Our resident expert discusses best practices for handling marketing data
We’d like to introduce Sandra Plunkett, our data specialist and secret weapon at Marketing Fusion. In this interview, Sandra shares some of her tips and best practice recommendations for managing your B2B data so you can avoid some of the data dramas we spoke about in our previous post.
1. For companies that are just stating their marketing activities and don’t yet have a formal CRM system, what should they keep in mind when organising their contact data?
"Just because you don’t hold your data in a CRM system doesn’t mean you can ignore the fundamental of good data management. After all, this is a list of names and contact details of people you hope to convert into customers. It’s vital that you keep these records up to data with changes, such as job role, contact numbers or address. And make sure you don’t create duplicate records, which will only confuse things.
"Wherever you hold your data, be sure to track where each record comes from. It might be a personal connection or you may have rented a contact list for marketing purposes. You need to be able to show the source of all your data in the event that a regulatory body asks you. Often, a rented list comes with a time limit for usage, so don’t be caught out by mailing people after your rights to that record have expired.
"Most importantly, you need to make sure your unsubscribe process is rigorously managed and maintained. You have 28 days from the point that someone requests to opt out of communications to remove them from your list. Be sure to flag this change of mailing status and keep track of the date. Auditability is key. And, of course, always provide your contacts with the ability to opt-out as part of any communication."
2. How should a growing business go about finding the right CRM system?
"A CRM system has a big role to play in the business, so choosing a new tool is not a simple decision. You need to ensure that it will integrate with other platforms in your infrastructure such as your email marketing platform, web platform and even your finance systems if you chose to integrate your invoicing process.
"It’s important to get your licensing right. Make sure that everyone who needs access to the CRM system has a log in and that you are not mismanaging your license agreement. Consider access rights to the database – is it appropriate for everyone to have the same access to all your data, or do you need to work around data privacy needs internally?
"Ultimately, your choice of CRM system needs to be well considered in light of the other tools and platforms you use within the business. Make sure that you are not creating problems for yourself with poor integration with other systems, as this will only slow down your new business efforts."
3. What tips would you give for managing data from multiple marketing campaigns?
"The main thing is to keep on top of your data management tasks. Although it may seem like a time consuming job, it’s one of the most important elements of a successful business. When you compile data from a variety of campaign sources and other platforms, make sure you centralise everything. Don’t hold data in separate spreadsheets that are difficult to keep track of.
"Automate processes where possible – especially when it comes to managing opt-out requests through your email campaigns. Integration between your email platform and CRM system will mean these opt-outs are automatically flagged in the database. But if it’s manual task, make sure it’s a regular monthly commitment that you don’t miss.
"When it comes to segmenting your data, there are a lot of options that will depend on your individual business. You might choose to segment on industry, job role, geographic location or area of interest for example. Whatever criteria you use, make sure that field is fully populated in your database.
"And keep your data clean. Flag your hard bounces and undeliverables so you exclude them when you send out a mailing and avoid skewing your reporting. But don’t delete a record if you find someone has moved job – they may get back in touch with you so the contact history will be useful in managing future opportunities with that person."
4. Do you have a favourite data activity?
"My favourite ‘yeah’ moment is when data has been imported successfully or emailed successfully. That’s when you know the data is right, up-to-date and contained in the right fields."
Want to know more?
If you need any help or advice managing your contact data as part of your marketing and sales activities, we’d be happy to talk through your requirements.