Your B2B database is one of the most valuable assets you have as a company. The records it contains allow you to make connections with the right people. This means you can use it to power up your marketing efforts and grow your business. Effective data cleaning will allow you to make the most of this valuable asset and ensure your business is contacting people in a legally and ethically compliant manner.
It’s essential to clean your marketing data. Data cleaning – also known as data cleansing or data scrubbing – is the process of reviewing your database and making sure it is of the highest possible quality. Regularly carrying out this procedure will prevent low response rates and ensure your marketing campaigns are proving cost-effective.
In this post, we explain three simple steps you can take to achieve a clean B2B database.
1. Remove duplicates and amend inaccuracies
This is a fairly straightforward process. It may take some time depending on how large your database is and how many changes you need to make.
It’s crucial to remove duplicates because sending a message to the same individual or company more than once creates a number of problems. For one, it costs more money and uses up your resources. This is particularly the case if you are sending mail or making telephone calls. Furthermore, it makes you look unprofessional and sloppy, even if your campaign itself is brilliant.
Once you’ve ascertained that you only have one of each data record, it’s worth going through them with a fine-toothed comb and correcting any errors. For example, are there any spelling mistakes, or missing details? Filling in the gaps will increase the value of your data. Also, ask yourself whether your records are consistent. Do you use the same categories for each record? Are they formatted in the same way?
Making all of these changes will ensure that your data works as hard as possible for your organisation.
2. Get rid of dead leads
B2B data decays at a scarily fast pace – and this starts to happen as soon as it is collected. In fact, B2B data decays at a rate of around 35 per cent per year.
There are various reasons why data records are no longer relevant. Individuals change roles at work or leave their company altogether; organisations close down or move to new premises. These are all normal occurrences, so you just need to do your best to keep on top of them.
Sending messages to “dead” leads not only wastes your time and resources but also means you will achieve a lower ROI. For instance, with email campaigns, there are likely to be more hard bounces, lower open rates and lower click-through rates.
You can use suppression files to identify any leads that are no longer viable. These enable you to cross-reference your own records with a database of national records that are updated on a continuous basis. In this way, you can easily pinpoint any entries that need to be deleted or amended in some way.
3. Check legal compliance
In the UK, there are a number of rules in place to protect individuals and businesses against unsolicited marketing messages. These are outlined in The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (PECR). They are derived from European law and sit alongside the Data Protection Act.
The PECR cover direct marketing, including marketing by phone, fax, email, text or any other type of “electronic mail”. However, it is worth noting that there are slightly different rules for B2C and B2B marketing. As the ICO states: “In general, the rules on marketing to companies are not as strict.”
Essentially, it comes down to ensuring you are using the right data. For example, when carrying out telemarketing campaigns, you should not contact anyone whose number is listed on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) or Corporate TPS (CTPS) – unless they have stipulated differently. Breaching these rules could land you with a fine of up to £500,000 from the ICO.
Effective data cleaning
To recap, effective data cleaning will deliver a number of benefits to your organisation. This process will:
- Eliminate duplication and improve accuracy
- Increase response rates
- Reduce mailing costs
- Ensure legal compliance
- Power your marketing efforts
Regularly cleansing your B2B database will ensure that it remains the precious asset to your business that it truly is. Here at Marketscan, we can help you to keep your B2B database clean. To find out more about our data cleansing service, feel free to contact our team who will be happy to help you.