getting your data ready for ABM

What if I told you that you should not trust 60% of the doctors practicing medicine? This sounds pretty terrifying, right?

SiriusDecisions reports that nearly 60% of marketers consider the overall health of their data unreliable. Also terrifying.

Clean, accurate and up-to-date data is the lifeblood of every high-performing sales and marketing program. It lets you deliver personal, relevant and timely messages to key accounts. Your Marketing and Sales teams are aligned. You know which accounts to go after in the first place.

The impact of bad data on your business is profound.

  • $14.2M – Estimated amount poor data quality is costing organizations per year
  • 60% – The number of companies that have an overall data health scale of “unreliable”
  • +50 – More than half of all records found in the average B2B contact database are misaligned

But here’s the truth: your data is never going to be perfect. And it should not (and must not) get in the way of executing your marketing programs.

So, what can you do about it?

Sandra Freeman, Head of Strategic Marketing at Engagio, recently shared with me how she is able to execute our ABM programs despite data degradation and discrepancies.

Her #1 piece of advice is “first, focus on data hygiene for your key accounts and top marketing programs to give Sales visibility and confidence in the data shown. Then, implement an ongoing data strategy.”

Starting Small for Quick ABM Wins

Just as your accounts are not all created equal, your data is not all created equal. Start small with your most important data. Here are three things that Sandra recommends starting with.

Execute a Data Clean Up Blitz on Accounts and Contacts

Don’t boil the ocean. Start with cleaning up your top target accounts and contacts. Technology is going to be your best friend here. Lead-to-Account matching (L2A) is an essential first step.

Lead-to-account matching will map your leads and contacts to their respective accounts in your CRM. By using sophisticated L2A technology, you can match on email, company name, and custom fields using fuzzy logic. Smart tiebreakers handle duplicate accounts. Then, you can route leads accurately based on account status. Finally, you can augment lead records with accurate account data (industry, employees, etc.).

Ensure Proper Setup of Your Salesforce Campaigns

Focus on your top priority campaigns to ensure your Account Executives have visibility into engagement in the accounts that will have the most significant impact. For example, start with field events, direct mail, webinars, content syndication, online ads, etc. Quickly deliver visibility into activity on these top campaigns, then clean up the rest over time.

Consider a Select Roll-Out of Engagement Data

Having good engagement data is key in ABM. One of our favorite tools is Engagio’s engagement trend chart.

However, too much data can slow you down. Consider limiting the rollout of important data, such as Engagement Trend charts, so that only the reps that have had the initial data clean up blitz on their accounts can see the trend charts first. Then roll out Salesforce View changes to more reps as the data is cleansed. You can set Salesforce profile permissions to only show Engagio to certain people (for example, your AEs in the ABM Pilot).

With the right people in place on your team, you should be able to accomplish these three things relatively quickly.

With that said, you still must put an ongoing strategy in place.

Your Ongoing Data Strategy

To set you up for long-term success, there are a few key pieces that you’ll need to make part of your strategy.

Run a Data Health Check to Analyze the Status if Your Current Data

To get a handle on the state of your data, a Data Health Check is a good first step. This free report can provide insight into the accuracy and completeness of your contact data and generate a Data Quality Score, enabling marketers to understand where information gaps and trouble spots exist. The Data Quality Score results will be illustrated with an odometer-style rating system along with a report on actions you can take for data cleanliness.

Design a Contact Acquisition Strategy
Keeping a healthy ABM operation means providing a steady source of new contacts for each account across all account tiers. Fill these accounts and buying centers with up-to-date specific contacts based on your ideal buyer profiles. This is the fastest way to grow your account-based strategy.

There are a few options out there. Many of the top organizations use a combination of the following options:

  • Manual Lead Generation: This skill is one that all SDRs should learn to develop. Reps can manually find contacts by looking through social networks, a company’s website, meetups or conferences, and blogs, forums or discussions boards to name a few.
  • Technology Plays: There are plenty of data firms that have developed their own methodologies for aggregating contact data. It’s a crowded space, to make sure you vet vendors properly before signing a contract.
  • Outsource: This is a great way to get quality leads at a fraction of the price. It involves working with freelancers (generally overseas) – which can take some resources to build and manage – but the results are worth the cost when you’re up and running.

For a more detailed description of how you can leverage these options for data acquisition, check out this blog post.

Implement a Continual Data Quality and Discovery Strategy
Quarterly cleanses are a great way to stay on top of data quality. This is a job for your ops team. However, if you’re short on time and/or resources, consider discussing methods of sourcing net new contacts or lock-in an audience definition with Oceanos and source “net-new” contacts monthly or quarterly.

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Since you have a lot riding on your high-profile accounts, the last thing you need is inaccurate, incomplete, or missing data holding you back, or worse, causing you to commit egregious errors.

But don’t let this get in the way of being able to execute on your ABM initiatives now. Start small and clean the data of our top accounts, then implement an ongoing strategy data strategy.