As a marketer, your database is your most important asset. Picture the marketing funnel, and you’ll see that data plays an important role at each stage.
In order to segment leads into the right nurture programs, you need to know their job title and interests. In order to qualify leads, you need to know that their business is in the right industries to use your product, they’re located in a region your company serves, and they’ve shown enough interest for your sales team to reach out. In order for sales to have a productive conversation, they need to know who the lead is and how he or she has engaged with your company’s content.
At the end of the day, a clean database is critical to marketing and sales efficiency.
Yet, maintaining the quality of data is an on-going challenge for marketers. A recent survey found that over half of marketers don’t have an effective process to ensure that the quality of data is up to par in their key systems.
Marketing Data Challenges
Unlike sales, which has a regulated input of leads into their CRM, marketing must fill their database with a variety of sources: landing page forms, trade-shows/events, third party lead generation programs, and data enrichment tools.
Marketing data comes in all shapes and sizes. Much of this data is semi-structured or unstructured. Marketers rely on inputs like job titles and role descriptions to segment leads based on personas. But these data points can come with many variations. A “Search Marketing Manager” can also be an “SEO Specialist” or a “Director of Paid and Organic Traffic.”
Last but not least, marketing data gets stale very quickly. According to Hubspot research, email marketing databases naturally degrade by 22.5% every year. When someone changes jobs, gets a promotion, or has already made a purchase from a competitor, your existing contact info becomes irrelevant.
So, what can you do to make sure your database helps you achieve your ultimate goal: to engage all prospects and customers with relevant messages to generate more leads and revenue?
Here are five strategies we deploy at Socedo to help our database stay in tip top shape.
1. Use third party data to get a holistic view of buyer interests and intent
Your own data capture mechanisms will not provide you with adequate data to qualify your leads. At Socedo, we use a variety of data sources. Our first-party data is captured through landing page form fills when someone registers for a webinar or downloads a whitepaper. About three-fourths of our database is filled with socially engaged leads sourced from our own product. We use Socedo to identify our target audience on Twitter, find their corporate email addresses and sync these contacts into our marketing automation system. From there, we use Clearbit – a data enrichment tool to append company size, address and technology use data to these contacts. We use Openprise to help us standardize fields like company name that come in from different sources, and Ringlead to match leads to their accounts (company).
Finally, integrating Google Analytics for website tracking and Oktopost for social campaign tracking with our marketing automation system help us understand how leads are interacting with our marketing efforts.
2. Use Social Data to understand buyer interests and intent
Social data provides a real-time and accurate look at your leads. Just like email, website and paid ads engagement indicates buyer interest, interactions on social media – where the average person spends about two hours every day – provide a great view into the topics your leads are talking about, the influencers they follow, and whether they are doing research on products in your space.
With data enrichment tools that pull in social data, you can get up-to-date information on how people engage with certain topics on social networks, the number of followers they have, job titles, company names and employment history. These data points provide useful signals to inform your lead scoring and email nurture programs.
By integrating your social media management platform (i.e. Hootsuite, Oktopost) directly with your marketing automation system or CRM system, you can track which leads were generated by which campaigns or posts for accurate attribution.
For even deeper insights at the lead level, Socedo’s Social Lead Monitoring Solution enables you to identify all leads in your database who are active on social networks, monitor their interactions with your brand, competitors or other relevant keywords. With real-time insights into your leads’ social activities, you can add social behavioral data to your lead scoring model, segment your database by what leads engage with on social media, and give your sales team an understanding of leads’ interests and where they come from.
3. Think carefully about how you capture data
At Socedo, we make sure data is added or updated in the most efficient way for us to use it. For example, it’s useful for us to know each time a lead tweets at our brand handle, but we don’t need every Tweet message. Rather than create a field to capture this information, we collect each moment (or each tweet at our brand handle) on a lead’s activity log as a time-stamped action.
4. Protect your key data fields with your most trustworthy data source
Your key data fields are the fields you use to determine a MQL (i.e. “number of employees”, “job function”). Whether intentional or not, the truth is that a lot of people do not provide accurate information on landing page forms. You don’t want to rely solely on self-provided information on landing page forms to qualify your leads.
At Socedo, we do not ever add data from new data sources straight into our key fields. For example, we use our “Number of Employees” field to determine an MQL, but we gather company size from both data enrichment providers and form fills. We put these values into separate holding fields, and the priority to fill the “Number of Employees” field is given to our best data source.
We only allow a landing page form to update this field’s value when we don’t have “number of Employees” from any of our data enrichment providers.
5. Determine the proper permissions or access settings
Determining who has access to update or append data in your database is critical. Every member of your marketing team should feel empowered to build campaigns. However, only a few people need access to integrations, field updates or changes, and form templates – all of which can affect data quality.
In addition, it’s beneficial to create separate work spaces between teams. At Socedo, our Customer Success team uses our marketing automation system for nurturing customers and tracking engagement, but all of their programs live in a different folder, and they use different forms than our marketing teams so that the data they collect do not interfere with our reports.
Data is never perfect, but you want to make sure your database is aligned to your business goals. Protecting the integrity of this data and keeping it fresh should be your number one priority. If you have a clear and precise definition of a marketing qualified leads, it’s absolutely worthwhile your while to add third party data sources to your system.