B2B Appointment Setting: Don’t Assume!

Sales leads of poor quality frequently indicates inaccurate answers. Nevertheless, what if the answer isn’t generally what’s wrong? Consider the possibility that it may be what you thought the problem was. Sensibly, everything appears to be identical. Yet, under the surface, expecting the wrong problems could prompt more detriments (both with regard to leads and sales). Here are the manner by which your appointment setting technique could create sort of false presumption about your B2B prospects.

  • Forcing a problem you like working out.
    Consider it as a tingling trigger finger. Not every solution calls for something like sophisticated enterprise system or a advanced course in financial planning. Nonetheless, a few organizations are so devoted into their solutions that it seems like they always have the need to cater it regardless of whether anyone truly needs it! This does not imply that they’re marketing something pointless but rather they require better targeting. It backpedals to the question, do you really know what the real problem is?
  • Self-deception with information.
    Targeting suggests the utilization of information. The precarious thing about information is that even graphs can mislead. Disregard the lies you can tell amidst the business proposal. Shouldn’t something be said about the ones you’re going on about during kick-off meetings with marketing and sales? Consistently ensure that the information you use for your campaign is precisely introduced. A lot of work has already been done to guarantee the precision of your contact lists and client profiles. Regard for the subtle elements of your market research shouldn’t add excessively to the bunch.
  • Expecting something is even a problem.
    Finally, claiming something as a “problem” can be conceivably objective. The problem for a specific business (e.g. storage space) isn’t always a problem for another (e.g. a  business that doesn’t have that much PC information to consume in the first place). On the contrary, sometimes, problems is in certainty, a truly necessary characteristic in business. Not all business works best when troubled by the expenses of IT infrastructure or the necessity to regularly track the online conduct of its clients.

Luckily, realizing that you got the problem wrong just means your answer, and your business proposition, haven’t altered. You simply need to match it correctly and learn to never expect until you’re certain of what problem you’re seeking to settle.

6 Handy B2B Marketing Services to Outsource in 2018

6 Handy B2B Marketing Services to Outsource in 2018

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We’re well within the last quarter of 2017, and most of you are probably already making the final touches to next year’s marketing plan. If your strategy involves working with a B2B marketing services provider but you’re not sure which marketing initiatives to outsource and which ones to keep in-house, we’ve got you covered. This post goes over six potential areas in your marketing program that an agency can help you out with.

Outsourcing part of your marketing efforts to a reputable third-party agency brings tremendous advantages. When you place specific marketing tactics at the hands of experts, you get better results at practically lower cost. In fact, outsourced B2B marketing services outperform in-house activities by as much as 43% in terms of productivity.

So which activities should you let an agency do for you? Here’s a list of six possible B2B marketing services to outsource next year:

 

  1. PPC

Pay-per-click tactics remain one of those things in marketing that sound simple in theory but are really hard to nail down in practice. It’s very easy for inexperienced marketers to mess PPC campaigns up with the wrong approach. The challenges begin to pile up even higher once you take ad-blockers and declining conversion rates into account.

Navigating all these things can quickly become a full-time job. Unless you have the resources to bring new full-time PPC specialists, you’re better off outsourcing your paid search initiatives.

 

  1. Branding

There’s a very interesting Inc. article that argues why business should avoid DIY branding. In a nutshell, the article says that branding is best left to the experts because, too often, non-specialists don’t even understand its basic concepts and that branding does need some outsider viewpoints.

That’s why if you’re lining up some branding initiatives for next year, you’ll probably get better results if you let a talented branding company do it for you.

 

  1. Demand Generation

Demand generation strategies typically consist of top-of-funnel activities that drive interest and awareness. That’s why it’s a prime outsourcing candidate for organizations that want their marketing and sales teams to focus more on high-value activities such as conversion and closing.

An ideal demand generation solution provider offers B2B marketing services with functional expertise and industry knowledge. While the cost savings alone can already be a good reason to choose the outsourced path, the important benefit that demand generation agencies deliver is value.

 

  1. Lead Generation

Ascend2 estimates that 8 in 10 B2B marketers outsource part or all of their lead generation campaigns. That’s because as lead generation becomes increasingly tied to revenue generation, the pressure to deliver results is mounting.

