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What’s your CRM data doing for you and how much are those contacts really worth?

For many companies, your prospect and lead contact data is one of your most valuable assets. It’s something you protect as closely as your customer list.

It probably took years to build. It certainly took a lot of effort and money, including all types of advertising and promotion. Revised, updated and new websites. Endless social posts. Attendance at different industry trade shows and conferences… and if you’re an exhibitor at these events, there’s also the cost of your booth and of staffing it. And let’s not forget the actual money spent each year on keeping your CRM software so that you can manage your contact data.

Your current database, or list of the contacts that make up your CRM data, may not be all that useful after all.

Do a search for CRM data decay and you’ll get a wide range of results. This is partly because in some cases they’re blending B2C data with B2B data, but it also changes based on your specific industry. If we look at just B2B data, you’ll see search results ranging from 22.5% – 70.3% decay each year. This past year hasn’t helped matters. For more on how data decay impacts your contact list check out this blog post from Data Axel.

In addition to out of date and cold contacts, Marketers also have to navigate the various Customer Privacy Regulations. Currently; GDPR, CASL and CCPA — though more will no doubt follow.

The regulations themselves are not the issue.

Everyone has the right to privacy. The reason these regulations came about is largely because of complaints from people receiving email that wasn’t relevant and that they didn’t ask for.

From a marketer’s perspective… spending time and effort marketing to someone who isn’t interested in the product or service isn’t just a waste of time that creates more ‘noise’, it impacts the KPI’s, hurts the brand reputation, and potentially hinders future opportunities.

What we should aim for is to reach those in your marketplace who are interested in buying what the company sells. For them it is highly relevant. They are your target market and most-likely buyers.

This is often the disconnect between the large number of contact records in most CRMs and those contact records that are most viable. In other words, where the current opportunities exist.

A few questions you’ll need to answer before moving forward:

  • How old are those contact records?
  • Where did they come from and how did they get into your CRM?
  • Did they all opt-in?

This is where things can get interesting.

Let’s assume for a moment that all of your contact records are legitimate – they’re just old. Old in this case being anything over several months.

Sure, you can have your contact data updated and cleaned, but while most services will claim a 95% accuracy, every day that goes by your CRM data will continue to decay. Just like mowing grass – it never ends!

If you have a service ‘enhance’ your ‘list’ by appending email addresses – don’t include them in email marketing campaigns – these contacts did not opt-in for your email marketing and will likely unsubscribe. (See threshold targets below.)

Now that you have an up-to-date list, before you use it for email, you’ll want to run it through an email verification service. From here, you’ll only want to email the contact records that come back verified.

At this point your original list will be significantly smaller. That’s a good thing, because you don’t want to be sending out email that’s undeliverable. Hard bounces put you at risk of being blacklisted. If this happens, you’ve got bigger problems.

The other challenge here is to prove that these contacts opted-in to receive email from your company.

Most, if not all, email platforms require that you only send email to contacts who have opted-in — it’s part of their compliance terms and the agreement you signed before using their platform and servers.

There are other examples, but here’s a common problem I’ve seen time and time again:

Your company exhibits at a trade show event and once the show is over, someone back in the office enters all the contact data from the business cards collected into an Excel doc, or you were able to get your hands on the conference attendee list, and these ‘contacts’ are then added to the CRM system.

Besides some other issues like seed names and spam traps, you can’t use these lists for email marketing. While they probably signed up for event material, these contacts didn’t opt-in to receive your marketing.

So, you’re probably wondering what are the limits and thresholds?

Well, if your cleaned up list is 95% accurate, you’re at risk of a 5% undeliverable rate. That’s 5X higher than what is considered acceptable for an opt-in list and will likely get you flagged by the compliance department of your email platform provider. You don’t want that.

To prevent unwanted attention from compliance, here are some general industry standard thresholds to aim for:

  • Spam Complaints: Should not exceed 0.08%
  • Bounce/Undelivered: Should be below 1%
  • Unsubscribes: Should be below 1%

Today it’s all about the opt-in.

Each contact, lead, or customer, has control over what they receive and, by law, they should always have a way to opt-out and unsubscribe — which you are then required to abide by. This should be almost instantaneous. If I opt-out, the system or platform you’re using should automatically prevent sending any further emails to my address. Besides, it’s just good practice and a smooth user experience is good for your brand reputation.

If you’d like to know how you can improve your opt-in numbers, or you want to know how you can get a platform that can help you build a list you can use (for less than you think) — give us a call and let’s chat. We’d like to help and it’s just a conversation — no obligation or strings attached.

#B2B #SMB #CRM #CRMsoftware #customerdata #Opt-in #SMBMarketing #emailmarketing #inboundmarketing #leadgeneration