A common belief is that having too many contacts can’t hurt you. When they have to choose, most companies would rather have a big database of contacts than put in the effort to grow an authentic contacts database. In the end, getting new contacts signifies growth, right? Not exactly.
B2B contact databases tend to decay at a rate of 2.1% per month, which means 22.5% every year, according to Marketing Sherpa’s research. This means contacts can change email addresses, unsubscribe from communications, and for a number of other reasons, lose their relevance to your business.
No matter how you grow your contacts list, this will never change, and you end up wasting your effort and time communicating with an outdated database list or, in the best case, a disengaged audience. Instead, your focus should be on creating a quality CRM contact qualification process that’s in line with your target market and buyer personas.
If you don’t spend enough time on optimizing your qualification process and continually maintaining and cleaning a healthy contact database, your strategy will be based on a devaluing asset. This is why you need to have a strategy to make up for all the lost contacts.
Some of the reasons why you lose so many contacts:
- Their email addresses change when they move from one workplace to another
- Unqualified leads unsubscribe from your email list
- Some abandon old email addresses they don’t use
How does this impact your activities?
Your database is going to get smaller every year if you don’t get enough new leads to make up for the loss. Unless you are refreshing your database with new leads every year, your strategy will be based on a bad asset.
What can you do about it?
Database decay is a fact of business life. Even if you lower your unsubscribe rates, you can’t stop your audience from changing their email addresses.
Contact databases also rust because people are hired and fired. Companies get acquired. New positions emerge, or businesses get smaller every quarter.
Another study by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics found that some industries, such as Entertainment, Arts, and Recreation, decay at an astounding rate of 6.5% per month. You do the math. That means an annual decay rate of 55%.
Your marketing automation platforms and CRM are only useful if your contact data is accurate. You can call it database degradation, data rot, contact decay, or list corrosion – but the fact is that time is the enemy of the database of contacts.
Regular email list cleaning helps protect against blacklisting and improves your IP/domain sending reputation. It can also help you build better relationships with your subscribers and remove contacts who aren’t good prospects for your business.
If deleting contacts from your list still concerns you, keep in mind that a smaller list of quality prospects is better than a big list of contacts who will never buy from you. In short, cleaning and maintaining your list is good for your business.