This trend indicates that organizations find it difficult to meet the needs of a changing marketing landscape with the resources available in-house. The main criterion for choosing a third-party lead generation agency is their ability to identify and convert prospects with purchase intent.

 

  1. Lead Nurturing

Shouldn’t you nurture leads with the people and processes you have in-house? Yes, but there are a number of ways a B2B marketing services company can help you with lead nurturing, too. This is particularly true for organizations which have yet to lay down the right infrastructure, such as marketing automation platforms.

Even for companies with a mature tech stack, an experienced marketing partner can still make all the difference in the world.

 

  1. Appointment Setting

Most B2B marketers start out with the lofty goal of “keeping the sales calendar full”, but only a few have a clear idea of exactly how to get there.

That’s why it’s an excellent idea to partner with a B2B marketing services agency that does finding, qualifying, and booking sales appointments for you. Appointment setting offers a clear path toward keeping your sales team busy and productive, and an experienced third-party partner gets you there faster.

Knowing what marketing programs to outsource is a key part of the planning process. This often boils down to your objectives and your budget. Working with the right partner lets you tap into a rich pool of experience, technology, and connections which would otherwise be out of reach on your own.

4 Ways to Use Influencer Marketing for Faster Fresh Leads Creation

4 Ways to Use Influencer Marketing for Faster Fresh Leads Creation

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It sometimes pays to stand on the shoulders of giants to extend your marketing messages’ reach and impact. That’s why influencer marketing is an ideal strategy for speeding up fresh leads creation and conversion. Influencers can help you connect with a larger audience or reach deeper levels of engagement which you’d most likely have a hard time achieving on your own.

It’s quite clear that influencer marketing works. There’s a ton of research that show leveraging the power of influencers does make a huge difference across marketing activities. Social influencers, for example, have been shown to boost traffic by up to 6 times and improve conversions by more than 100%. As a result, around 75% of marketers swear by influencer marketing when it comes to fresh leads creation and building customer loyalty.

In a nutshell, influencer marketing focuses on reaching out to people that your target marketing audience trusts and pays attention to. It starts with identifying the most relevant personalities in your industry or niche. Then, you should narrow down the types of influencers to target (e.g., thought leaders, industry insiders, celebrities, etc.), so that the help you’re getting aligns with your lead generation goals. Lastly, you need to have something to offer in exchange for influencers’ favor. Although most influencer outreach tactics won’t cost you a dime, you do need to let influencers know there’s something in it for them, too.

Once you have all the basics nailed down, here are four ways to leverage influencer marketing to generate and convert more leads:

 

  1. Build a community of influencers

The more influencers you bring together as part of your network, the better the reach and impact of your outreach efforts potentially become. Having an entire community of influencers to work with means better visibility and deeper engagement, even if a particular influencer has a relatively smaller audience size or a narrower focus.

Maintaining an extensive network of influencers also means you’ll be able to mix and match different influencer types to find the best combination that works for you. Think of it as diversifying your portfolio of influencer marketing assets, so that you won’t end up putting all your fresh leads creation eggs in one basket.

 

  1. Tailor content aimed at your influencers

In B2B content marketing, the classic content strategy is to put out informative, actionable content assets mapped to the target buyers’ pain points and stage in the purchase cycle. But content intended for B2B audiences typically doesn’t always match what influencers are looking for.

That’s why it’s also important for you to create content not only for your target decision-makers but for the influencers you want to reach out to as well. Influencers actively share content they find useful with their network. Just one well-placed mention from an influencer can take your fresh leads creation efforts to a whole new level.

 

  1. Make it about sharing and shareability

Speaking of sharing, one crucial area in influencer marketing is shareable content. As we’ve seen above, if you’re able to produce content that resonates with an influencer, then there’s a strong chance that particular influencer will feel compelled to share it. It’s crucial that you publish not only outstanding content but irresistibly shareable pieces as well.

They say that sharing is the currency of engagement in influencer marketing, so you also need to develop a “culture of sharing”. You need to encourage content sharing both internally within your organization and externally among your followers and customers.

