Increase sales more cost-efficiently- 3 steps to get your data cleaned up.

Everyone knows that marketing and sales is a numbers game.  But I bet your numbers are sloppy because your data is sloppy.   Don’t feel bad.  You’re not alone.  Most companies/organizations we’ve ever worked with had sloppy data resulting in sloppy numbers.  Even MarketSmart.
That’s because your data is constantly evolving and constantly changing.  Contacts get hired and fired.   Some are premium targets and others are stinkers that need to be purged.
Here are 3 surefire steps to get your data in order.
Step one- Collect all the data you have and put it all in folders.  Be sure to label each file name citing where it came from.  For instance, you might want to label sales leads garnered from the tradeshow in November as “TradeshowNOV”.  That way you can be more easily include an “origination field” or “source code” in the final database.   By doing so you’ll be able to sort your data more easily.
Step two- Send it to a trusted data manager (like MarketSmart! J).  Depending on your relationship with that vendor, you may want to have them sign a non-disclosure and/or non-compete agreement.  You don’t want your data to fall into the hands of your competitors.
Step three- Give your data manager this list of “things to do”:

  • Organize the lists with a composite “schema”.  In other words, take all the title fields from all the lists and create ONE, new data form with all of the titles you sent included in the new, composite list.
  • Be sure to remind them to include all the origination labels you created in step one.
  • Now that all the data is in one list, it’s time to get rid of absolute “dead wood”.  You can’t sell to people who are out of business or dead.  And you can’t market to people if you have the wrong mailing address.  Your data manager should use the U.S. Postal service NCOA (National Change of Address System) to determine who is no longer where they used to be and correct addresses that have changed.  The system will purge the bad targets.  Remember to ask the data manager to give you this purged list as a separate file so you can spot-check it.  You’ll be surprised to see that you will have eliminated people or companies you might have thought were worthwhile targets.
  • Next, CASS Certify the list.  This is another U.S. Postal system that helps correct lists that have incorrect addresses and misspellings.  Again, ask you data manager to send you this list.  I doubt you’ll need it.  But it’s worth having.
  • Last, merge-purge and de-dupe the lists.  Surely there are duplicates.  So it’s time to take all the combined data to get rid of them.   Your data manager can put some stringent requirements on this task.  In other words, you could de-dupe according to last name, last name and address, last name and address AND email, etc.  Work with your data manager to see the level of de-duplication you need.  You may not want to over do it.

Once your data is “cleansed”, you will reduce costs by reducing the time and effort you would otherwise waste time on prospects that are simply not worthwhile anymore.   Plus, now you should be able to take a serious look at your data to see which clients are producing the most revenue and profits for you.  Of course, maximizing your 80/20 is a subject for another blog post.

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