CRM databases are full of bad, old data. The garbage continues to accrue over time getting worse as new files from purchased lists are added, acquired firms’ CRM files are merged, and salespeople keep adding their Rolodexes while no existing records are ever removed. For this reason salespeople at most large and mid-sized firms now find themselves diving into a metaphorical dumpster of data whenever they need to look for those few unsullied prospects who are still reachable and actionable.
Among the many statistics justifying maintaining a CRM database are these:
- About 5% of corporate headquarters move per year and branch offices relocate at an even higher rate.
- Approx. 2,000 large US firms/year change their legal name. Thousands more are changed via mergers, bankruptcies, etc.
- The majority of executives only stay at a company for an average of three years.
For those firms trying to get their money’s worth from their marketing automation processes a data maintenance system can also be easily expanded to append the critical firmographic data required to better target prospects (i.e., in-store sales, number of retail outlets, total employee headcount, etc.).
So what’s the solution? In short, a data maintenance plan with these components:
- Deleting outdated records: Removing records of companies that are out of business, deceased contacts, etc.
- Preventing clutter from getting in: Clean files before importing and consolidate records instead of adding dupes.
- Resolving existing internal duplicate records.
- Adding firmographic data for better targeting.
- “Following” customers to new firms. They bought your product before, they understand your value proposition, and they likely have a similar position at another firm.
While these efforts may seem expensive they typically cost far less than the marketing automation that companies have already invested in. If firms are really “all in” with marketing automation then this additional 5% can make all the difference between success and regret.