 

  1. Collaborate with your influencers

One way to make your outreach mutually beneficial to you and your target influencers is through exploring opportunities for collaboration. Remember that part about offering something of value in exchange for your influencer’s help? Working together in a campaign or project can sometimes be enough to bring an interested influencer into your fold.

There are lots of strategies to do this: ask your influencer’s inputs for a blog post that rounds up expert advice on a topic, interview an influencer as a guest on a podcast episode, or let your influencer co-host a webinar on your site.

Cultivating relationships with influencers can help accelerate your fresh leads creation activities, but it doesn’t mean results are going to improve overnight. Influencer marketing takes time. But, with the right approach, the time you spend is going to be worth it.

5 Key Qualities to Look For in a Data Gathering Solution Provider

5 Key Qualities to Look For in a Data Gathering Solution Provider

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We’re living through some pretty exciting times for data-driven marketing. Recent research from the Winterberry Group and Global Direct Marketing Association finds that almost 80% of marketers agree data is more critical than ever. The same study also reports that 88% actively use list segmentation and that 64% of marketers buy data from third-party data gathering solution providers and database vendors. If current trends continue, then practically all marketers will embrace the data-driven mindset in just a matter of years.

That means more and more marketers will be seeking the services of business list providers to help them fill their demand for rich, targeted data. If you happen to be part of this group, keep in mind that not all data gathering solution providers are created equal. There’s more to choosing a list vendor than simply comparing prices. To help you find the right data company for you, here’s a quick rundown of the things you should look for in a potential list seller.

 

  1. Data Source

One of the key things that a list vendor needs to let you know upfront is its data sources. Typically, data gathering solution companies acquire prospect and customer information through in-house data mining and/or third-party sources. Oftentimes, data providers use a combination of multiple internal and external sources to find and collect information.

The issue arises when a provider relies too heavily on outside data sources. That’s because data vendors do not exert the same level of control over data quality on externally-sourced data than it does on data obtained through in-house efforts. That’s why you really need to know this right off the bat.

 

  1. Data Shelf Life

As you know all too well already, data has an expiry date. On average, data decays at a rate of 2% each month. If you apply that to the millions of database records that most data providers claim they have, that’s going to be a huge number by any metric.

That’s why it pays to ask a potential list seller how recent the datasets they’re offering are. You don’t want to use marketing information that’s stale. Bad data will cost you bigtime, not only in terms of poor marketing results but also through significantly lower top and bottom-line figures. Look for vendors that refresh their records at least twice a year.

 

  1. QA Process

Data quality covers such a broad area that it can be a little challenging for a customer to evaluate how well a data provider’s QA processes are running. Some crucial things to consider are a list vendor’s data cleansing practices, its data validation methods, and the data maintenance technology it uses.

Another key differentiator that sets most great third-party data vendors apart from the rest is the use of manual data verification in their QA processes. Keeping humans in the data maintenance loop ensures that critical pieces of information aren’t left solely to the whims of algorithms and models.

 

  1. Metrics/KPIs

Just as any other marketing service you’re about to invest in, data gathering solution initiatives should include the relevant set of yardsticks for measuring performance. This makes it easier for you to set objectives and gauge how much the deliverable (list or added prospect details) is contributing to the campaign results.

As a starting point, you should ask a potential data gathering solution partner what deliverability rates to expect. Then, the data provider should also let you know what guarantees it’s making about the initial overall state of the data product along with the actions the vendor will take to fix data issues.

 

  1. Compliance Practices

Compliance is another crucial aspect you need to carefully consider when working with a list vendor. Depending on the geographic area you’re targeting, there can be an entire minefield of laws and regulations you may need to navigate around. Your list provider should help you steer clear of these potential problems.

While specific regulations vary, some important compliance considerations to think about in general include:

  • Data must be lawfully obtained.
  • Information must be given/acquired based on consent.
  • Opt-out requests must be promptly acted upon.
  • Records must be checked against DNC and DNE lists

You can now confidently assess data gathering solution providers as potential marketing partners. The important thing to take away from this blog entry is to do your due diligence before choosing a list vendor.

