You may be the savviest salesman in the world but, at the end of the day, you’re only as good as your data. And for many companies, data could be a lot better.
In a recent State of Salesforce report by Bluewolf, 25% of companies cited data as their No. 1 business challenge. And as many as one in four B2B databases are inaccurate, according to research by SiriusDecisions. Marketers are clearly having trouble with their data quality.
What’s more, this “data problem” is costing marketers serious money. SiriusDecisions Senior Research Director Jonathan Block points to the 1-10-100 rule: It takes $1 to verify a record as it’s entered, $10 to cleanse and re-duplicate it and $100 if nothing is done. And these costs multiply exponentially as databases grow.
Ultimately, bad data can creep into your database for a variety of reasons, but you can eradicate most of it with a proactive approach. Below are four ways to improve your data quality ASAP.
Ask for More with Less
To effectively target customers, you need more than a name and email address; you just don’t need it all at once. Just as you wouldn’t reveal everything about yourself on a first date, your customers don’t want to feel pressured to share too much too soon. Make it easier for them with smarter, simpler forms.
Your initial sign-up form can be short and sweet, asking for no more than five pieces of information. Then, give your customers the option of filling in more details on a second page or sharing that information later, after you’ve contacted them. To keep learning more, ask them a different set of questions each time they download more content.
Keep Collection Organized
If your company has several departments using separate databases, you risk racking up redundancies and inconsistencies. There should be a natural flow from marketing to sales to billing and customer service, ideally within the same system. Take a look at how a potential customer is filtered through your company. The more the information has to be re-entered, the more opportunities you have for mistakes along the way.
Use Email Intelligence
An Email Intelligence service allows you to fill in data blanks with new insight from external sources. Having access to your customers’ postal addresses, social media profiles and harder-to-find information such as age, marital status and occupation will help you more accurately identify their needs. You can then personalize your connection with them and create targeted offers, rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach.
Clean it Up
Customers frequently change their email addresses—roughly 30% change them every year, according to some estimates. That means there’s a good chance that almost 1/3 of the addresses in your customer database are no longer valid. You’re wasting time and money each time you send out emails that don’t go anywhere.
What’s worse, you’re missing opportunities to engage with clients who have already shown interest. Email Validation services can identify invalid addresses, correct misspellings and check deliverability to help you clean up your database. Email Validation can remove up to 95% of bad emails so you can start focusing on reaching real people, and using it in your web forms ensures you are not losing any leads due to data entry errors.