An Inbound Marketer’s Guide To Database Health

October 30, 2018 8:37:05 AM | By Matt Benati

An Inbound Marketer’s Guide To Database Health

Your contact database is the heart of your business. It’s how you market to prospects, how you nurture leads, and how you stay connected with customers. But what happens when good records go bad? When something changes with a lead? What are the consequences when you don’t even have complete records to begin with?

We all know that the answer is… nothing good. This begs the question: what systems can you put into place to ensure a clean, healthy database?

The Inbound Marketer’s Database

One of the great things about inbound marketing is that you’re always growing your database. Frictionless forms and valuable downloads are built 1) to be helpful and relevant to visitors on your website, but also 2) with database growth in mind. You’re creating content that prospects and customers want to receive on an ongoing basis — but the ultimate goal is to nurture those new leads in hopes that they become paying customers.

As your database grows, though, so does the potential for error. People change jobs — a LOT. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that the average employee tenure at a job is just 4.2 years. That may seem like a respectable time, but remember that it takes into consideration the steadfast workers that keep the same job for 10+ years, as well as the eager job-hoppers that can’t sit still for more than a few months, much less years. Research from ZoomInfo has found that 30% of people change jobs annually. Imagine, at a minimum, that three of every ten records in your database goes bad every year.

The Problem With Bad Data

Does it really matter if a few contacts are inaccurate? Yes, it does. And research shows that it is likely not just a few contacts that have gone bad — B2B data decays at an alarming rate of 70% annually.

In fact, that same Zoominfo study found that bad data costs US businesses more than $611 billion annually, and some organizations spend as much as 50% of their IT budgets rehabilitating customer databases.

But we’re not just talking about people changing jobs here. Zoominfo research also found that 43% of people’s phone numbers change, 34% of people’s title/job function change, 37% of people’s email addresses change, and 34% of companies change names — annually.

That’s a lot of movement in your database that can end up costing you in more ways than one:

  • Hard Costs – Depending on your CRM, MAP, or email marketing system, you may pay a recurring fee based on the size of your database or send volume.
  • Operating Costs – You pay sales and marketing personnel to develop content and communicate with the contacts in your database.
  • Intangible Costs – Continuing to send to bad email addresses can get you flagged by spam filters and ultimately damage your email send reputation.

The Solution To Fixing Bad Data

There are so many solutions to fixing bad data that the current “data quality tools” market is expected to grow from its current $610 million, to $1.3 billion by 2022. Companies know that the accuracy, completeness, and integrity of their data is critical for meaningful engagement with prospects and customers.

There are a variety of traditional database cleansing solutions, including:

  • List vendors
  • Internal data cleansing
  • Database cleaning services
  • Signature scraping software

But these each come with their own issues — like high recurring costs, internal time requirements, and irrelevant data.

Reply Email Mining Delivers Relevant, Fresh Data

The best solution? Simply pay attention to the replies that come back from your email campaigns.

It might sound crazy, but it works. Let me set the scene….

  1. A lead fills out your online form and downloads your content.
  2. The lead is added to your database.
  3. At the end of the month, you send out your monthly newsletter to your entire list of contacts.
  4. Except this lead happens to be out of the office and you receive an Out-Of-Office auto-response.

Ding, ding, ding! There’s your answer to fresh data. Let’s take a look:

Here’s a pretty standard Out-Of-Office (OOO) reply email.

OOO Email Reply

Once upon a time, marketers were mass-deleting OOOs out of their inbox as fast as they could. Now? When we really stop to look at what an unassuming OOO is telling us, it’s shocking how valuable they really are to database health.

From the example above, we learn:

  • That your lead, Mark is still a valid contact at the organization – With so many people changing jobs and positions, this is a win! Validating an email address in itself is a critical part of database maintenance.
  • When Mark is back in the office – Schedule a personal follow-up email for when he returns to increase connect rates.
  • Mark’s cell phone – If you didn’t already have this information, which is common with inbound campaigns, you now have another contact method for Mark.
  • Two alternate contacts, Stephanie and Bruce – Practice permission-based marketing, reach out, make your intentions clear, and ask the to opt-in to your communications. Map them to the account to figure out if they are influencers or decisions makers.

Can Maintaining An Accurate Database Really Be That Easy?

You bet it can! While you may be mentally calculating the hours it would take for someone to manually review, analyze, and mine the data – then go and update your database – I promise there’s an easier way to do it.

With an automated solution like LeadGnome, your team can mine email replies automatically and sync any data mined with your Marketing Automation Platform (like HubSpot).

“I’ve been impressed by the amount of high-quality contact data LeadGnome mines from simple email replies. And because LeadGnome integrates seamlessly with HubSpot, our client’s databases are automatically updated with fresh information with every campaign,” said Eric Pratt, Managing Partner of Revenue River, a HubSpot Diamond Partner.

At the end of the day, some of the most important characteristics of a database cleansing solution are frequency and source. Paying a data cleansing service annually, quarterly, or even monthly simply can’t provide the same quality data that email mining can. Imagine sending your email campaigns like you normally would and receiving timely, accurate intelligence about your leads in real-time.

Email mining closes the loop on marketing automation, bringing your email campaigns full circle by using replies to infuse your database with fresh information that allows you to deepen your knowledge of your accounts, more effectively engage leads, and ultimately close more deals, faster.

Want to see more examples of the most common types of email replies inbound marketers receive — and the kind of data LeadGnome uncovers? Download our free Revolutionary B2B Marketing Operations eBook today.

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