6 Firmographic Info to Gather on Your Next Contact List Appending Run

6 Firmographic Info to Gather on Your Next Contact List Appending Run

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In B2B marketing, getting to know your prospects and leads better can oftentimes require adding more fields on your marketing database. That’s why contact list appending remains a critical component of a modern B2B marketer’s data management plan. When done right, data appending enables you to paint a sharper image of potential customers, so that you’ll be able to engage and nurture them the right way.

In a previous blog entry, we wrote about a number of tried-and-tested segmentation strategies to boost response and conversion rates. One approach we pointed out was to segment a list based on company-level information. In that same post, we also saw that firm-level attributes should act as your list segmentation baseline, since company details are widely-available and inexpensive to gather on scale.

But a key challenge when slicing a list based on firmographics is that there’s often way too much information you can collect on a company. It can be difficult to decide which attributes to focus on and which ones to ignore, given the dizzying amount of company-specific information available out there.

So, before you kick-start your next contact list appending project with an in-house team or with a third-party provider, don’t skimp on any of these six must-have firmographic attributes (arranged in no particular order):

 

  1. Job Title

If the fields in your B2B contact list include only the standard first and last names plus email address, then you’re doing your whole email marketing effort a massive disservice each time you reach out.

Job titles are a great way to start coming up with more relevant and personalized messages. Each job title represents an entire set of (potentially) unique pain points and interests you can use to refine your targeting precision.

 

  1. Role in Buying Process

Knowledge Tree says there may be 7 to 20 decision-makers involved in most B2B buying decisions. That’s a lot of people to reach out to, each with their own priorities, objectives, and interests to look after.

That’s why finding out what role a prospect plays in the purchase process can make or break your marketing campaign’s targeting and segmentation capabilities.

 

  1. Industry

This really should go without mentioning, but we’ll include this here for good measure. A target company’s industry should sit on or close to the top items on a list of must-have firmographic data.

On your upcoming contact list appending project, you (or your service provider) should match not only the industry name but also the corresponding NAICS/SIC codes as well.

 

  1. Number of Employees

Knowing a company’s size based on how large or small its workforce is can be an ideal segmentation/targeting route to take for some B2B organizations.

This company detail is especially useful if your solution or product line is geared toward businesses with a specific workforce size. A startup with fewer than 50 employees most likely has a different set of pain points when compared to an enterprise of more than 500 employees.

 

  1. Annual Revenues

Similar to employee size, a company’s annual revenue helps you objectively classify how large or small your target business is. Annual revenue is a standard field in most B2B prospect lists. It’s usually taken together with workforce size when segmenting or filtering B2B marketing databases.

Many third-party contact list appending companies supply figures for annual sales either as an actual amount or as an estimated range. So, when you choose to partner with a data provider, make sure that the value type for this field remains consistent for each record.

 

  1. Location

Depending on your targeting needs, geographic location can be as broad as a single field for country/region or as granular as street address. The main idea is to ensure consistency with the location data you or your service provider obtains.

You should also consider appending data on whether the given address refers to the company’s headquarters or one of its branches, unless this information is already apparent on the address field names themselves.

These are the top six types of company information you should be looking at as part of your B2B contact list appending activities. Of course, there are a ton of other firmographic data worth collecting, but let’s save those for a future post or for the comments section below.

6 Actionable Ways to Segment Information Technology Mailing Lists

6 Actionable Ways to Segment Information Technology Mailing Lists

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Whether IT managers, directors, or CIOs (or all three) make up your information technology mailing lists, reaching out to an organization’s IT decision-makers via email can be a tough nut to crack. IT folks tend to be a well-informed bunch (i.e., keeping up with developments in their field is an unwritten item on their job description). This makes them almost pathologically allergic to sales and marketing efforts that try to “educate” them on a pain point or solution they can figure out on their own.

But with the right message delivered to the right person at the right time and for the right reasons, it’s not impossible to get decent email campaign results with your information technology mailing lists. That’s right. I’m talking about good-old email list segmentation.

List segmentation breaks up your contact database into groupings based on some criteria (more on this below). The main idea is that these groupings (or segments) let you deliver more relevant email messages, so that recipients respond better to your emails. Actual campaign results show that segmented email lists produce, on average, 14% more opens and 101% higher CTRs than non-segmented lists.

