Why your B2B database is out of date

In the next twelve months 20% of the contacts on your B2B lists will not be there or will be working in a different role.

As your in-house database gets older the effectiveness of your sales and marketing communications will diminish. The results of marketing campaigns become clouded as it becomes more difficult to ascertain whether prospects were not interested in your offer or simply didn’t receive the communication in the first place.

A-ZGovBIZ B2B database

The database manager of a leading ICT company which relies heavily on data driven direct marketing to communicate with its B2B market segments said to us recently “an aging database is our greatest challenge”. This shows just how big the problem data aging or attrition is.

So how do we measure data attrition?

There are six key reasons why a contact record gets out of date. Four of those are directly related to the individual and two relate to the organisation:

  1. Person has been replaced with another
  2. Person has moved from one organisation to another
  3. Person’s position has changed
  4. Person’s contact details have changed
  5. An organisation has closed
  6. An organisation’s address details have changed

How do we know this?

A-ZGovBIZ has a team of researchers phoning every contact at least once a year on our database of 60,000 business managers in government, education and health. The data is kept to a minimum 98% accuracy so it is used as a benchmark by many companies to measure the accuracy of their data.

What can I do about it?

If you don’t keep your database up to date opportunities will be missed, revenue will decrease and return on investment (ROI) of marketing campaigns will diminish. The best way to avoid this problem and keep your database up to date is to set data rules NOW that everyone within your company has to follow and every two years wash your data against a reliable 3rd party.

A popular means of keeping a B2B database up to date is to periodically telephone the contacts on the list and update the information you have on file. By checking to see if the contact is still there you are also validating the company information and adding value to your greatest sales and marketing asset – your database.

Alternatively you can wash it against a reliable external source. The wash can either be done by a reliable 3rd party database services provider or the list owner. You will have to pay for the data wash separately but seek agreement from the list owner in advance to only pay for the names and organisations that are updated. They may require a minimum order or payment to cover their costs. If you are handing your list over to another company (or individual for that matter) make sure you get a Confidentiality Agreement signed to ensure your list stays in your hands.

A-ZGovBIZ is a marketing services agency specialising in the Australian public sector. Their online search engine Discovery is the leading real time database available to reach government, health and education decision makers, buyers and specifiers.

Michael Bleakley is a journalist, communicator and marketing professional of 25 years. His career began in his early 20’s publishing tech magazines for education. Michael’s career then moved into online and book publishing for a global business publisher, then finally into database publishing and marketing at A-ZGovBIZ.

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