You’re a B2B marketer, and one of your primary goals is, undoubtedly, to generate more leads for your sales team. It’s how you’re judged. Management likes this measurement of success…because it’s easy to measure. A lead’s impact on the bottom line is easier to quantify than social reach or content creation.
So, in a quest to generate leads, you invest in marketing automation and immediately start emailing leads in your CRM. Your fingers are crossed you’ll capture a few quality leads.
You don’t know it yet, but you’ve jumped the gun. You have the fancy rod, line, and sinker. You’ve even tossed on a juicy worm. But, you’re fishing in the desert. You’re never going to achieve the results you are hoping for.
“Why?”, you might ask. You don’t have high-quality data!
Your data is constantly decaying (it’s not just yours…everyone’s data is decaying).
Prospective clients are frequently hiring, firing, promoting, and closing. Hence, your data changes and consequently decays. It’s unavoidable. Your data will never get organically better than it is at this very second.
Some data sets are better than others.
Your #1 job when investing in marketing automation should be to acquire and then maintain the highest quality data possible.
IT WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE MUCH EASIER! And you’ll look amazing to your boss.
You may be asking – “why does high-quality data matter to marketing automation?”
Or, maybe you’re thinking – “I’ve got a huge database with tens of thousands of leads. I’ll be successful.”
Well, I’m here to tell you that quality data is tremendously important to successful marketing automation, and I hate to break it to you, but most companies have a sizeable database just like you. You’ve heard the adage – “quality over quantity” – right? It applies here.
As a b2b marketer working with marketing automation, data should be your life.
Data should be an obsession.
Data is to marketing automation as fuel is to your brand-new Camry. Without gas, your car will forever sit in the driveway, and without quality data, your marketing automation efforts are ornamental.
Liken it to buying a new MacBook Pro, to only watch YouTube cat videos. You’d never do that…right?
Have I made my point yet? Don’t worry; there’s a solution!
Let’s explore each aspect of high-quality data!
The extensity of your data is the most important aspect of your data set. Will you be able to deliver an effective email campaign with (#1) the fields “email” and “first name” or with (#2) “email”, “first name”, “company”, “department”, “city”, “state”, “website”, “lead source” and “lead status”.
The answer is #2.
The more data you have, the more effective your marketing automation will be. Extensive data also helps sales reps to be knowledgeable and prepared for conversations with prospects.
So, think strategically as you build forms and train your sales teams to update your CRM. Make specific fields required and think through future use cases and campaigns.
Some critical b2b fields (outside of basic contact info) include:
Do you use these fields? If so, how do you ensure they’re always filled out?
Accurate data means having the correct information in your CRM.
Remember I told you data decays? It’s unavoidable and unfortunate. The good news is that you can control its accuracy by scrubbing your data through a third-party, creating CRM rules, and training sales reps on CRM best practices.
I only have one point to make here: NEVER use text fields.
Or avoid them as much as possible. They will ruin your data because you’re relinquishing data quality control to web users and sales reps.
Take, for example, the field “job title.”
As a text field, users and sales reps can input hundreds of different job titles. Add in spelling errors and abbreviations, and you have infinite possibilities. Instead, use a picklist with up to 7 general job titles.
Text fields create a segmentation nightmare within your marketing automation software. Without effective segmentation, your task of creating successful marketing automation campaigns becomes a lot harder!
Do yourself a favor and use picklists!
This point primarily relates to buying or acquiring lists.
Before buying leads from platforms like data.com, make sure you have clearly defined your target market. Ex. Job title, industry, company size, private vs. public, revenue, etc.
If you don’t, you’ll waste money on emailing leads that are not a good fit for your company or aren’t involved in the decision-making process.
Save money and only buy targeted data!
No one’s data is perfect.
It’s impossible to have perfect data. But, as you develop your marketing automation strategies, be sure to keep data quality top of mind.
Quality data is the foundation upon which all GREAT marketers build marketing automation campaigns. The quality of your data will severely impact (in either direction) your open, click-through, conversion, and close rates.
Your data doesn’t only impact marketing. It also impacts sales and the company bottom line.
Keeping the four aspects of quality data sets (extensive, accurate, segmentable, targeted) front and center, will directly influence how you build and implement your marketing campaigns.
And, if you can do that, you’re well on your road to marketing automation success!
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