It’s a bit surprising (to me, at least) that despite the measurable benefits list segmentation brings to the table, a whopping 42% of companies still avoid using this tactic. That’s according to a DMA report that claims segmentation generated 58% of revenues and 77% of ROI in 2015.

So, there you have it. Segmentation isn’t only good for your email campaigns; it also works well at boosting your top and bottom-lines. Now, let’s go over a few segmentation techniques you can apply on your information technology mailing lists right away. Although there can be hundreds of ways to slice and dice your email lists, most of these boil down to the following:

 

  1. Start with basic firmographics

I’m sure you’ve come across some fancy ways of breaking lists up. But, in most cases in IT sales and marketing, segmenting lists according to your target prospects’ company attributes can already get the job done.

Information like industry, annual revenues, geographic location, and company size are good parameters to get started with chopping up your information technology mailing lists, especially if you also throw in additional segmentation criteria such as software or technology in use along with the company’s purchase process.

 

  1. Map emails to sales funnel stages

If you need a bit more precision in your email campaigns, then targeting based on where prospects are in your sales funnel is the logical next step to build on top of firmographic segmentation.

It goes without saying that emails sent to top-of-funnel prospects shouldn’t be the same as emails intended for leads that have been in your pipeline for a while. New email subscribers, for example, are most likely looking for general information about your products and company. They’re usually not yet ready for emails about product comparisons or pricing.

 

  1. Follow a contact’s clickpath on your site

A clickpath is simply the series of links a visitor follows. It tracks the steps a prospect takes to get what she wants from your website.

How prospects navigate your site can reveal a lot about what they’re interested in and what their intentions are. Leads who have made it to your product pages, for instance, may be expecting a more product-oriented email message than someone who’s only been to your careers page.

 

  1. Find out what content they’re engaging with

Which of your whitepapers does a prospect download? What topics on your blog does that prospect tend to view? Which of these does she share often?

The content that a prospect consumes can help you craft email messages that are likely going to resonate with that lead. If you’re able to map your content materials with your sales funnel stages, your email list segments will become even more granulated once you include content preferences as a criterion.

 

  1. Keep track of responses and activities

If you’ve been using your information technology mailing lists for a while, then you’ve most probably already gathered enough data on prospect responses and email activities to identify patterns in how they interact with your campaigns.

Activities like opens, clicks, replies, and opt-outs can let you segment your list according to how engaged or interested prospects are. These interactions enable you to prioritize or reengage stalled leads with relevant messages.

 

  1. Apply a lead scoring scheme

One way to put all of these different segmentation techniques together is to use a lead scoring system. A lead score quantifies many of the things we’ve talked about earlier and assigns a value to a prospect based on how that lead meets each of the criteria.

For example, a lead scoring system might assign more points to an IT director whose company falls within a given industry, but deducts a corresponding value if that contact just happens to be browsing job vacancies on your site. A lead scoring scheme can give bigger points to prospects that view a certain topic (e.g., bottom-of-funnel content) and smaller scores to top-of-funnel leads. All these points are then added in order to compute the lead score for that particular contact.

Whatever segmentation strategy you choose to stick to, the key thing is to realize that the old “spray and pray” approach at email marketing won’t work on your information technology mailing lists. It’s relevant, engaging emails which are going to get you the right results.

5 Tradeshow Tips to Grow Human Resource Email Lists the Right Way

Tips to Grow Human Resource Email Lists

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Surveys reveal that between 75% to 77% of B2B marketers rank in-person events like tradeshows and conferences as their top-performing marketing tactic. Tradeshows are great venues for finding qualified leads in an industry or market, since these events are where you’ll typically meet decision-makers, influencers, and thought leaders face-to-face. That’s why, if you’re looking for ways to grow your human resource email lists, joining relevant HR conferences can be the right strategy.

That is, if you know how to leverage your tradeshow attendance for email list building. For today’s post, we’ve hand-picked five proven tips you can quickly apply on your next HR event to make each contact count.

