There is a false sense of security when we hide in big numbers. When it comes time for a reckoning, only true numbers stand the test.

It’s like having a giant piggy bank sitting on top of your dresser. And as a kid you look up at that piggy bank and you think of the seemingly countless times you put money into it. And not just pennies, mind you. And you can see how large the piggy bank is and you take great comfort that when the fair comes to town you will be have plenty of money to spend.

The fair arrives, you finally open up that bank and realize you really didn’t have big savings, just a big piggy bank. Why didnt you open and see where you were? Because sometimes its easier to think about what we probably do have if we ever really rolled up our sleeves and put it to use. But, don’t worry, its still sitting there, we always have that ace tucked away when we need it, right?

B2B contact records go bad at a rate of nearly 30 percent per year as contacts change jobs, responsibilities and companies. – Sirius Decisions

Got a gigantic marketing database that you talk about a lot but seldom use? You could be in the same situation. Maybe it was started 20 years ago, maybe some people really worked those leads hard in the 2000’s and you just can’t delete all that hard work. Maybe someone paid a large amount of money for that data and you team only got around to using 5% of it. Ouch. Expensive mistake.

So here’s our list of 5 things you can do.

  1.  Start with some deep cleaning. Quarantine the old leads and pull them out of your database. If it makes you feel better, create an archive, but don’t let them in your active marketing database. You will have some decisions to make, higher ranked titles stick around longer than lower ones. (Presidents v.s.sales managers) the company may still be a good target, but all contacts are bunk.
  2. Create buckets to help with the cleaning process; ones that can be worked through later, and some that can be used now. In example: active, needs research, phone# needed, new contact needed, and no longer a fit. This is all assuming you only offer one central product to one industry. If that’s not the case then you need to divide it further into verticals, target size, and title targeted. The message changes with each of these groups as you already know.
  3. Make sure leads are progressing constantly. If a lead is showing no response and no potential of ever becoming a buyer, then it should be canned. This person has likely moved on and the it staff forwarded their email address to their boss, who directs it to a tidy (junk) folder. If it makes you feel better you can try to save them by reaching out to see if they still exist via phone or linked in.
  4. Watch out for expensive leads. We tend to love them, but if their quality is bad, they waste our time and give us aforementioned false security. This is typical with trade show leads (they want schwag, scan thier badge, but have no involvement in your key decision maker process.)
  5. Create a lead path for each lead bucket you create. If they get to the end of one campaign, put them in another. The important thing is that there are defined paths in place and that each contact is assigned to a path.