In Critical Success Factors 1-3, we discussed the importance of Content, Content Distribution, and Automation in the operation of B2B Sales. Here, we discuss the final factor, List Management.
Duplicate records are inevitable as you continually build your marketing list. However, they pose a significant problem and must be continually managed. At any given time, you should strive to keep your duplicate records at under 1%.
Duplicates happen when your marketing team uses different sources of lead acquisition and enters leads into your database without first checking for duplicates. Sometimes marketing does this in order to keep a prospect in multiple marketing lists. However, there are ways to do that without creating duplicate records.
A key aspect of managing lists is ensuring that someone who opted out of one of your marketing programs is opted out of all, unless the recipient chose to opt out of specific marketing programs.
You should treat opt-outs very seriously. If you receive even a handful of spam complaints, you could become blacklisted, which means you would not even be able to send emails internally to each other until you clear yourself from the blacklist.
Email bounces occur when mail can’t be delivered—this can be because the person is no longer at the company; she created a false email address just to get something she wanted; or because she created a temporary email for such a purpose, and it is no longer active.
You must keep your lists clean on a regular basis as bad records give you an inflated representation of your actual audience size. Too many bounces can also cause you to be flagged for blacklisting.
If your sales reps bring a list of prospects with emails and claim that these prospects wish to receive marketing emails, they should first be validated before being placed in your system. There are online email validation tools that start at $14/1,000 records, and the prices drop for larger list sizes.
This is perhaps the hardest part of list management—keeping a tight control of the audience so you can send highly targeted messages. For example, you want Jim Jones to be part of your overall monthly newsletter, but you also want to keep him on your Hospital CIO list and your overall CIO lists. What you don’t want are three records of Jim Jones—you just want Jim Jones to be in all three marketing campaigns.
As you can see, a lot of work goes into creating engaged marketing audiences that are more inclined to meet with your sales reps, thereby providing you with a consistently high quality and quantity of sales pipeline. You may need help with some of this work. The next section covers that.