it has too many errors or missing information. Nobody wants to operate from the point of ineffectiveness. Sadly enough, most B2B companies operate with data that is not optimally maintained.
According to research by SiriusDecisions, at any given time, almost 10-25% of the average B2B organization’s records related to existing and prospective customers contain critical data errors. These errors include everything from incorrect demographic data to missing contact information. The report also observed that the average B2B Company’s customer and prospect data doubles every 12 to 18 months. If a database is decaying at a steady rate each month, this spells trouble. It goes without saying that the instances of critical errors, missing information, and irrelevant info will multiply with the growth of the database.
These numbers are correct, assuming that your company has deployed at least some essential data hygiene practices in place. However, many B2B marketing and sales teams operate with data that is just not nurtured in any way.
Let’s look at the fundamental ways in which data becomes dirty –
The average B2B Corporation gathers data from a multitude of sources such as social media platforms, email sign-ups, subscriptions, marketing campaigns and other channels. When prospects and leads access to many different channels, there are very high chances of the data being duplicated, not just once, but many times over. The information related to a single record or lead is scattered confusingly within these duplicated records. It becomes highly impossible for anyone to gather all this scattered info and append it to the relating record.
Data duplicity is the most prominent error observed within databases across the globe. As the availability of data collection channels has increased, data duplicity has become an even grander problem. Many cite it as one of the most significant challenges for B2B firms.
Out-dated and Incomplete Data
The passage of time has a way of making everything decay. Similarly, this is the case when it comes to data. Data decay is the process by which data collected by an organization loses its significance and relevancy, rendering it useless. Within the B2B industry, this data decay usually occurs as a by-product of a continuously moving, evolving and dynamic human life. Right from job changes, retirements, promotions, hiring, firing, merged companies and other such events, every new change makes your data irrelevant and old. The rate at which data decays is steadily increasing, given the increasingly fast-paced lives of people.
Basing your marketing campaigns and outreach efforts on data that is decaying at a rapid rate is a fool’s move. Data decay, data duplicity, incorrect, irrelevant or missing information in the database causes massive losses to B2B corporations. This is true especially for those B2B companies whose business is centred on the possession of good and clean data. When the data itself decays, the business suffers.
The Undeniable Importance of Data Hygiene
B2B companies, especially sales and marketing teams need to have up to date and extremely relevant data to survive the cut-throat competition in the sector. Regular scrutiny and corrective measures help to counter data discrepancies that will occur in the course of everyday operations.
If you are a B2B marketer, you’ve felt the sting of operating with dirty data. Not only does it mess with ROIs and success rates, but it also leads to tremendous losses of time, effort, and money that you invest in your marketing outreach efforts. If your marketing campaigns have been failing consistently, it may be a cry for help. If your B2B business isn’t getting the desired response from outreach programs, it may be a signal to clean up your data and take up corrective measures for your database.
Data Hygiene and Your B2B Business
Simple Steps For B2B Data Hygiene
While it indeed takes more than basic practices to keep a database in optimal health, here are some basic tips to follow to ensure better data hygiene for your B2B Company.
Create a Master Data Source: In the case of most B2B businesses, the sales and marketing teams don’t merely access a common platform for their campaigns. Typically a CRM and a Marketing Automation Platform are used. While cleaning both these systems are essential, simply cleaning each one up individually isn’t enough.
The Perfect Defence Against Dirty Data
Defending Against Decaying Data
In the case of automated data cleaning services, the software used comes with a set of pre-defined rules. Even though these rules tweak as per your requirements, the results won’t be anything near what the manual process can bring to your B2B organization. Whatever falls under the software’s field of operation gets corrected, but anything that doesn’t fit the rule will automatically be purged. Data cleansed using automated processed have an accuracy rate that is 60%-70% at best. This means that even after having opted for a cleansing service, 30%-40% of the existing data is still inaccurate and useless to your marketing efforts.
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