If improving the health of your database is a priority in the new year, skip the traditional means of data cleansing and take a look at your email inbox first.
That’s right, email replies (like Out-Of-Office and Left-The-Company) contain valuable sales intelligence about your leads. Think about it. Many of those auto-replies contain real-time updates to phone numbers, titles, and even emails — straight from the leads you’re actively engaging. The data doesn’t get any fresher, or the process any easier, than mining emails to maintain the health of your database.
Closing The Loop On Email Marketing
I don’t have to tell you that email marketing is an incredibly powerful B2B tool. More than half of B2B marketers consider email the most effective channel for generating revenue. Which makes sense, as 86% of professionals prefer email when communicating for business purposes.
While there was a brief moment when experts warned that social media would upset email’s reign, B2Bs have only seen email grow in popularity. Nowadays with organic reach harder and harder to achieve on social media, many marketers are realizing that 1,000 email contacts are far more valuable than 1,000 social media followers. Plus, many marketing professionals say they appreciate how email marketing allows for greater personalization and segmentation.
Mining email replies should be the final step in an effective email marketing strategy. It allows you to extract every last ounce of value from your email marketing campaigns, improving your overall ROI. Email mining takes a simple communication channel and turns it into a database cleansing solution — and a source for quality new leads and timely sales opportunities! Every reply, automated or human, contains information that can be used to update your database, continuously improving the accuracy and performance of your email marketing.
And all you have to do is look to your inbox to realize these benefits and maintain a healthy database.
Email Mining Is Easier Than You Think
The process for email mining is very simple:
- Send your email campaign business as usual. No changes are required to processes or systems.
- Review each reply that comes back. Separate human replies or those that require immediate action from auto-responses.
- Mine data from each reply. Full names, phone numbers, titles, and alternate or replacement contacts can all be found in replies.
- Update your database.
- Alert sales or account owners of trigger events, such as when a lead leaves the company or a domain change is discovered (possible M&A).
While you can certainly do this with human resources, a reply email mining service can automate the process from start to finish (and beyond, when you integrate with Marketo). This frees up human talent to take on tasks closer to revenue generation, like nurturing prospects further along in the sales funnel.
However you choose to mine replies, the intelligence you discover is pretty remarkable. Let’s see what can be learned from a standard Left-The-Company (LTC) auto-response.
For a closer look at what information you learn from a typical Out-Of-Office reply, check out this post.
From this left-the-company (LTC) auto-response, you learn that your existing contact, Pamela, is no longer with the company. The first step is to remove her from your database. This not only eliminates a bad record and improves the accuracy of your data, but it also helps you maintain a positive sender reputation because you are not continually sending to expired email addresses.
Additionally, this LTC provides you with a replacement contact, Jenni, along with her title and contact information. Add Jenni to your database and reach out to introduce yourself.
If you weren’t mining email replies, you would not know that Pamela left the company until you received a hard bounce. By this point, you will have lost any timing advantage you could have had.
Beyond Database Health
That timing advantage I mentioned is important. When you send email campaigns on a regular basis, you are continually getting OOOs and LTCs. For example, if you send to the same leads every week, any information in those replies is not more than a week old. So when you learn a lead left the company through a LTC, you are finding out very quickly. That LTC auto-response could be in place for 6-12 months before a hard bounce is generated.
Imagine the possibilities if you got in front of a replacement contact 6 months before your competitor!
Remember, new employees are eager to make their mark, especially if they have buying power or influence. If the account is already a customer, the replacement contact could be critical to securing a renewal. If you had been actively working the account, the new contact could be the key to opening the door to other influencers and winning the deal. In either case, getting in front of the new contact as quickly as possible can be a significant competitive advantage.
On the other side of this equation: your lead that left this company. What happens after you delete them from your database? Chances are, they’re somewhere else in a similar industry. If you had a good rapport with them, it makes sense to find out where they went and see if you can continue doing business together at their new company. People buy from people they know and like, so just because a lead leaves the company doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road for your relationship.
Leverage Your Inbox To End Data Decay In 2019
Bad data is a real problem for business. But the solution doesn’t have to be cumbersome or expensive. It’s quite literally sitting in your inbox as we speak (Go check! We’re wrapping it up here anyways). The best part of all of this? While auto-replies almost always contain basic contact information allowing you to update and cleanse existing records, the value extends beyond data health and into real dollars and cents when you consider the new prospects and timing leverage you can gain!
So if 2019 is the year you are committed to getting a handle on database health, consider email mining as a continuous and effective cleansing solution.