Big Data practices win in the B2C arena. In spite of this, we see many B2B marketers are still wary of it. However, if you keep data governance issues at one side, big data leveraged into a B2B marketing strategy can help in enhancing customer relations and customer experiences. It also helps with lead nurturing; creates ideal customer profiles and offers unprecedented opportunities to boost sales in the long run.
A database helps organizations reach out to their B2B clients. It helps approach them with more personalized offers and strategies. Data, in reality, translates to a collective set of information. Such information is related to your current or prospective clients. But, like all other things in the world, data gets old or irrelevant over time as well. In other words, the data you possess is losing its value at a constant rate. According to Forrester, data decay rates are as high as 5%-6% per month!
What is Data Decay?
Organizations tend to collect heaps of client-centric data through various channels. Some of the most common channels include past and present transactions. Even channels like social media platforms are incredibly useful. Moreover, information collected through emails and phone calls, on-site customer sign-ups, offers big insights. But what these firms fail to understand is that this data gets irrelevant quickly owing to various aspects. The information you possess loses its relevance on account of various factors. These factors include people shifting their jobs or locations when they retire. In some cases, clients pass away. In such scenarios, speed is of the essence. Otherwise, the resources and efforts utilized to collect customer data are all in vain.
Companies stack collected client data in various architectures. These architectures refer to a dedicated database or a full-blown CRM. Companies need to pay a considerable amount of money to either CRM service providers or they have to pay generous salaries to data specialists hired to collect and stack the data, in-house. But at the end of the day, however, the data is received, it starts losing its relevancy the moment it makes its way to the CRM or database.
The Solution to Data Decay – Data Cleaning
Types of Data Cleaning Services Available
- Conventionally, there is only one type of Data Cleaning service available in the industry. This type of service is also the one most commonly provided by a majority of service providers. Such Data Cleaning Service companies usually supply automated services. They carry out this function through a software platform or a software script-based approach. As per the client’s need, software validates the entries present within the database. However, as the job demands, we install specialized scripts to carry out the process. This process, though useful, doesn’t provide perfect results. It lacks human intelligence and logic to cross-check, validate or append the helpful info to the present records. Hence, the accuracy or the efficiency through this approach is, at most, an optimistic 70%-80%. It implies that there still would be numerous entries or records in the cleaned database. Having inconsistent info within your database can make your marketing campaigns yield limited success.
- There is another unconventional but significantly better method to get B2B data cleaned. Such a process offers the highest possible rate of efficiency. This method is guaranteed to yield up to 100% accuracy. The data cleaning process is known as Manual Data Cleaning. The dataset which goes through this process has the maximum possible efficiency. Additionally, the data is fully centralized to its respective fields, customized to suit your B2B business’s unique needs.
Be it Data scrubbing, Data Mining or CRM Cleaning, the manual data cleaning process for data enhancement is beneficial. These are a sure way to append the missing info to your current dataset’s entries or records. Currently, there are very few data cleaning firms that offer manual data cleaning services. The main reason for this is that manually sorting through a huge database can be an arduous and tiring process. But, given that the results of this process are exceptional, it is worth it. The database or CRM enhanced using manual cleaning methods is bound to produce a much higher ROI for your marketing investments..
Manual Data Cleaning and Data Mining: A How-to Guide
The very few firms that clean and mine B2B data manually carry on their operations smoothly thanks to expertise in the field. The process flow is multi-layered and flows as follows.
- The Manual Data Cleaning team inspects your database manually.
- They highlight the probable mismatches using the appropriate method based on various factors.
- The team picks up all the entries, one by one, verifies and validates them.
- Entries containing missing or irrelevant info are researched thoroughly using proprietary tools and methods. Relevant information then gets appended into the database.
- The dataset thus confirmed to have validated info, is run through assessment for a final round of inspection.
The above process can be time-consuming as many channels have to be accessed to ensure that only the highest quality info will be incorporated. A similar process is undertaken for both, data mining and CRM cleaning as well.
Manual vs Automated Data Cleaning
Automated/Software-Based Data Cleaning
As explained earlier, automated data cleaning makes use of software and computer scripts to validate any errors present in the dataset. But software and scripts have limitations. They work as per their design, and this design is often unaccustomed to customization.
Suppose you have a database of 5000 entries. The entries get subdivided into eight categories such as Initials, First Name, Last Name, Gender, Postal Address, Job Title, Contact Number and Email ID. Depending on the human interference and data collection process through various sources, the entries may have errors. Perhaps a contact’s name is incorrectly spelled. Maybe a few entries have been logged in multiple times. You may have incomplete info for a few records, and perhaps some contacts are entirely irrelevant. A client may have moved, got a promotion or passed away.
