If you have ever heard 'There's gold in them there hills' then you should be pretty excited about the title of this blog. Believe it or not, we regularly uncover gold on behalf of our clients. Ironically, they have been sitting on this gold without even knowing it. Our clients come from the manufacturing and industrial space and are typically small businesses in need of business development help. When we begin an engagement, normally lead generation based, we always start with the same question. Where is the clients gold?It doesn't matter if we are doing an Inbound, Outbound or Omnibound® program, there is opportunity buried in every organization. If are now asking yourself, "What is he talking about," let me explain. If you have been in business any length of time, you have been mining gold. The gold for any business is a contact or sales opportunity. Over the years, these businesses have been collecting a plethora of opportunities but unfortunately, human nature takes over. If something doesn't immediately manifest from the opportunity, we're onto the next 'bright shiney' thing that grabs our attention and the opportunity gets buried or forgotten about.
With business opportunities becoming more and more scarce, why not take an approach that is easily overlooked. Let's look into the past, the archives..the proverbial vault. It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure it out, but let's take a moment to make a list of where the bones are buried in your organization.
- Everyone who deals with a client or prospect will inevitably have a spreadsheet, email database (Outlook, gmail, other) or other form of electronic list squirreled away on their computer.
- Over the years you have written hundreds, if not thousands of quotes. Go to the archives, where ever they might be - a quote system or hard copy, it doesn't matter. Go get those gold nuggets. Let me guess, not everyone of those quotes turned into customers. I'm guessing 20% or less turned into clients which means, they are still prospects.
- Business cards. Yes business cards. Over the years, you and people in your organization have collected thousands of business cards. Guess where they are sitting? In binders, Rolodexes, desk drawers and a myriad of other places. And even better, I bet there are notes on the back of those cards. It's like an anthropologist that uncovered an ancient CRM. They blow the dust back, brush it away and are amazed at what they are seeing.
- How about old trade show leads, where are they? Betcha they are in those boxes, files and email lists. Maybe they are in a CRM (if you have one). Time to resurrect those.
Now that I have you thinking, can you name some more? OK, you may be saying by now, what do I do with all this crap now? I still can't use it effectively. Many of the contacts no longer work at these companies or the companies are out of business. It's a pile of junk, fools gold (pyrite) and hardly worth pursuing. Well I'm here to tell you that you are wrong. I'll admit, there are contacts that no longer exist and companies long gone, but there is still a percentage that are active. Let me provide you a statistic from an actual.
We recently did an awareness email campaign on behalf of a client. Yes, the picture to the left is actually of the gold we uncovered at their location. Rolodex, boxes of cards, and a flash drive we populated with spreadsheets and email exports. In the end, there were over 1300 contacts in this collection. We scanned, scrubbed and loaded roughly half into a database and our marketing automation platform, Hubspot. Well here is what we got:
As you can see, 78.3% of the data was actually delivered. 24.4% of what was delivered was actually opened and 5.2% was clicked. Well, how does that compare to some bench marking. Mailchimp recently updated their bench marking data on Sept 12, 2016. With Acadia's focus being in the Industrial and Manufacturing space, it only makes sense to look at Manufacturing benchmarks. In this space, the average open rate is 22.21% with a click through average of 2.42%. The results exceeded industry averages. This from a pile of business cards and excel spreadsheets.
As our client's inbound marketing program advances, better segmentation data from progressive profiling will allow us to deliver contextual content and increase sales opportunities for our client. So, there is gold in them there cards.
Now that you are convinced, you probably want to know how we brought all the data together. It looks daunting, especially for an organization with limited resources such as a small business in the industrial space. This is why you may want to consider out sourcing this work. Even with a high level of technology, there is still a fair amount of human intervention. A project like this went something like this after the cards and data was collected:
- Cards were cleansed using the following criteria:
- If the card was clearly a vendor (accounting firm, insurance or even the pizza delivery guy), it was put in a 'do not load pile'
- If the card did not have an email address, then in all likelihood, it was too old to be considered
- Once cards were sorted, they were placed in stacks of 50. These stacks were loaded into a high speed scanner. This process continued until all cards were scanned.
- Once scanned, we used OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software to read the scans and place the information in the appropriate fields in a database. As part of this process, we audited the files to assure that the OCR software did its job. If there was an error, it was manually corrected.
- Once we had a master 'business card' data file. We merged it with the any other electronic files we pulled from computers within the company.
- After merging, our data team de-duped the files, repaired formatting errors and created a file for loading into the database.
- Loaded database to be used as a seed list for marketing efforts.
The work certainly was worth the effort based on the first batch of emails that was sent out. If you have gotten this far in this post, take a moment to think about where your gold may be hidden.