There’s one thing that often holds companies back from effective selling and marketing, but it’s not talked about very much: their contact database.
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. But unfortunately, it often gets neglected. It requires time, effort and dedication to keep your database clean and organized, or else it will quickly become a mess. Here are a few common database problems and how they can be negatively impacting your business.
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 just random "contacts" into people you want to do business with.
Inaccurate or Missing Information
Many databases are filled with contacts and companies that have inaccurate or missing information. Quite often there are contacts from old purchased lists, trade shows, and other sources long past. Or, there’s not a strong CRM policy or culture, so there’s huge variability in the information that sellers and marketers input (or not input).
- Example 1: A company may be tagged as a prospect, but they’re actually an opportunity. 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. 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. Your response rates will be lower, and you won’t get maximum value from your database.
Invalid or Outdated Contact Information
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 in place to regularly update or cleanse their contact information, which means you’re trying to communicate with…no one.
Makes You Look Bad
And, unfortunately, I know from experience, it’s pretty embarrassing to call a prospect and have the wrong information about them. It totally destroys the trust and credibility, and the sales call comes to a quick end.
Decreases Email Deliverability
Emailing invalid contacts also negatively impacts your email deliverability rate, which means even your valid emails might start being 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 multiples 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 be wasting valuable time and resources.