As a sales, marketing and lead generation professional, I’ve learned that there are three golden rules to gaining qualified leads and creating a reliable sales pipeline.
And they all relate to data.
- WHO is the relevant decision maker? What’s their direct dial or mobile number, and email address?
- WHERE is the decision maker located? Are they in the region your reps cover, and is that address correct?
- WHAT industry are they in? And are they the right fit?
These three rules all seem common-sense, so why do so many companies struggle with them?
Why is keeping your database current so important?
Keeping your CRM data up-to-date is critical to your business for two reasons.
- Once a lead is converted to a sale, do you have the information you need to retain and nurture the relationship throughout the client lifecycle? When your salesperson follows up on contracts which are falling due for renewal, to upsell or make a courtesy call, do they find that their client, in fact, moved premises three years ago, and they had no idea?
- The sales prospects in your CRM are the lifeblood of your business. Is the information you have current? Is the contact the right one, and is the business accurately profiled as an opportunity, so no sales call is wasted call?
Check out your own database
We’re given incorrect or obsolete data to work with, day in, day out. In fact, we’ve been supplied with lists where at least 30% (yes, 30%!) of the phone numbers are wrong. That means that nearly every third call is chewing up time and effort that you’re paying for.
Here’s a little exercise for you.
Export a file from your ‘current’ CRM/ERP into Excel and sort it by region, contact name, phone number, job title, email etc. Now, hands up if you find blank address fields, emails missing characters, job titles misspelled, random capitalisation of contacts’ names or even people that you know for yourself have left, or worse, passed on.
One tiny little error in a database can make it impossible to find a client in your CRM without using multiple filters and random search phrases. Out-of-date data is an exercise in wasted time for everyone concerned.
So how do you keep it up to date?
The usual suspects
Your salespeople? Well, let’s be honest and say that most salespeople are focussed on the sale, and not on keeping your CRM up to date. They have KPIs to meet, bonuses to achieve, a career to build and a family to feed. So, count them out.
And Google is not your friend. I know plenty of businesses rely on Google to populate their databases. Big mistake. The entire premise of Google is reliant on companies maintaining and updating their own details. But as a lead generation expert, I can tell you this is pretty rare (and I dare you to jump onto Google right now and check your own details!).
Who you gonna call?
Leave your sales team to do what they do best. When it comes to building and maintaining accurate data for lead generation, customer service, customer retention, and decision maker relevance, turn to the experts.
Quick tip: There’s no better time than right now to give your database some love, so you can maximise its business value in the New Year!