Is Your Contact Database Prepped for Survival?

Zombies aren’t the only ways you can have an apocalypse. But more to the point, the post-apocalyptic setting is best known for themes like survival in a world where everything you took for granted is no more.

For B2B lead generators and inside sales professionals, a scenario like that can come by without you realizing it until it’s too late to prepare. Examples range from the loss of an entire market to the sudden shortage of new customer information. In all cases however, your contact database is one of the tools you need prepped in order to survive. Where do you start?

Here’s a more real life example: Google has yet again taken another federal smack in the face in the wake of recent antitrust investigations. By now, Google has practically become the face of online search. It’s not just regular consumers who use the search engine. Professionals who are looking up other certain professionals (as in cases of B2B prospecting) often rely on the search giant every day.

What happens though when this giant is becoming less and less trustworthy in terms of its motives? What alternatives do you have when the internet itself suddenly crashes to a halt because the #1 search engine might not be #1 for very long?

This is where your contact database should be coming in.

A search engine, for all its usefulness, is really just like a well and now there’s word of mass contamination in the underground water supply. Your own database is the reservoir. How do you know it’s been prepped for this kind of situation?

  • You’ve tested it for contaminants – Yes, there’s still a risk that the information you got could’ve already been compromised. You won’t find out though until you muster up the courage to check it yourself. Choose one means of communication in your test, like making a quick phone call or even just going to an address of prospects actually located near you.
  • You’ve learned to ration and replenish – You’ve also got to make sure you don’t run out like finding some means to replenish it and ration your consumption. After going through your database and hopefully winning some clients, try to really invest in long-term relationships with these businesses until you can at least find some other ways to get better information.
  • You kept it from dirtying itself – Lastly, you’ve got to make sure that you don’t end up with the same tainted reputation as other information sources. Be transparent with the way you collect and act upon the information in your database. If today’s economy is putting more emphasis on trust then you all the more reason to not be evil.

Mass economic disruptions can occur any time and a lot of them can directly affect the way you acquire business contacts. Always keep your database prepped for such emergencies!

How Getting Contact Lists Help You Get Smaller Details

Even the best vendors don’t always give you the complete profile of your target market. Sometimes most of them just give you a set of phone numbers plus legitimate emails to send to. It might not be helpful for when you’re looking for a prospect’s LinkedIn profile or want to send a return call straight to their smartphone.

But on the other hand, your contact lists can still help you in an unlikely way.

What if you did figure out a way to acquire more personal contact information but have no clue about how to call their main office or verify that they do work for this particular company? After all, you only did just get their phone number and had a back-and-forth on an online group discussion.

It’s true that a lot of things indicating that mobile is rapidly addressing a consumer’s demand for access and quicker responses. (Google is even focusing its algorithm updates on mobile.) Despite that, the reality is any information you get on a mobile channel is still the tip of the iceberg.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to present your business and slip into that tiny screen. There’s nothing wrong with even getting this information manually and with a lot of consent from the prospect’s part.

What’s wrong would be to think you can get to this part without something broader and more general. Something you’d normally find on decent B2B contact lists.

  • Remember, that’s where you start – If cold calling is dead, you can only expect a worse reception when calling a mobile numbers. The chances of that number still being private are still pretty high. That’s you should at least have something that won’t land you in as much trouble.
  • Verify claims of old customers – Say a prospect calls you and claims to be an old customer of yours. They saw your new mobile look and decided to give you a correct call. You would have had a harder time verifying everything they say if you didn’t hold any previous record.
  • Alternative contacts – And of course, a traditional contact list can also give you something to fall back on if a prospect contacts you via mobile but you have a hard time returning it in the same fashion. No worries! Just bring up your database

Contact information doesn’t improve in just one direction. There are many way to get all a prospect’s details. That doesn’t mean you have to shun what still delivers.

Using Lead Generators for a Corporate Yard Sale

What are the usual goals of a yard sale? Mostly it’s just to get rid of old stuff you don’t need anymore. Still, it also involves selling old stuff you didn’t know you had but realized could make a few good bucks.

The latter can actually be an interesting business model for lead generators.

A corporate-style yard sale doesn’t have to be literal. You’re not going to start selling old, legacy servers out on the front of your office building any time soon. Rather, it’s a new way of looking at your business and finding something that could also be sold alongside your current product lineup.

ContactDB is one example. The company started out selling data but not we’re also offering our own marketing and lead generation services. Where did they come from? Obviously, there wouldn’t be all this data if there weren’t any call centers or email marketers to do the job.

Logically, it’s a cost-effective way to expand diversify your value propositions. Of course, it’s no magic bullet. There are several factors involved when successfully marketing your own corporate yard sale:

  • Prospects weren’t sure you’d sell it – In its early days, the search engine Google and the social network Facebook weren’t yet introduced to the idea of making a business out of their tools. They just built them. But then, time goes by and the possibilities opened up before anyone realized it.  Today both companies have a grip on the market purely because they’ve grown something really big in their garden. The same goes for your product. While you worked on an internal process or propriety piece of technology, your prospects have to be a bit unaware of any possibility to sell it.
  • Polish it real good – Just as you’d polish an old, mysterious ring you found in the attic, you should polish out all the kinks in your soon-to-be-new product/service. Pay close attention to customer feedback and how this secret product has already been affecting their current experience. Any problems you find could make its way when you launch it so start polishing now!
  • Market the changes as key features – The improvements you’ve made should be the highlight of your new offer. Suppose you’re in the healthcare business and you’ve decided to improve kinks in your home-grown EMR system. Competitors may have already made the same claim but at least you’ve had a good start on addressing what could’ve been a persistent problem. This would obviously make it easier to launch a product.

Selling something that you’ve long had shouldn’t be seen as some form of desperate move to increase revenue or an attempt to scam others with junk. Done right, doing a little corporate yard sale can help you present more value to potential prospects without adding to the cost.

Expanding Business Contacts Requires More than Upsizing

When marketing and sales professionals talk of expanding a database, it usually just means adding more names. At worse, it only adds to a diluted, outdated storage of faulty information but at best, it means you’re looking to acquire more customers.

 

However, it’s still just an upsize. There’s more to expanding your business contacts than just having more numbers to contact.

Among the top business trends of 2015, you have more businesses using online and mobile channels to increase the number of ways their customers can connect to them. But you know, that applies to other businesses that are targeting them as well.

So if you want to expand your B2B contact database, you’re going to have to keep up. Don’t just upsize the box but every single record you have on file.

Here are just a few, simple ways you can start doing this:

  • Clean up first – First of all, make sure your database is already free from dead end entries. If you’ve already got the wrong number, there’s even less guarantee you’re going to find a decent email address that corresponds with it. Don’t waste your time trying to find out. Clean up first!
  • Start with a single channel – If you’re going to check for emails, start with looking for corresponding emails first. Trying to find emails and then things like websites and social media profiles might be asking for too much (and too much trouble).
  • Clean twice – Every time you update an entry with additional contact data, make sure that new, little piece of info is still solid. It’d be a little chaotic if one contact could be reached by phone but the email they gave you was a dud.
  • Make sure a channel is relevant – This is only common sense. Why would you look for clients on Facebook when you don’t even have a Facebook page? To fully make use of a channel and its information, you need to maximize its role in your overall marketing strategy.

Upsizing a database the right way can promise more new customers. However, you also increase your chances when you increase the number of ways you can reach them. For that you need information that upsizes each individual record, not just big box you’re holding them all in.