clean data

In ABM, there’s ample focus on selecting target accounts but not enough focus on good contact data. Clean, accurate and current contact data is the lifeblood of every ABM program. In fact, it’s the lifeblood of every marketing organization. Quality data means being able to reach the right audience, better conversion rates, higher productivity, and an overall positive ROI on your marketing efforts.

On the other hand, bad data can cost you more than you think:

  • $14.2M – The 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

Before we dive in, you should already have identified your target accounts. If you need to revisit account selection, we’ve written a few posts on the topic, ranging from questions to ask yourself, using won-sales analysis, and choosing the right number of accounts per rep.

Now, it’s time to assess the contacts you have associated with your target accounts. At Engagio, we call this “account coverage,” which is one of the essential 5 metrics in ABM. It’s a measure of data quality and completeness, revealing whether or not your database has the right people in it.

Checking the Health of Your Data

The first step of your data strategy is getting a handle on the state of your contact data. To do this, we recommend taking the Data Health Check by Oceanos. Their free report will provide insights into the accuracy and completeness of your contact data and generate a Data Quality Score, enabling you to understand where information gaps and trouble spots exist.

With clean data, you will have more accurate scoring, better segmentation and targeting, more accurate forecasting, and an optimized marketing tech stack.

The Blind Spots

Most companies have a huge blind spot when it comes to the accuracy of their contact data. The emergence of Account Based Marketing has only amplified the need for clean data.

To increase ABM success, it’s imperative that your contact data management strategy is ongoing. You need to maintain a quality standard for your house data, while simultaneously seeking fresh, new contacts within each target account. According to the Database Marketing and Contact Acquisition Survey Report this is one area where some marketers are falling short. Part of the challenge is that marketers are simply not performing data cleansing often enough to keep track of their B2B contacts.

29% of B2B marketer respondents said they only do so on a quarterly basis, and 27% said they don’t even know how often their data is cleansed. A smaller percentage (10%) conduct data cleansing on a monthly basis, and 6% do so weekly.

21% of B2B marketers are ahead of the curve when it comes to data accuracy; this segment indicated they are updating/cleaning their data in real-time.

With the data being a major pillar of ABM success, select a data partner that not only provides the contacts, but also delivers advisory services to ensure that you’re optimizing your contact data.

You need to maintain a quality standard for your house data, while simultaneously seeking fresh, new contacts within your target accounts.

The Data Demands of ABM

It’s also important to recognize that the traditional contact records simply don’t measure up to the demands of Account Based Marketing. This will become apparently when you start orchestrating multi-channel, multi-step Plays and realize your contact records lack the required versatility. Let me illustrate with a couple examples.

Let’s start with the contact’s phone number. Phone outreach campaigns often require more direct dials and, in some cases, the person’s mobile phone as either an alternative number or to enable personalized text messaging. But, something as simple as a direct dial spiders into the need for additional information. For example, is the direct dial an ‘office line’ or a ‘mobile number’? If the latter, is it registered to the company or the person?

Another important attribute is accurate information on where the contact resides geographically. This is especially important when companies plan to run a ‘play’ that involves automated direct mail. For example, when reviewing the postal addresses of contact records you may notice most contacts contain the company’s headquarter address.

Target accounts are often large organizations with multiple offices and many contacts reside in regional offices. If a direct mail piece is sent to the wrong office location, it will end-up in the mailroom recycle bin. A company could invest the time to call each contact prior to confirm their location, but that is both time consuming and costly. A more efficient approach is to append the contact’s location (city, state, country and time zone) to your house list, or when sourcing new contacts, have this information included where available.

This is just the beginning of a good data strategy. For more, check out Getting Your Data Ready for ABM ebook that we published with Oceanos.