This is part 6 of our new blog series on automated data onboarding / list loading. Thus far we finished covering data preparation and decision-making tasks. Today we will discuss the final set of tasks: action execution.

If you need to read the previous parts of this blog series, you can find the start of the series here.

C. Action Execution Tasks

C.1    Deduplicate

Dealing with duplicate records is a familiar problem for even the most junior marketers. List loading is often the biggest source of how duplicates are introduced to your systems. Without using technology, manually checking for duplicates for each record in the list to be loaded is a pain you would not want to inflict on yourself or any employee of yours. With the help of technology, every record can be checked against existing leads and contacts in your system. If the record already exists in your system, then you need to automate the disposition process. Here are the most common actions to be automated:

  • Update existing record with selected information from the new record
  • Discard the new record

Deduplication during list loading is not the same as a full deduplication of your database. Deduplication during list loading doesn’t take care of duplicate records that already exist in your database. If you already have duplicates in your system and another new record is being loaded that matches those duplicates, you have two choices:

  • Update all duplicate records with the new record
  • Select the “right” record and only update that record with the new record

In general, we recommend the latter approach, but the first approach may make more sense under specific circumstances.

C.2    Create and Update Lead in Systems

This step is straightforward. If a duplicate record already exists in your system, then update it. If not, add a new record. No need to belabor this point.

C.3    Convert a Lead to a Contact

If a lead from the list is matched to an account in your system, and your system makes the distinction between a Lead and a Contact as with Salesforce, you have a decision to make. Do you:

  • Import the lead as a Lead, or
  • Import the lead as a Contact

Importing the new record as a Contact that’s associated with the matched Account is logical, but may not jive with your existing lead flow process. Your sales team may prefer all new prospects to remain as Leads until they manually qualify them and convert them to Contacts. If you don’t  convert Leads to Contacts, then we recommend the following:

  • Change the Lead’s Company Name to the name of the matched Account
  • Add the matched Account ID as a custom field to the Lead record
  • Assign the Lead Owner as the Account Owner

C.4    Assign to Campaigns

Usually, the records within a list are associated with a single campaign. We recommend you include a Campaign ID column in your master template so that the automated list loading process can automatically assign the new and updated records to the appropriate Campaign from the list. Including the Campaign ID in the file to be imported gives you the flexibility to assign records from one file to more than one Campaign.

The list loading process should also check if the Lead is already a member of the Campaign to be assigned. If the Lead is already a member of the Campaign, then simply update the Campaign Member Status and other customer Campaign data fields.

C.5    Create Tasks for Lead Owner

If you’d like to create a Task automatically for the Lead Owner to follow up, then this can be included in your list loading process.

Step 3: Dealing with Rejects & Errors

As with any automated task, sometimes errors can happen during the list loading process. You need a process to deal with these errors as well as the records you decided to reject. This is best accomplished by setting up a corresponding output folder and have the automated process load file(s) containing the records that encountered errors or have been rejected. The output file should include the following data:

  • The original record appended
  • Reject reason
  • Task results/status
  • Error or warning message from the data orchestration platform as well as the target system to be updated
  • All available timestamps

The end-to-end automated process would then work like this:

  1. Receive a file to load
  2. Rearrange file into master template
  3. Drop the file(s) in master template format into the input folder
  4. Automated list loading process picks up file and process the records
  5. Automated list loading process sends a notification that the list load process is completed
  6. Check the output folder for any rejects and errors
  7. Rejects and errors can be put back into the process for reprocessing after issues have been addressed, such as manually adding missing required data

Parting Thoughts

List loading is a manual process that’s tedious, repetitive, and mind-numbing. No one likes to do it, even the most junior marketers, who often get stuck with the task. Outsourcing the work may sound like a good workaround, but the cost, delay, and error-prone nature of manual work cannot be resolved as long as the process stays manual. In this hyper-competitive real-time world we live in, a sales team’s ability to follow up promptly while the prospect still remembers meeting you at a tradeshow or downloading the white paper is critical. Automated list loading has a strong ROI in terms of:

  • Faster follow up with prospects—cutting follow up time from days to hours
  • Reduced errors and improved data completeness
  • Reduced number of duplicate records introduced into your systems
  • Happier employees
  • Less money spent with outsourcers and consultants that can be allocated to more strategic tasks that require human intellect

For the sake of your team’s performance and sanity, give Openprise a call to discuss how we can automate your list loading process.

This concludes our blog series on automated data onboarding / list loading. We hope you found the material useful. If you have another process automation topic you would like us to cover, send use a suggestion using the email info@openprisetech.com or use the Contact Us form.

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