When it comes to B2B marketing these days, change remains a constant. It seems the same can be said for email data.
Indeed, email addresses are constantly in flux due to the ongoing, ever-changing roles of your target recipients. A new report by Salesforce Research on over 20 million full-time B2B professionals shows that the annual average “churn” rate for a single contact is 17%, but can be even higher depending on their roles and industries.
The report defines churn as either a horizontal (e.g. a different role) or vertical movement (e.g. a promotion) within an organization, and includes external movement (e.g. leaving a company) as well. Each scenario represents an obvious change in responsibility, and while the contact may keep his/her email address within a company, the contact’s new role may remove them from your target persona – and invalidate their email address from a marketing perspective.
According to the report, in terms of industry verticals, the retail and consumer products sectors had the highest annual churn rate, at 22%. The lowest churn rates were in the manufacturing and transportation industries (15%). When it comes to personas, for example, high-tech marketers’ annual churn rate was 23%, compared to 18% for high-tech finance personnel. In fact, marketers and sales professionals experienced the highest churn rates in all major industry categories, compared to personnel in HR, finance and IT. Finally, churn rates were, understandably, higher for individual contributors (20%) than for managers (17%) and directors and above (15%) across all industry verticals.
In addition, the report includes growth rates – new individuals entering a vertical each year. Here, retail and consumer products had the highest growth rates (19%), while finance (13%) had the lowest. Marketing personnel also had the highest growth rates across all verticals. The report concludes that, on average, it takes an overall B2B database just over four years to completely churn.
With all this constant churn, what’s a B2B marketer to do?
When it comes to securing customer acquisition data, I recommend B2B marketers work with a reputable vendor that offers users the opportunity to license email acquisition data for a full year, as opposed to buying a one-time use list. As the data above indicates, such one-time lists become outdated almost as soon as they’re purchased, and become highly inaccurate and unusable all too quickly afterward. On the other hand, utilizing licensed data will ensure your email data is cleansed and up-to-date, as you are able to purge invalid, hard-bounced email addresses throughout the year. Doing so also helps you dynamically build and grow your in-house list as you engage with contacts over time and move them through the sales pipeline.
Gaining new customers requires B2B marketers to examine and understand their existing customer base in order to create their ideal customer persona and attempt to go gather more of them. But they need to also keep in mind that these targets are constantly moving – perhaps even more than they realize. The bottom line is that working with an email data partner that understands and addresses the fact that change is a constant is the key to effectively battling constant churn.
Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can help you achieve better email marketing ROI, and convert more prospects into customers. Ask us how. Also, take a look at our complimentary e-book on building a successful B2B email marketing database.