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Clean your data to improve your lead generation opportunities

Our monthly contribution from Andrew Leon Walker of Rame Marketing

I’m reading a lot about the new EU-driven General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that come into force in May next year. If your focus is on the B2B market, you can relax (for the moment) as this primarily targets the B2C marketplace. However, it does highlight an area that is vitally important for marketing purposes but one that tends to be left to drift along aimlessly without any TLC – and that’s your database.

Marketers and businesses spend a great deal of time and effort in order to continually increase the size of their databases but few spend as much time ensuring the data is clean and up-to-date. Relevant, quality data is the mainstay for marketing success and is key for lead generation purposes but according to Hubspot, your database decays by almost 25% per year as contacts change jobs, retire, change email addresses or opt out of your email communications.

So what can you do about it?

It goes without saying that you need to ensure you’ve introduced a content creation process to keep your website visitors informed and engaged but I’d also recommend the following 4 steps to help get your data up-to-scratch and working hard for you:

1. Implement a data management process
Take your data list and separate it into the following 3 buckets, Active, Dormant and Dead. Look at the gaps in your active list and look for ways to plug these. Create a campaign targeted at waking up those on the dormant list and don’t be afraid to purge your dead list. Make sure everyone involved in capturing and managing data uses the same rules when formatting data fields.

2. Segment your data
It’s much more effective to send emails out to focused lists rather than trying to tailor a message that fits everyone’s requirements. Divide your list into areas with common requirements, this could be by geography, by service, by lifestyle etc. This will allow you to customize your messages specifically to those who will be interested in your offer.

3. Have an agreed definition of what constitutes a lead
There’s nothing more demoralizing for a sales team than to be passed a number of unqualified leads by marketing that turn out not to be worth the paper that their written on. So it’s important to introduce a process that moves a “marketing qualified lead” to become (and accepted as) a “Sales Qualified Lead”.

4. Nurture those leads through the sales pipeline
Leads that come into the business via a specific contact form asking for information, a demo, a visit etc. can be handed directly to the sales team. But email addresses that have been captured via a web download or blog/email subscription form are at this stage, just contacts. So it’s important to engage with those contacts over time to try and persuade them to become prospects and then customers. One way to do this is via email auto-responders. When someone downloads a piece of content or subscribes, a series of automatically generated emails can be sent out offering additional information as a way of trying to move the contact further along the buying journey.

Introducing an effective database and data management process will help you to:

  • Qualify your contacts and leads
  • Reduce the cost per lead
  • Cross sell and upsell your products and services
  • Keep your sales team happy.

If you’d like more information on lead generation and campaign management, you might like this eguide: 6 Stages To Inbound Marketing Success.