 

  1. Choose your tradeshows wisely

From the SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition to the HR Tech Expo, there’s no shortage of in-person HR events happening each year. But, even if you can afford to attend every single one of them, it’s best to join only those tradeshows relevant to your target customer or solution. This keeps potential email contacts to only within your target prospects as much as possible.

So, make sure to do thorough research on a tradeshow you’re interested in. See to it that the event’s target attendees match your target decision-maker profile. Be sure that your offer is consistent with the theme or focus, and not just tangentially related.

 

  1. Use the right lead capture tools

A study done by event automation provider Certain, Inc. finds that 73% of marketers still use manual data capture tools at live events. That’s despite the availability of digital lead retrieval tools that make collecting attendee contact details many times simpler and faster than with traditional fishbowl and spiral notebooks.

Capturing lead information is now as easy as downloading apps for scanning badges, administering surveys, taking notes, prequalifying leads, and doing other event lead generation activities.

 

  1. Segment your tradeshow contacts

Most event marketing experts agree that contacts obtained at tradeshows and conferences need to be segmented as soon as acquired. Tradeshow contacts should be grouped according to the action or interest they’re showing. You can classify these prospects into labels like “visited booth”, “requested more information”, “set appointment”, and “general attendee”.

This helps you put together a more robust follow-up plan and send relevant messages later on. As we’ll see in the following point, segmentation lets you avoid spammy behavior as well as steer clear of opt-in issues with your human resource email lists.

 

  1. Follow up on time and on point

According to the same Certain, Inc. study mentioned above, 57% of marketers say it takes four days for them to follow up with tradeshow leads. There’s, of course, no universal rule on the best time to check back with event prospects but, in general, the sooner you follow up, the better.

If you’ve classified contacts into appropriate segments, then you’ll be better able to craft a more relevant and compelling email message for each group. Don’t send the same follow-up email to all your tradeshow contacts.  Always start off by reminding your leads you met at the event and tell them how you were able to obtain their contact information.

 

  1. Validate and verify email addresses right away

Before you add the tradeshow contacts into your main human resource email lists, there are some things you need to do first:

  • Verify if the contact details are correct
  • Look for duplicates and redundant entries
  • Check whether an email address already exists in your main database
  • Remove hard bounces
  • Ask if a contact wants to opt out

Also, if the event organizer provides you with a list of attendees, you should never directly add them as contacts in your main database. The best thing to do is send one-on-one email to these contacts asking them to opt in.

With these expert tradeshow tips, it’s going to be much easier for you to cultivate your human resource email lists. The key thing to remember is to always be timely and relevant.

4 Tips to Better Gauge the ROI of Your Custom Targeted Database

4 Tips to Better Gauge the ROI of Your Custom Targeted Database

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In a previous post, we took a look at five key metrics to gauge your list’s performance and effectiveness. But we left out one crucial KPI that you should always be keeping track of: the ROI that your list generates. As we’ll see below, measuring exactly how much return a Custom Targeted Database brings to the table can become a little challenging. That’s why we’re setting aside this entire entry to help you get started with this critical marketing yardstick.

It’s typically hard to correctly determine the ROI of most custom target lists since they’re mostly used for top-of-funnel activities. This means that, by the time a lead becomes a customer, the touch points associated with the contact list that contributed to the sale are often difficult to trace since they took place at earlier stages in the process.

To get around this, the following tips can help you reliably measure how much revenue your custom targeted database helped generate:

 

  1. Know exactly where contacts come from.

In order to accurately gauge ROI, you need to find out where every contact that becomes part of your list originated from. Did a lead come from organic sources? Which paid source did a particular database record pass through before entering your funnel?

For your custom targeted database, this means having separate fields that report where and how you got the contact information.

 

  1. Refine your sales funnel stages.

There’s a surprising statistic from MarketingSherpa being thrown around that claims 68% of marketers haven’t yet identified their sales funnel. If you happen to be part of this group, you need to define and refine the stages in your sales funnel right now.

What are the steps a prospect goes through before being deemed sales-ready? What actions constitute a conversion in each of these steps?

 

  1. Track and score leads throughout your funnel.

Once you’ve established the precise steps that a prospect has to go through in order to turn into an opportunity, you now need to assign points that indicate how sales-qualified that particular lead is.

