If you’re currently aiming to get big, have you considered getting lean instead?
Don’t worry, you haven’t accidentally stumbled across a blog post for gym bros looking to get shredded for summer (if you were hoping for a discount code for protein shakes, we’re sorry to disappoint). Because today, we’re not talking delts, but data.
In recent years, data has gotten big. It’s growing exponentially and has become a major part of B2B sales and marketing. But has this improved the B2B buying experience? Some would argue not.
Just because data has grown, doesn’t mean B2B teams are totally au fait with how to use it properly. In fact, 87% of marketers consider data to be their organization’s most underutilized asset. 54% of this same cohort also agreed that their biggest data challenge is lack of data quality and completeness.
Both of which are essential for successful data-driven sales and marketing initiatives.
To transform your data from mess to manageable, keeping your database both lean and accessible is key. This approach focuses on collecting only what’s necessary, storing it well, cleansing it regularly, and making it user-friendly. It may sound overwhelming, but by following a methodical process it becomes much simpler. If this sounds just like what your business needs, read on.
Why Is a Clean Lead Database Important?
Simply put, it’s garbage in, garbage out. Feed your leads database with trash, and your results will be equally rubbish. A chaotic database stuffed with inaccuracy, duplication, and confusion will only hinder, rather than help, B2B sales and marketing teams. Need more convincing? Here are some additional reasons why clean data is good data:
Reduced Risks of Non-Compliance
The importance of data security is no secret, and it’s essential to adhere to regulations such as GDPR and CCPA or you risk crippling fines. These regulations require you to be hyper aware of the data you’re collecting, why you’re collecting it, how you’re storing it, and how you’re using it. A clean, well-managed database is more likely to be a compliant database.
Less Spent on Storage
Despite data seeming like an intangible object, it does in fact take up room in cyberspace. The cost of digital storage, while unlikely to break your budget, can soon add up. Keeping your cloud requirements to a minimum can save you money. Less data = less storage space required.
Better, Faster Decision Making
Effective decision making isn’t easy, especially considering 65% of decisions are more complex (involving more stakeholders/choices) than they were a couple of years ago. Data can speed up the decision-making process and provide clarity on the best course of action, but only if it’s easily accessible and simple to understand. A database in disarray makes it harder and slower to make the right call.
More Effective Sales Pitches
A strong sales pitch focuses on the prospect and their needs, detailing how you can help them succeed using your products or services. Therefore, the best pitches require a clear idea of the prospect’s requirements and current situation. Disaster occurs when salespeople can’t quickly lay their hands on the necessary information, like when receiving an inbound inquiry for example. A flustered salesperson and an unimpressed prospect are unlikely to lead to a sale.
Improved Marketing Personalization
Like their counterparts in sales, marketing teams drive better results with personalized campaigns. 99% of them say it advances customer relationships. But without the right data, personalization becomes impossible.
Consider a personalized lead nurture email that inserts the prospect’s name into the intro. If there’s a mistake in the database the tagging system relies on to populate the name fields, embarrassing errors can occur.
An example of this is when a prospect’s first name is accidentally stored in the same column as their last name, rendering the first name field empty. The prospect will receive an email saying “Hi *|FNAME|*, how are you today?” and this marketing no-no is likely to deter them from your brand.
A well-organized lead database underpins all essential elements required for B2B sales and marketing teams to carry out their day-to-day activities. Without it, a business can function, but it’s unlikely to thrive. Cleaning up your lead database can be transformative to output, revenue, and team morale. But how do you carry out the clean-up?
How To Clean Up Your Lead Database
Clean up on aisle three! It’s time to go blitz your data. A lean database contains only necessary data and is easily accessed and understood by all relevant parties. Here’s how to achieve it:
Create a Data Management Strategy
Despite data playing a role in almost every element of B2B sales and marketing, two thirds of businesses still don’t have a strategy to manage it. But with the reams of data coming into your business each day, if not each hour, without an idea of how to control it things will quickly become overwhelming.
