Keeping contact records updated and accurate is the key to healthy demand generation. Hubspot reports that B2B data expires at a 2-3% rate per month. So if you haven’t cleaned your sales and marketing tools in two years then the odds are pretty good over half your contacts have moved on. Most people are taken aback by that stat but just look at your own office – what did it look like two years ago?
Bad data manifests itself in various ways without you even seeing it first hand. As example, marketers watch their open rates drop and sellers spend more time on research instead of selling. In other words – your revenue generating productivity begins to fall off as your contact data decays. All is not lost however – there are three ways to update your contact data.
Email Validation – this is the age old technique of removing contact record when they bounce. This is a very effective method for companies that supply bounce data to email senders – but more and more companies are not doing this. As email has become a favorite for malicious actors – sophisticated companies are using Accepts All email servers. These servers will inspect emails for quality, quantity, SPAM, or malware and then decide to either send the email internally.
Social Validation – LinkedIn has become the database of records for most professionals. Chances are your LinkedIn profile will accurately represent your employment history and your current employer. The challenge for most companies however is that LinkedIn doesn’t just allow you to upload your contact records into their system for validation. The process is often very manual and comes with the errors of human hands. The second issue with social validation is that professionals often do not update their until they find a new job. So – if the contact was fired and is “on the market” that won’t be reflected on LinkedIn.
Human Validation – Machines do a great job at validating contact records at scale but they will never be able to match the level of accuracy of a human being. Your sales team already validates their own accounts and leads today because these records are the most important to them. (While this is a good idea – it does slow productivity as outlined above.) Some companies will employ interns or off-shore resources to validate or manually curate data from trade shows.
When building data for your own purposes or buying it from some one else – savvy sales and marketing leaders should employ all three methods. By the way – be careful if you are buying contact data. We recommend you start with social data as a starting point, validate the email records through SMTP negotiation, then finally have humans verify your most important contacts for accuracy. By employing all three methods you will have very little fall through the cracks for data quality.
That’s how we do it at RampedUp and there really is no better way to ensure your getting the best contact records available.