Sales & Marketing – Your Prospect Database

Your prospect database is like a sight and scope on a rifle.  If the sight is set on your rifle correctly, you’ll hit your revenue target easily when you squeeze the trigger to execute on your inside sales and marketing efforts.  If the site is off by the slightest amount, as you shoot your weapon (ie try to get revenue), you’ll miss your target.

Several issues contribute to poor data quality – technology, executives, segmentation, and processes.  Let’s dive into each.

  • Today’s technology enables an end user to enter in multiple variations of a company name or contact affiliation.  Salesforce.com fields for a company name may include variations on company names such as I.B.M., IBM, and International Business Machines.  Consequently, data duplication issues may exist as a result.

 

  • Executives often overlook the importance of database health.  The technology is new, inbound marketing and inbound selling is also an emerging area in terms of importance, so as these two areas collide, it sometimes can be counterproductive.  Prospect databases are typically owned by marketing – yet when marketing struggles to measure its own value via metrics, this metric is not always considered enough or relevant to make it a key performance indicator.  What gets measured gets improved upon so no measurement means high risk.

 

  • Segmentation is often overlooked by marketers relative to database size and quality.  If a sales and marketing element agree on what a ‘perfect prospect profile’ looks like, how many of the prospect database actually fit the description of the target?  How wide is the overall contact or total available market for contacts?  Dun and Bradstreet 360 can help solve this type of concern primarily for North America market segments;  globally, data is much more challenging to segment.

 

  • Processes are also missing at the tactical level.  People often change companies within the prospect database.  Is there a strategy to ‘retire’ dead prospects, or does the company keep marketing to those prospects until the point where the company renders its email campaigns ineffective?  Is there a process to monitor the database quality at the tactical marketing level to ensure the site of the rifle is constantly fine tuned?

This element of marketing is one of the least ‘sexy’ or glorified for those that are non-analytical or are big into branding.  Yet the branding, the marketing campaigns, and the PR can be rendered ineffective efforts if the database is not healthy.

What have you found to work effectively for your database?

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