Having a data management strategy in place ensures the business’s approach to the collection, storage, and use of data is consistent across the company. So, where do you begin? This article from Tableau gives a detailed rundown, but in short, the steps are:
- Identify your business objectives: Define your objectives and the data and insights you require to meet these objectives.
- Create a strong data process: Mapping out exactly how you will collect, prepare, store, analyze, and distribute the data.
- Find the right technology: The right software can be a huge help when it comes to managing your data.
- Establish data governance: These are the policies that protect the quality, security, privacy, and transparency of your data.
- Train and execute: Not everyone in your business will be a data analysts, but it’s still important to train all staff how to handle data.
If you take away one thing from this article, make it this. Simply having a strategy to manage your lead data should set you well on your way towards cleaner, simpler processes.
Focus On Data Needs, Not Wants
The line between needs and wants isn’t always clear-cut. Collecting lead data can feel like being a five-year-old let loose in a candy store. With so much data to choose from, where do you even begin?
If you let the little kid within you decide, it’s tempting to cram in as much data as possible. But less is more. On average, companies aren’t sure how to use 55% of data collected, nor are they convinced it’s been accurately captured. This makes it harder to meet your goals, but also poses a serious threat to compliance with data protection regulations.
Instead of collecting every data point available, take a minimalist approach to data. Don’t ask yourself “what data can we collect to make x happen,” instead, ask yourself “what’s the minimum amount of data we can collect to make x happen.” This ensures you don’t harvest data for the sake of data.
Keep the Best, Forget the Rest
It’s time to go full Marie Kondo on your lead data! Translate her ethos to only keep things that bring you joy into only keeping data that brings you value. A quick win here is to de-dupe your database. Don’t dive head-first into this, follow a strict process, and utilize automation where possible. Blunders here can cause even more issues, especially if you’re merging duplicate data with existing contacts—merging incorrect data, or losing the correct data, is easily done if you aren’t careful. As well as de-duping, remove any junk data. Some examples of junk leads include:
- Unqualified leads
- Leads with missing data
- Leads with incorrect contact data i.e., personal email addresses
- Leads unlikely to buy
- Leads with no decision-making power
Exorcising dead leads from your database prevents sales and marketing from wasting their time on prospects that are going nowhere.
Standardize Data Collection
It’s likely that many of your junk leads and duplicates were a product of a non-standardized data collection process. Actions that seem harmless at the time of execution can have a big impact on data usability later down the line. For example, having inconsistent fields on your lead gen forms.
If your Facebook Lead Ads are collecting different data to your LinkedIn Lead Gen forms, you’re going to encounter problems—it’s impossible to segment and target an audience with incomplete data or duplicate data. To counter this, ensure your lead capture forms use uniform fields. These should align with the fields in your CRM, and your sales team should capture this same information when speaking to any inbound inquiries.
To prevent cruddy data from even entering your database, automation can be a life saver. Adding verification tools into your lead capture process blocks submission of incorrect details. They act as a gatekeeper, offering a Gandalf-style “you shall not pass!” if leads try to get away with a fake email address or phone number. Thanks to this, marketing can avoid wasting their time sending emails that bounce, and sales swerve dialing numbers that don’t even exist. Consider a tool that can confirm the validity of phone numbers, email addresses, and zip codes.
Visualize Your Data
For ultimate data accessibility, visualization is key. Using an intuitive and easy-on-the-eye CRM is a good start. Also consider creating dashboards to visualize core data, such as number of inbound inquiries, number of qualified leads, and number of deals closed per month, for example. This helps demystify the data, acting as encouragement for both sales and marketing teams to keep their data in check.
Employing the methods above will have you well on your way to a lean, mean, data-driven machine to power up your sales and marketing initiatives. We recommend checking in with your data strategy in a regular cadence to ensure it still meets your business needs, as well as regulatory requirements.
Ready to Inject Your Pipeline with Top Tier Data?
If this post has taught you anything, it should be that despite the phrase “big data,” quality is often more important than quantity. However, if your pipeline is drying up, this clearly isn’t good either. If you’re looking for high-quality, accurate data that your sales and marketing teams can start working with today, look no further. DemandScience can help with all your data needs, with data that’s guaranteed to be relevant, recent, and complete.