Good clean complete data is the foundation of any demand generation program. And like any foundation, if it’s shaky, your results will suffer. If you want better delivery, higher response rates, a better customer experience and more engagement you need to make getting quality data a priority. Here are some tips on how:
1. Don’t buy in to the myth that asking for just email address means you get more leads. This is the second biggest mistake I see in demand gen*. The whole point is to get leads that your company can follow up and an email address doesn’t cut it. So, think of everything your sales team needs to do their job and ask for all of it. Normally, that’s a minimum of contact name, company name, phone, email and some sort of geo info. Plus, any vital filters. If your product only works for companies with 500 or more employees, ask for company size. If you can only sell to people who have a certain type of equipment, ask about it.
2. However, asking for data means you have to make sure your offers are attractive and more robust than “sign up for our newsletter”. I’ll touch on offers in my next blog, but the rule of thumb is that you should offer content that is educational and helps your prospect learn more or solve every day problems.
3. If you’re really reluctant to ask for the data you need, consider taking advantage of some of the information tools available. Some of my clients have had great success using data partners to fill in industry, address information, software used and even a company’s sales channel.
4. To grow your data even more, use dynamic forms – particularly if you have a good nurturing program. Start with the minimum of what you need and each time a prospect responds to an offer, add a question or two. Over time, you can build a very complete data record. Consider adding questions on timeframe for purchase, what budget is, areas of interest, etc.
5. Once you’ve addressed complete data, it’s time to focus on accuracy. Lock down the fields on your forms so your prospects can’t enter data that isn’t accurate, searchable or segmentable. Use pull down menus instead of open ended forms for things like title, job function and industry, standardize cities and states and check for consistency before you load lists into your marketing automation to make sure you’re not loading in dirty data.
6. If you have a CRM or gather data at retail locations, lock down data fields there as well. And it’s also helpful to train your sales and retail teams on the importance of clean data by giving examples of how you use it and how bad data can hinder success. Even better – hand out incentives for data cleanliness.
7. If after your best efforts, you’re not sure your data is clean, don’t use it to segment or personalize. Nothing breaks a relationship with a prospect more quickly than sending Joe a “Dear Bob” email or a “special offer just for banks like yours” to a restaurant. Stick to generic offers until you have total confidence.
8. Be extra careful if you collect names outside of the U.S. and want to market to them. Other countries have very specific email laws and you’ll need to both be sure that you know which names are from those countries and that you’re gathering the permissions needed.
9. Be diligent about removing or suspending inactive names and bounced email addresses. First, if they’re inactive or bouncing, they’re not engaged with your company so you shouldn’t be wasting your time or theirs. Second, emailing to inactive names can mean you’re marketing to SPAM traps and impacting your deliverability.
10. If you have a large database, consider data modelling. Data modelling generally means looking for attributes of your best prospects and customers and applying those to your database. It can mean you can identify your hottest prospects and just as importantly, eliminate leads that are likely a waste of time.
Need help? A vendor recommendation? Let me know!
*Number one is doing any sort of demand generation without an objective.