By Manoj Ramnani, Founder & CEO, CircleBack.
It’s no secret that Salesforce has permeated every element of sales and customer relations within our business. We rely on it for leads, customer relationship management, and strategic analytics, and it’s typically a daily driver across sales, marketing, and support.
But even with all the improvements in the world—the easy app builder, the creative reporting and data visualization, wave after wave of deeply valuable data analysis—one fundamental piece of the puzzle is missing—a reliable way to keep customer data accurate.
Advertise in CIOStory.com?
And it may seem like a small problem, an ugly reality of list buying that we’ve all learned to accept as business as usual. After all, we have Data.com, infoUSA, Zoominfo… We can technically refresh our lists, and ~60% of the time, those refreshes may be reasonably accurate, right?
Actually, it’s a huge problem.
Let’s do a thought experiment.
Imagine you’ve just bought a new car—a great one, one that everybody loves—and you realize that, because of gravity, road conditions, whatever, ⅓ of the engine will break each year until, after 3 years, the engine needs to be completely replaced. And, instead of solving that problem, the car manufacturer has spent the time since the car’s release figuring out new, innovation GPS systems, toolkits for building any accessory you like, etc. It’s great, the GPS works great, the accessories completely compliment your lifestyle. But do you ever forget that your engine will fall out? I think not.
We’ve found ourselves in an age of aggressive job transition. People transition jobs approximately once every three years, and what that means is that literally any list you build, no matter what you pay or how you keep it, will rapidly fade into obsolescence. In fact, go into Salesforce right now. Look at your bounce rates. Your “unconfirmed” contact info. It likely accounts for almost a third of your database.
In reality, each of our businesses loses tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars each year because of this. Our engines keep falling out. And we need a fix. Fortunately, there are a few things we can do—cheap, productive things—that ensure better data health.
Solving Contact Data Decay
Keeping our database accurate is a full-team effort. It requires the participation of team members across our organizations, but ultimately, it’s worth it. After all, without customers—without your engine—you’re not going anywhere fast.
- Empower your team to network: An easy, obvious way to keep good data moving into your CRM while helping your team grow their professional connections, creating a culture of networking is critical to your Salesforce database health. Simply offer to cushion networking expenses, and have team members add new leads to your CRM via a business card scanner,
- Have demand gen conduct quarterly audits: Being proactive makes data maintenance significantly more manageable. Pressing your demand gen team to audit and clean the data quarterly will prevent the molehill from growing into Mt. Rainier. Simply surveys of bounces—coupled with duplicate contact analysis—can help keep data quality high while ridding your system of costly junk.
- Build lists aggressively: While it’s important not to create too many barriers to company interaction, there should be no small amount of energy spent list-building. Premium content (like videos, podcasts, reports), free trials, webinars—there are plenty of ways to collect contacts, and with a wide enough reach, you’ll refresh old lead info while growing the new as well.
- Use email to your advantage: With every list, email sent, a host of good data comes back. This exhaust data can tell you a lot of things—clickthru rates, read times, and, most importantly for your data health, hard bounces. Hard bounces—emails that are unable to be delivered—are clear indicators of data obsolescence. This info can be cross-referenced with your database entries to ensure you don’t spend any more money trying to deliver undeliverable emails.
Though this won’t completely halt the gradual decay of your Salesforce database, it will slow the flood and save a lot of money. By keeping your data hygiene efforts and your demand gen in step with one another, you will help your sales force sell better. And isn’t that what matters?