The Effect of Data Solutions
Manual Data, CRM Cleaning, and Mining
The results obtained through manual data cleaning processes almost always have better, more fruitful results. Let us take the same example above and see how it pans out concerning the manual method. Manual data experts follow the same pattern to find or verify and validate the info. But they don’t stick to predetermined sources, channels or resources. If they can’t see the relevant information, they will jump to another platform to locate the information. The common platforms include social media, LinkedIn, etc. They also use various proprietary, specific tools to fetch the email ids and other contact details.
Some of the most commonly utilized tools are-
- Sources – The primary sources for data are LinkedIn and Xing because they have the most recently updated database. Other means are Inside view, CrunchBase, Angelist, Google, Manta, Findthebest.com, Inc500, Hoovers, Jigsaw, find the company, ZoomInfo, Bigzz, Data.com, Twitter, YellowPages, Pipl.com, and other social networks that help to expand the searchability.
- Tools – Many premia and free tools to find email addresses like Email Hunter, FTL, Lead 411, sell hack, emailgenerator.Io, etc.
- Verification – To test the Emails manual data experts use Rapportive, mailtester.com, validateemailaddress.org, verifyemailaddress.Io, www.verifyemailaddress.org, email-checker.net, and a paid email verifier called AtomPark to check for bounces.
Manual data experts also send every email manually to verify its authenticity. All of this specialized attention to verification in the manual process of data cleaning, data mining, and CRM cleaning ensures a higher level of efficiency and accuracy. The manual process of data cleaning has been proved to have an accuracy of 99.8% to 100%. The perfectly clean and pertinent data ensure fruitful, desirable results and responses to your marketing campaigns. Your emails or calls will reach precisely the person you intended to reach out to. Your target audience will receive tailored offers and messages which will reduce bounce rates of your campaign emails to almost negligible. All this, in the long term, will benefit your organization and it will ultimately improve your ROI.
ROI Improvement through Manual Data Cleaning
Improving ROI has been an all-time concern for marketing experts. Specifically, nowadays, marketing through emails is on the rise in the B2B industry. Firms invest generous amounts of money, time & effort in marketing campaigns. But all these efforts go in vain when the databases contain incorrect entries with wrong or irrelevant email ids. The emails land into inboxes of unintended recipients and hence get discarded. It causes massive losses to the B2B organizations.
Cleaner the data in your database and CRM, the swifter and more prompt will be the delivery of your offers to your prospects. Moreover, when you are sure that the data is real, you can highly personalize your offers and emails to the recipients, giving them the feeling that you genuinely care about their experience as your customer.
Manually cleaned data, which is almost 100% clean, can improve your sales to a great extent.
The Calculation of ROI
You can calculate your approximate ROI through the formula stated above, but here is a breakdown of the elements in this method, represented by the following words.
Suppose you have a database of then thousand people whom you target through email campaigns and the per-customer profit is $100. Also, let’s say, to acquire a lead, you can spend up to $5, and your ratio of the conversion, i.e. lead-to-customer rate is 20%. It would bring your cost of acquiring 100 leads to $500 which translates to having about 20 paying customers at $500. As assumed earlier, owing to per customer profit of $100 you will ultimately have a sales profit of $2k, and deducting the investment of $500 your net profit will sum up to $1500 which is a healthy ROI as far as your lead-acquiring costs are concerned.
The calculation as mentioned above is a rough mathematic example to calculate your ROI, but the basic logic works the same way.
The $5 investment you make to acquire a lead is the ultimate cost you bear to grow your business. This investment may include your spending on marketing efforts such as email marketing, targeted ads, etc. If by any means, you can lower this cost it would readily increase your profit margins.
One needs to modify or alter the formula for calculating return on investment to suit real-world situations. You have to consider what constitutes as an expense, a cost and what a return to your B2B business is. The formula, in the broadest sense, only attempts to measure the profitability of the actual investments and, in the real world; no single perfect calculation exists.
But, once again, the whole scenario above is dependent only on one major factor, and that is how clean, accurate, and up to date, the data is in the records you intend on using for your campaigns. The cleaner your information is the more will be your conversion rate of leads to customers.
Your ROI moves northwards when you possess cleaner data. Your Data starts getting older and irrelevant as soon as it enters your database and you need to clean and optimize it at regular intervals. With all the primary jobs of handling your business, you can’t possibly spare time for these odd jobs related to meticulously maintaining a clean database. Thus outsourcing data cleaning to professionals seems to be a perfect choice. This solution will not only clean your database but help you boost your ROI with increased lead-to-customer conversion rates. You will also lower the overall investment required for acquiring leads. Additionally, your existing e-mail list needs verification as well as updating to ensure that your email marketing campaign fetches the right clients through minimum efforts. Hence a manual data cleaning service.
The Bottom Line