Your contact database is your most precious asset because it contains (or should contain!) the people you’re currently doing business with or with whom you would like to do business with. Unfortunately, it often gets neglected and holds companies back from effective selling and marketing. Here are three common database problems and how they can negatively impact your business.
1. Inaccurate or Missing Information
Many (most) databases are filled with contacts and companies with inaccurate or missing information. Often, there are contacts from old purchased lists, trade shows, and other sources from the long past. Or, there’s not a firm CRM policy or culture, so there’s enormous variability in the information that sellers and marketers input (or not input).
- Example 1: For example, a company may be tagged as a prospect (not in active sales conversations), but they’re actually an opportunity (in active sales conversations). That information directly impacts your ability to forecast sales. You won’t have a clear picture if you’re trending upward – or downward.
- Example 2: Imagine that you only work with companies in the banking, finance, and construction industries. You have over 2000 companies in your database, but 524 are in Retail, and 1076 companies don’t even have an industry associated with them. Who are they? What if they’re not in any of your targeted industries? Or what if 65% are in finance, but your most profitable industry is banking?
Data integrity problems can leave marketers and sellers feeling very frustrated because they don’t have a clear vision of who they’re supposed to be targeting.
This lack of segmentation inhibits your ability to create relevant messages that address the unique questions and concerns of each industry or targeted group.
2. Invalid or Outdated Contact Information
Invalid or outdated contact information can be another big problem. People are not static beings. They move, change jobs, get promoted, or maybe even – God forbid – pass away! But many companies don’t have processes to update or cleanse their contact information regularly, so you could be trying to communicate with …no one. And that is sure a waste of time and money!
Unfortunately, I know from experience that calling a prospect and having the wrong information about them is pretty embarrassing. It totally destroys trust and credibility, and the sales call comes to a quick end.
Emailing invalid contacts also negatively impacts your email deliverability rate, which means even your valid emails might be blocked. Fewer and fewer people will receive your email communications.
And don’t forget about duplicates! When a seller is working on a target account, there’s nothing worse than having multiple of the same people. It makes it hard to keep track of the sales process. Plus, it distorts all of your reporting.
All in all, if your contact database isn’t well cared for, you’re not going to get the maximum return on investment from your efforts, and you’ll experience these problems instead:
- Lack of segmentation and targeting
- Wrong message, wrong person
- Inability to forecast sales or pull any accurate reports
- Lower prospect response rates
- Decreased email marketing deliverability (won't get through)
- Lose trust and credibility
- Waste time and money
If any of these issues sound familiar, it’s time to take a deep dive into defining the strategies and processes that will transform your database from random “contacts” into people you want to do business with.