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Essential Guide to B2B Data Cleansing
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Essential guide to B2B data cleansing. Find out how data cleansing saves time, boosts results and increases revenue

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Mar 22, 2023

From our experience, sales teams are far more effective and successful when working with accurate B2B data. Your aim should be to have a quality data which can be well maintained by your team, produce sales and allow reporting on key insights.

What is data cleansing?

Data cleansing, data cleaning or data scrubbing is a process which looks to fix or remove:

  • incorrect data, 
  • wrongly formatted data,
  • duplicate information,
  • dead leads,
  • incomplete data.

Prospect or existing customer databases are the end result of combining multiple data sources over time, which often results in data being duplicated or mislabeled. Unintentional human error is also a big contributing factor in creating poor data quality.

What is clean data?

Clean data is a database of information that is valid, accurate, complete and complies with all legal requirements. It should be consistent, unique and uniform in it's appearance.  A clean database should generate revenue for your business and create brand awareness in your target market.

B2B data cleansing methods

Database cleansing can be carried out using software tools and/or telephone verification. Many list brokers and data owners offer a data cleansing or data appending service.

Which option you use should be chosen based upon the issues effecting your database. Typically, you would need to assess the current data quality by identifying the volume of missing data and duplicate records. By analysing email marketing reports this will highlight incorrect email addresses and inaccurate data.

It is usually more cost effective to outsource the data cleansing process to an experienced company. To maximise the benefits of database cleaning consider working with a provider such as More Than Words, who can provide a telephone data cleansing service. This type of approach can also provide data enrichment alongside data cleaning.

More Than Words Note: If you have a database that needs cleansing, then the first and most important aim should be to “rule them in or rule them out” This essentially means identify records that have value to keep and remove those that don't.
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Data enrichment from telephone database cleaning

Example 1: A client from the managed print sector had an incomplete database of potential customers. Using our experienced internal telemarketing team we were able to:

  • identify buyers and their contact information
  • contract end dates
  • number of devices
  • current supplier

Our clients sales team then went on to secure several high value clients, whilst the marketing team ensured that regular contact was maintained.

Example 2: A well established client from the soft furnishing sector decided to change CRM system. They quickly realised that their current customer database was inconsistent, had missing data and duplicate records. We used our internal IT team and telemarketers to achieve:

  • customer field headings to match the new CRM
  • correctly formatted postal addresses 
  • highlighted bad data for removal
  • update buyer contact information

In addition, our team was also able to identify those products clients would purchase or be interested in purchasing, allowing for targeted marketing campaigns moving forward.

Example 3:  A client from the commercial vehicle sector wanted to engage with sole traders from the construction sector, they had company names and postal addresses only. In this instance by using a combination of internal database cleaning tools and our friendly and professional telemarketers we achieved the following:

  • added TPS checked telephone numbers
  • obtained contact email addresses
  • increased the size of our clients marketing database by obtaining permission to send marketing emails
  • identified how many commercial vans they had
  • when would they be looking to replace current fleet

The extra added value that came from this data cleansing campaign which used telemarketing was the number of sales leads we generated for customers who were looking to purchase a new van imminently.

Quick facts you should know about business data

  1. B2B data decays at around 35% every year
  2. 80% of companies lead generation was affected by bad data
  3. 42% of sales reps feel they don't have enough customer data information before making a call
  4. Inaccurate B2B contact data wastes 27.3% of sales reps’ time. That’s 546 hours a year per full-time inside sales rep 
  5. Sales teams working with data waste up to 50% their time hunting for data, finding and correcting errors, and searching for confirmation for data they don’t trust. 
  6. Human error accounts for 60% of bad data in CRM systems

Common signs you need a B2B data cleansing service

Missing important information

This could be contact names, email addresses, telephone numbers or other important information that your team would need for sales, marketing, and customer experience. When your business data is missing information it also has an effect on the accuracy of reports, or it can stop you from being able to run valuable reports.

Postal Addresses

A common issue we see in customer data is postal addresses that are populated in just one field in a CRM system or spreadsheet. This causes multiple issues around search functionality and for direct mail marketing campaigns.

Inconsistencies in your data

Because customer data can be acquired from various sources it is absolutely vital that the information is consistent throughout. The biggest culprits for creating inconsistent data are people and when there are more than one systems in place to record data. Inconsistency in data makes analysis a very difficult task.

Duplicate data

Typical examples of duplicate information are company names, email addresses or contact details. Duplicate information can lead to negative customer experience and create internal issues.

Lack of actionable insights

Data can only offer actionable insights for your business if it is clean, accurate, fully populated and standardised. 

Dormant information

Where customer or prospect data has been allowed to become dormant through lack of recorded actions or order placing, you then have no idea as to the potential commercial value this could have for sales. In our experience customers are reluctant to remove this data and have no clear plan as to how to manage it, therefore it takes up space in the customer database making it more difficult to manage.

High bounce rate from email marketing campaigns

Where you have a high hard bounce rate from an email list it is definite sign of poor data quality. It also has other consequences to your sender reputation and potential success with future email campaigns.

Benefits of using telephone b2b data cleansing

Data cleaning by telephone can be time consuming and sometimes more costly than other methods however, there are more significant commercial benefits from using a personalised approach, these include:

Ask questions- such as buying habits or preferences. Interest in specific products or services.

Personalised contact- buyers and potential buyers like a personalised experience, in a digital world there is nothing better that a real life voice to speak with.

Lead generation- when you speak with companies during a data cleansing campaign you undoubtedly will come across a company with a requirement for your product or service

These are just a few of the benefits of using a telephone data cleansing service, if you would like to find out more contact our team.

More Than Words Note: Read a recent case studies on data cleansing from a soft furnishings business, minibus company, and care home supplier.

Our data cleansing service- frequently asked questions

Can you cleanse CRM data?

Yes we certainly can. Prior to commencing a data cleansing campaign we would discuss which CRM you use and the standard fields that are typically populated. We would then agree any additional fields that you would need new information to be recorded in. Upon completion the accurate data would be returned ready for uploading into your current or new CRM system.

My staff have all been working with their own different spreadsheets, is this something you can deal with?

Absolutely! Our telephone data cleaning service is delivered using not only our telemarketing team, but our IT and Admin team. This means that data can be standardised before our telemarketing team start making phone calls.

Our b2b database is huge so where would you start?

In this instance your account manager would look to ascertain the actual number of records and if you were able to identify when they were last contacted. We would also discuss if this was your existing customer database, prospects or both. Based upon the information you give we will advise you on the best way forward to commence cleansing your data in stages, thus taking control of data decay.

Is it not an easier option to purchase a dataset or email list for new leads?

Well, put simply NO it isn't. The reason for this, is that the issues with your current database are not going to magically disappear. In fact you will make the issue worse by purchasing more data and adding it your existing CRM or email marketing software creating a bigger even more unmanageable database.

Article Author: Clare Tweed, More Than Words Marketing

Our Sales Director Clare Tweed has worked within the advertising and marketing industry for nearly 30 years. Clients find her straight talking approach refreshing and her advice and guidance invaluable.

If you would like to speak with Clare to discuss a data cleansing campaign or any of our other services you can reach her on 0330 010 8300 or click here to email.

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