How you fuel the engine and maintain that engine has a direct effect on how the engine performs. Do you want your sports car or truck to tear up the road or just putter along skidding out in the turns and getting passed by all the “competition”?
A little creative license here, but it definitely applies to the value of prospect and customer data contained in a business’s sales databases, support database, and CRM system. Outdated or inaccurate prospect and customer information is analogous to bad fuel and improper engine maintenance, it will grind your drive to a halt. The time spent building plans around bad contact information only leads down a path of failure, frustration, and ultimately the opportunity cost of doing things again vs. doing them right the first time. It is a big price to pay and the type of business (for profit, non profit, large or small) doesn’t matter since all business want to maximize resources and efforts.
The management and maintenance of contact information can be mundane, tedious and time-consuming. I call this process “Contact Grooming” and it is the process of making sure you have the best ‘fuel’ in your sales and prospecting engine. In the prospecting world it is one of the keys to success. It is the key to minimizing wasted time. It is mundane. It is tedious. It is time-consuming. It is basically everything you hate. But, if you can avoid mistakes made due to incorrect information such as invalid phone numbers, email addresses, and social media handles it saves time, decreases frustration, is more productive, and keeps you focused on your task. Your task being to engage contacts via the best channel and at the most opportune time and communicate value. You can drive harder and faster.
How do you best “Groom” your contacts? There are many approaches that range from manually inspecting your contacts to solutions that crawl the web for the latest public information. It is a large range for sure, some of which is labor intensive and the other which places trust in updates made from publically available information. Often this data is not current to that particular moment in time. For example, how often have you changed a job and it took weeks for you to update your LinkedIn profile? I would be lying if I told you I immediately updated my profile.
The best case scenario is that you are connected to someone and whenever a change is made to their information it is verified by that individual as correct and automatically communicated to you. What about the intrusiveness of contacting someone? Remember you are prospecting or reconnecting with someone which is a potential invasion of their time. If they have verified correct contact information and shared that with you then they are permitting you to have that information and inviting you to contact them. Doesn’t that sound better than having questionable contact information and then contacting them with the hope that it is OK to reach out to them? The simple solution is to have user verified data and user authorized data that is always in sync.