How to Build (and Keep) a Clean Marketing Database

Databases ‌• April 22, 2015

Let’s say you are marketing a steakhouse. Would you advertise in Vegan magazine?

Of course not. Ridiculous. That would be a huge waste of money and effort.

So in your real business, you’d never waste resources marketing to the wrong prospects, right?

Well…not knowingly. Or maybe you know it’s happening, but the prospect of trying to clean up the database has been so daunting that the problem has been allowed to fester and grow. If so, the same waste of resources as in the steakhouse example is occurring—but at a much greater cost over time.

It’s initially surprising how many companies have marketing databases filled with companies and people who don’t belong there—who don’t represent real buying opportunities for the products and services the company is selling. But once you start delving into the way databases are created and maintained (or not), it becomes pretty clear why starting with, and keeping, a clean database is paramount if you want to be in a position to win when the right customers are ready to buy.

What causes a bloated, poorly targeted database? For one, a failure to fully define, ahead of time, your unique total addressable market (TAM). If you’ve only focused on company types and contact titles, you haven’t gone far enough, and the resulting leads from your database are going to be too generic for your sales team to pursue.

Another way your database gets bloated is through the addition of “unwashed” inbound contacts that find you themselves, opt in, and often get added through marketing automation without much vetting. The shift to inbound marketing ensures this process will snowball into a huge mass of unqualified data that gets passed to sales before it should, unless you employ some type of triage process to further develop (or eliminate) these prospects.

And finally, attrition happens. HubSpot estimates that email databases deteriorate by 25% each year. So starting with the right data is the best first step—but it has to be followed by a consistent, ongoing effort to keep it accurate.

What if you already have a database, and you’re not about to chuck it to start fresh? No problem. You can—and must–still clean up your existing database so that it reflects the accounts and contacts who meet your criteria. OppSource has a specialized lead triage process that categorizes leads into those that fall into your TAM and those that don’t—with further workflows set up to provide additional nurturing or disqualification as needed.

To learn more about building (and keeping) a clean database, defining your TAM, and generating leads that are truly ready for sales pursuit, download our how-to guide here.

Sam McCue
Inbound Marketing guru, avid fisherman, and all-around backcountry enthusiast.

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