Best Practices for B2B Email Data Lists Management

Best Practices for B2B Email Data Lists Management

All businesses run on data. From prospect contacts to user activity logs, there is tons of varied information circulating around an organization. Being able to put it to good use is crucial. After all, running a business without a solid data-backed strategy is similar to trying to get from point A to point B blindfolded. 

Yet it’s impossible to make sense of the available data and use it well, if it’s siloed, outdated, or simply scattered across multiple B2B email data lists and tools. That is why any organization has to adopt some best practices for B2B data management.

But first let’s start with the basics and talk about the certain types of data used by businesses and, most importantly, where it all comes from.

Where do businesses get their data?

According to our friends at Hightouch – the data activation platform – today there are more data sources than ever before. Yet most of them fall under one of four categories.

    • Applications are the most common data sources, and they consist of SaaS tools like HubSpot, Salesforce, Iterable, Braze, NetSuite, etc. These tools collect first-party data on core user attributes.
    • Events consist of web/clickstream data collected via SDKs (software development kits) and third-party code deployed on your website to capture events like page views, items in the cart, session length, etc.
    • Files are less common but still highly relevant as many companies operate using spreadsheet software like Excel or Google Sheets.
  • Internal databases are mainly used to power customer-facing or internal applications. These data sources only store business-critical data like user information, product catalogs, financial transactions, etc.

With so many data sources available, it’s even more difficult to manage the info that you’re collecting. This is a common challenge:

Business teams are constantly having to navigate between tools in order to maintain a holistic view of the customer, and this is extremely inefficient. Every team should have access to the same customer data, not just the limited view in their SaaS tool. Unfortunately, very few companies realize this dream of Data Activation, and their business teams operate in silos.

Luke Kline, Content marketing manager at Hightouch

Yet before we focus on proper maintenance and management practices to help you keep your data organized, let’s talk about some of the most important B2B data types every business collects and uses.

What are some types of B2B data sales teams use?

As mentioned above, there are many different types of data businesses can make use of in various aspects of their operations. Let’s talk specifically about the information collected and utilized by sales and revenue teams.

For example, user activity data is crucial for sales teams using product-led growth tactics. This includes anything from user logs to direct customer feedback (e.g., net promoter score surveys). Using this kind of information, you can understand some common behavioral patterns and optimize your customer journey and product or adjust your ideal customer profile to drive adoption and, eventually, grow revenue. 

Similarly, sales and marketing teams often have dashboards to keep track of prospect activity throughout the sales cycle. This varies from website traffic, content views/downloads, and ad click-through rates to direct sales engagement across multiple channels, like email opens and replies, logged calls, booked demos, etc.

But if there’s one type of information that EVERY sales team uses daily it’s B2B contact data. If you think about it, any lead generation activity, either cold outreach or inbound tactics, has one goal – to build vast prospect lists. Sales teams will then use these B2B data lists to convert prospects into customers through engagement and nurturing.

The prospect lists may contain different types of info – from prospect names and email addresses to direct dials and social media profile links. B2B email data lists will often also specify prospects’ job titles, as well as company data and even some personal details, e.g., hobbies or anything else that could be used to personalize your messaging.

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How to effectively manage your B2B email data lists?

Considering the number of available B2B databases on the market as well as other data sources (internal as well as external), there is no shortage of data to work with. On the contrary, most sales teams have a hoard of valuable data often scattered across the tool stack, spreadsheets, etc. This might lead to it being siloed, becoming outdated, and eventually wasted. 

That is why it’s important to implement proper data management processes. Here are some of the best practices to manage your B2B email data lists.

  • Catalog your data sources to make them easy to find, structure, and analyze. Without knowing where your data comes from, you can’t effectively manage or use it. At this step, you can also evaluate and retire some of the sources to avoid duplicated or irrelevant information. After all, data overload can be just as harmful as a lack of data. This will also help you reduce waste and optimize your expenses.
  • Build a unified database to provide easy accessibility for all team members. This can be a master spreadsheet (e.g., using various no-code database tools), a good-old CRM, or a more complex sales intelligence system that can tap into multiple data sources and pull the information from them into a single hub. This will give you a 360-degree view of the available data and help you put that data to use, getting valuable insights or actionable suggestions.
  • Maintain good data hygiene by cleaning, updating, and validating your data regularly. B2B email marketing success is so closely tied to the quality of email data companies use. And email data is fragile – a report by ZeroBounce shows that almost 23% of the average email list deteriorates yearly. Obsolete data causes bounces and other issues that affect sender reputation and email deliverability, so pruning that bad data is a must:

“We see customers going from a 20+% bounce rate to zero, all because they clean and maintain their email lists. A good email verifier takes about 45 minutes to verify 100,000 contacts, so it’s quick – and yields immediate results. As your reputation begins to improve, your emails have a higher chance of landing in the inbox.”

Corina Leslie, PR Manager at ZeroBounce

  • Segment your data to use it more effectively. Bite-sized, laser-focused data lists are easier to use and manage. Depending on the types of data in question, you can set filtering rules based on various criteria. For example, B2B email data lists can be segmented by industry, location, job titles, company size, etc. This makes it easy to improve your targeting and better personalize your sales messaging and tactics.
  • Enrich your data consistently by adding extra details to the available info to keep your database growing. For example, you can enrich your B2B email lists with direct dials or social media profile links to implement a multichannel outreach strategy. By adding more data layers to your sales analytics dashboard, you can also make your forecasts more accurate and actionable.  

On a side note, one common concern about B2B data is its security. When dealing with sensitive information, always be careful to avoid any leaks. This is especially true in the case of customer data, including payment details. So implement proper data safety measures (preferably on the organization level).

Closing word

Once your sales team can access quality data and then create processes to accurately store, analyze, and manage it, you unlock a superpower of drawing patterns and accurate predictions.

These insights can be used to carve out a masterful sales strategy that leaves little room for speculation but instead uses sales data to double down on what works and cut out what doesn’t.

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