Both for marketing and sales, data is the beginning of everything. You need contact information to conduct outbound campaigns, psychographic data to understand the behavior of your customers, and demographic data to reach them on the proper days and times. This being just the tip of the iceberg, we use data for everything from sendouts and calls to analytics and deal-making.
This only works of course with high-quality data. Assuming that you have a nice research team in place or a top-tier data provider, you need to constantly make sure your data is intact.
See, as time goes by, an infinite amount of phone numbers change, people move, decision-makers switch jobs, and new start-ups get launched. It is quite normal, yet it explains why B2B data decays at an estimated rate of 70.3% a year.
To avoid that, you should have a data enhancement process in place. Let’s examine what it is, why it is important, and the key strategies you’ll need to make it work for your business.
What Is Data Enhancement?
Data enhancement is a process of monitoring, filtering, updating, and enriching existing customer data with the end goal of having up-to-date records with sufficient information.
B2B data enhancement is meant to standardize data entries, simplify analytics and reporting, clean up outdated information, and add new information that is needed for your sales or marketing efforts.
By implementing new data enrichment processes, your team can save valuable time on searching and using existing records, improve the accuracy of your campaigns goes up, and find opportunities to break into new markets or industries. Besides saving time and money, you get to understand your customers better and therefore provide a better customer experience.
What is data enhancement vs. data hygiene?
When you start to search for data enhancement services, you can also come across terms like data enrichment, data augmentation, data cleansing, and data hygiene. While all of these terms refer to the overall state of your data, there are differences to keep in mind.
Data enrichment and data augmentation are basically synonyms of data enhancement: They refer to the process of analyzing existing first-party customer data, cleaning it, and filling in the gaps using external resources.
Data hygiene, or data cleansing, refers explicitly to the process of auditing your data, noting mistakes, and cleaning them out of your database. It can be a separate process but is also a part of a proper database enhancement/enrichment.
Data hygiene or data cleansing is about fixing what’s already broken, cleaning up, and making it neat enough for comfortable use. On the other hand, data enhancement is about making that clean data updated and enriched.
6 Tips to Get B2B Data Enhancement Right
One thing for certain is that you need to invest in data enhancement: It gives your team resources to perform better, opens new growth opportunities, and provides insights into how to treat your customers.
To maintain data health, database enhancements should be performed continuously, but at the very least, you should do routine checks every three to six months. Follow these six tips to enhance your customer data the right way:
1. Start with an audit.
No matter what goals you have in mind, before adding something new to your existing customer files, you should thoroughly check them.First, look for overall patterns of mistakes (bad organization, no standardization, unnecessary information, outdated data points, etc.). Next, you should assess the problem and prioritize the areas that need the most attention. After that, you can work on data hygiene.
2. Maintain hygiene.
Once you’re done with an audit, you can start the actual cleaning: erasing inactive or unfit contacts, merging duplicates, and deleting excessive details that don’t contribute to your marketing or sales campaigns.
However, instead of just a one-time cleanup, you should create an ongoing hygiene strategy for the future. The math behind this is simple—the more new data you add, the higher the probability of new defects. Keeping it constantly cleaned will ensure you minimize flaws that stand in the way of success.
To achieve higher reliability of your database, provide your team with clear instructions on data entries and regular actions they can take to keep it clean. You should also let them know what the procedure is for finding, reporting, and handling future errors.
3. Define your goals.
There are tons of data you can find nowadays, starting from basic contact information to behavior on your website, but you probably don’t need all of it. Depending on the type and goals of your business, you’ll need specific categories of data to be added.
If you offer real estate for offices and want to break into a new market, you won’t need a marital status or what university your lead went into, although their location and headcount of workers in the company will be of value.
Think of what you want to achieve and what specific categories of information you need to reach your goals.
4. Choose the right approach.
Once you outline your needs and goals, you should find the data enhancement strategy that will work best for you.
The segmentation approach is perfect if you only need some sections of your data added or altered. For instance, if you want to know where the majority of your inbound leads come from, you should focus only on that data segment and consider installing a geolocation tracker on your website.
Or, if you need a general reevaluation of your data, you should decide on the frequency that will make the most impact. Whether it’s every week or every three months, it should be settled and done regularly.
5. Utilize all data sources.
Besides traditional data enhancement sources like databases, directories, or social media pages, you could and should go deeper. Conducting extensive research through unconventional resources will increase the value of your data and give you the edge over your competitors.
You can use surveys, quizzes, and polls to gather information about your current audience. Reports, journals, audios, videos, and news will provide data for a better understanding of your industry. And deep research into the price ranges, products, and events can give you the context you need to craft better outbound campaigns.
6. Work with an established B2B sales data provider.
When you enhance your data, you have to make sure that it is up-to-date and in a good shape. The only way to do that is either manually check every record by yourself or get your data from a very trustworthy provider that does it for you.
Manually, it's a tedious process that requires a lot of time, so invest in a solution that provides high-quality data from the very beginning.
Usually, data enhancement is just one of the many solutions such providers offer. The best ones give you access to a full database of validated contacts that can be filtered up to your needs, validate any existing profiles, advise and guide on new campaigns, and of course, clean and enhance your data.
Enhance Your Sales with Better Data
Inaccurate phone numbers, incorrect emails, improper formatting, and data decay over time are among the reasons your business lead lists get less fresh and therefore less effective. And the fact that collecting high-quality data is still one of the biggest sales challenges, you don’t have the luxury to lose even one data record.
To avoid your mail going to SPAM, your sales team knocking on closed doors, and overall KPIs dropping down, you should invest some of your resources into data maintenance a.k.a. data enhancement.
Data enhancement ensures your database stays clean, the contact information you require stays updated, and your sales efforts stay effective.