Today, I received an email from LinkedIn informing me that 86 of my contacts have started something new (read changed jobs or titles). That's about 17% of my total contacts - and that's ocurred since the first of the year, in less than 7 months.
How long have your leads been in your database? What percentage of them do you think have changed jobs, invalidating the information you have on file?
DemandGen Report conducted a survey in October of 2010 and, "found that more than 62% of organizations rely on marketing/prospect data that is 20 to 40% incomplete or inaccurate." Their CRM records are also pretty messy as respondents estimate that between 10% and 40% of the information is not worth the form it was entered from.
Just this year, I helped a client develop and launch nurturing campaigns only to discover that approximately 45% of the emails in their database were undeliverable because the list had sat dormant for nearly 2 years.
According to Sirius Decisions, lead databases double every 12 to 18 months. This means there's a lot of opportunity for bad data to buiild up like the clutter in your attic.
It's bad enough that such high levels of dirty data exist, but what's really concerning is what the DemandGen Report survey found when they asked about how B2B companies planned to declutter their databases:
- 30% have no strategy
- 34% "ask" their sales team to update records
- 15% append to complete or update records each quarter
The no-strategy folks need to wake up to the smell of a musty attic. Especially if they don't even bother to eliminate the bad records altogether.
The more than a third who ask salespeople to update the record during their interactions with the contact need to stop and think. If buyers spend 70% of their time with marketing, how many will ever make it to a sales conversation that allows their record to be updated? A long-term buying cycle for a complex sales leaves plenty of time for change to occur before sales ever steps into the picture.
Appending the records is at least a worthy try, but I also wonder how great appending services are at keeping up with the speed of data change?
Data hygiene is becoming a necessity that we can no longer ignore by closing the attic door and hoping it will happen miraculously on its own. Marketers spend a lot of time, money and resources generating leads. We need a better plan for keeping those records intact with valid information.
Marketing automation with progressive profiling in play may be one way to more efficiently address this issue. Inside sales teleprospecting as an integrated component of lead nurturing programs may also be a great choice.
But beyond dirty data, marketers should also consider the implications of how fast roles can change. For marketers who segment their databases and/or use personas to create marketing programs, you cannot leave those tools sitting in the attic along with your database.
Can you answer the following questions in relation to the changes that may be happening in your database?
- If one contact leaves, is the job filled by someone new or did that job get merged with another? (If the latter, this is a new persona and a new market segment if it happens often enough)
- If the change is due to layoffs, how might that impact the target market's interest in acquiring what we sell? (Do they need you more or less?)
In other words, are the people you thought were your prospects, still your prospects? Or are they now someone you really don't know? And have the reasons why they need what you sell changed?
The attic is only good for things past their prime. This should not include your leads.