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Bad to Great Databases & Lead Generation Marketing

High quality data is half the battle to successful lead generation marketing

Best case as an organization, you run multi-channel lead generation marketing campaigns to utilize your valuable data. To do so effectively, you should have a formal, internally published data entry policy and a visual how-to guide for all sales force automation (SFA) and customer relationship manager (CRM) users. The documents should outline exactly what data is acceptable for all leads, contacts, and accounts to create a solid framework. And the documents should be part of the onboarding process. Helpful data entry guidance tips, or hints should also be incorporated into the SFA/CRM software.

Policy examples:

    ● Enter or import NY, not New York in the State field
    ● Enter or import United Kingdom, not UK in the Country field
    ● Enter contact titles, and industries in a standardized format for intermediate, and advanced persona and vertical targeting, tracking, and analysis. In all instances where a pick list exists ensure the list is broad enough, as “Other” isn’t helpful when segmenting, or useful during reporting.
    ● Before manually entering a new contact or account do a broad-sweeping search by typing only 3-5 characters for the contact or account you are adding, to see if the data already exists.
    ● When an account or contact has been updated, track the date, and by whom for quality control, and to know when to refresh.

Additionally, I suggest utilizing at least 1, preferably 2, deduplication tools beyond what comes standard with your SFA or CRM to create and maintain ideal conditions.

It’s in the details. The simpler the task, the easier it is to overlook and run into issues such as the examples below:

    ● Multiple users enter data in different formats making it difficult to run targeted and segmented campaigns, and making insightful reporting challenging and less automated
    ● Duplicates can lead to poor prospect, or customer impressions, unsubscribes, and do not call requests per multiple representatives contacting key contacts that have already been contacted via phone, or email
    ● Being slow to assign a lead or respond to a contact who has requested more information can result in missed sales opportunities

For optimal marketing and sales performance utilize multiple data sources

In my experience, when building or updating an existing database, the best aggregated data comes from multiple sources such as Data.com, Hoover’s, InfoUSA, Avention, ZoomInfo, LinkedIn, LeadFerret, Harte Hanks, Lead411, prospect’s website, trade directories, etc.

I’ve evaluated, tested, and utilized many data list providers, directories, and email appending providers worldwide, and I can easily tell you that the quality varies greatly. You should test sources to find out which ones work best for your particular organization.

In-house data management

For the most comprehensive results, I’ve learned folks should have a dedicated, FT, in-house person that is responsible for overseeing data verification and unification, superior quality, policy communication and enforcement, formal and ad-hoc data training, and accurate lead distribution.

With some data automation involved I’ve found 1 research operations person can support 10 lead generation marketing representatives with each managing 2,600 accounts annually maximum.

Outsourced data management

Alternatively, a startup to large sized business can utilize a thorough outsourced vendor to assist and clean data at regular intervals. Ideally, organizations should update data every quarter, or 6 months per changing titles, phone numbers, company moves, company name changes, etc. You should own the data vs. renting lists.

When appropriate, I introduce my clients to such an outsourced vendor so the client can focus on their core competency, and I can focus on brand awareness, connecting with senior executives, sharing a client story, and scheduling appointments for sales representatives, or executive management.

With great business intelligence comes great power

Great business intelligence and specific quality data factors like a current direct phone number, and a correct email address will allow your sales support and sales departments to be more productive, and increase the number of meaningful conversations.

The result will be higher conversion numbers, better marketing campaign ROI, and more sales-ready leads.

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