Reducing Database Size in 2020: A Marketer’s New Year’s Resolution

As we ring in the New Year (and the new decade!), it’s common to commit to a few New Year’s Resolutions.

When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions for marketing operations teams, they may be thinking about new ways to maximize pipeline, optimize lead qualification and routing, or increase conversions with online forms.

Might we suggest another resolution? In 2020, strategic marketing ops teams should also focus on reducing database size.

No doubt, deleting records is a scary thing! It can also be a little sad — closing a door on potential opportunity is not a fun task for a team with a mission to generate new pipeline. But if you take a minute to weigh the cost of a large database against the cost of sending low quality leads to your sales team, you can quickly realize why reducing your database size will pay off in the long run.

The good news is this does not have to be a unilateral decision made by one team. In fact, the best approach to cleaning your database is to collect input and receive buy-in from different departments within your organization. This can help align teams and provide a boost of confidence before hitting that “send to recycle” button.

Here are some ways marketers can start these cross-functional conversations and reduce database size in 2020.

Sales: Focus on Lead Quality

Questions to ask a sales manager or star sales rep: What types of leads are most likely to convert? What aspects of a lead should disqualify a lead from getting sent to Sales?

Review: Once you identify a list of qualifiers and disqualifiers, you can dig into your database to see how those apply to your exiting leads and contacts.

Take Action: If the sales team mentions that old leads are not desirable, consider making a one-time segmentation rule, an ongoing dynamic list or an ongoing automation rule that uses a time element, including the “Created Date,” “Last Activity Date,” or a custom date field. Segment prospects by adding them to list or by adding a tag.

Example: If a record was created three years ago and has not been active for at least two years, add them to a list. Review the list before using a table action to add the prospects to the recycle bin.

Legal: Focus on Compliance

Questions to ask your legal representative: Do we sell or market to leads in a region with a restriction on the types of communication that can be sent? Are we obligated by any laws to delete records?

Review: In 2019 we saw major changes with data privacy laws like GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act. Pardot customers should already be aware of existing laws like Canada’s CASL or CAN-SPAM in the US, not to mention Pardot’s permission-based marketing policies. Remember, privacy laws apply to any business that operates in the region, not just businesses located in the region. With so many rules, a legal perspective can be helpful to ensure marketing is in compliance.

Take Action: Pardot comes with “Opt-out” and “Do Not Email” fields by default. These fields have functionality preventing records from receiving emails in various situations. Additionally, some organizations add a custom field to track “Opt-ins.” Tracking an opt-in is seen as a more robust method of consent, as the prospect explicitly stated they want to receive marketing material. If the required fields are not checked, marketing should consider whether these records should be deleted.

Example: Create a double-opt in process. An automation rule can be used to find records that have not specifically opted-in. Use a table action to send these records to the recycle bin.

Executive Team: Focus on Growth

Questions to ask your executive team: How can we optimize our current strategies to better target audiences with the highest potential for growth? What signals can we look for that dictate propensity-to-buy? What metrics are important when optimizing the lead qualification and assignment process? Are there any additional reasons we should exclude records from our selling process?

Review: Once you have gathered attributes and example leads from stakeholders, it is time to bring these to the executive team for sign-off. Executives often ask for numbers to back up decisions. The executive team may also have additional restrictions they want to add to the lead assignment process.

Take Action: You can come prepared by building a report in Sales Cloud that looks at opportunity close rate or lead conversion rate. As you optimize your qualification process, you should look for an increase in conversion rates.

Example: Within your CRM, build an opportunity dashboard. Components include the total number of opportunities by stage and the the overall win rate. Another component looks at the win-rate over time. Additionally, if the executive teams says it is realistically only possible to sell in five countries, but there are goals to expand in three more countries next year, you’ll have a better understanding of lead qualification criteria as it pertains to growth potential.

Growing pipeline and expanding business is top-of-mind for marketing teams. As systems mature, it is easy to neglect database maintenance. But cleaning data isn’t all bad news. You can help your sales team work more efficiently by delivering higher quality leads. You can also sleep better at night when you feel confident your marketing practices are in compliance.

By reducing records, a database will run more efficiently, help you engage the right prospects, and will save you money in the long run. That’s a New Year’s Resolution worth sticking with!