This is called lead scoring and is a crucial component of accurately measuring marketing ROI. Points are assigned based on the lead’s attributes (demographic and firmographic details) and their actions (interest and intent).

 

  1. Match closed deals with past touch points.

Now that you’ve got contact source information and lead scores recorded in your custom targeted database, it’s time to take a look at the data for deal closes. These closes should be tied back to the series of touch points that preceded the deal.

Marketingprofs says there are four categories of closes based on source and nurture history. It’s important that you identify the right classification for a particular deal, so that credit and attribution can be correctly given.

You can now start reliably measuring the ROI of custom target lists with these four tips in mind. The main idea is that your custom targeted database does contribute to the revenues your marketing and sales processes generate, provided that you’re using it correctly in your campaigns.

5 Metrics to Measure the Health of Your B2B Contact List

B2B Contact List

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You can’t manage what you don’t measure. That’s according to an old business adage that’s still relevant in marketing today, especially now that marketers are drowning in an ocean of metrics and KPIs that let them know what works and what doesn’t. So what numbers should you be keeping track of to get a feel for how your B2B contact list is performing?

As you may know all too well already, everything in B2B marketing starts with your list. That’s why you need to keep this critical campaign component firing on all four cylinders. To find out whether your B2B contact leads database is really up to the task, here are the five key metrics you should always be monitoring:

 

  1. Inbox Placement Rates and Delivery Rates

Inbox placement rates (IPRs) and delivery rates are two distinct metrics that measure email deliverability, although they’re often incorrectly used interchangeably. Delivery rates count the number of emails sent that didn’t bounce, while IPRs only consider emails that actually made it into the recipients’ inbox.

These two numbers can indicate the overall health of your B2B contact list. Low IPRs and delivery rates are often taken as signs that a list probably needs some scrubbing and updating. Recent research from Return Path reports that average global inbox placement rates hover around 80%.

 

  1. Hard Bounces

Bounce rates refer to the percentage of total emails that were not delivered. Soft bounces happen when emails get rejected from the recipient’s server because of a full inbox. Hard bounces, on the other hand, take place when emails are not delivered because of invalid email addresses.

You want to keep an eye on hard bounce rates, since ISPs and mail providers view high levels of hard bounces as a sign of spammy behavior. To help minimize hard bounces, regularly scrub your B2B contact list for invalid or non-existent email addresses.

 

  1. Unengaged Subscribers

Unengaged subscribers are inactive contacts in your list that have yet to promptly opt out. These are subscribers who remain on your B2B contact leads database but haven’t opened or responded to your emails in a while.

Sending emails to unengaged subscribers can harm email deliverability, since doing this tends to trigger spam alerts in most ISPs. So, manage inactive subscribers with a reengagement campaign or by removing them from your B2B contact list altogether.

 

  1. List Churn Rate

List churn rate or attrition rate is the proportion of subscribers that either opt out or drop out of your list in a given period. Factors like the number of opt-outs, hard bounces, spam complaints, and subscriber inactivity are the main drivers behind list churn rates.

List churn tells you how fast your B2B contact leads database is shrinking. That’s why you need to acquire new contacts at a rate that exceeds the churn rate in order to grow your list. GetResponse estimates average annual list churn rates to be around 25%-30%.

 

  1. Spam Complaints/Reports

Every time a recipient marks your email as spam, you’re racking up spam complaints under your sender record. Once the number of spam complaints exceeds a given threshold, mailbox providers automatically classify your emails as junk. According to data from MailChimp, average spam complaint rates can vary from 0.01% to 0.04%, depending on the industry.

While spam complaints tend to reflect the quality of your email messages, they can also give you an idea about the quality of your B2B contact list. Email lists sometimes contain spam traps, which are email addresses created by mailbox providers to catch spammers red-handed. Clearly, it’s important that you find and remove this type of address from your B2B contacts leads database to help reduce the risk of incurring spam complaints.

Now, you know the crucial set of numbers that help you accurately gauge your contact list’s performance. To gain sharper insights on your B2B contact list, don’t just passively measure these metrics against industry benchmarks. Also actively run tests designed to optimize your database on a regular basis.