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An effective B2B email marketing strategy has much less to do with email, per se, than you may think. The best programs nurture and engage leads while also acting as a critical step toward closing deals—and, ultimately, making your company more profitable.

As email marketers, we have access to leads as they enter the sales funnel, giving us the ability to largely influence not only the nurture journey through email marketing but also the flow of information throughout the sales funnel.

Email marketers can track leads from start to finish and attribute full or partial credit and ROI to marketing activities. We can also identify which lead sources and nurturing campaigns produce or convert the most opportunities, providing literally valuable insight into how to wisely spend marketing dollars.

Today, the conversation about the effectiveness of an email marketing plan, or B2B marketing overall, is less about vanity marketing metrics like open and click through rates and more about Marketing's ability to drive quality leads that contribute to your company's bottom line. And this is where managing your contact database comes into play.

Managing your database is arguably more important than all the thought and effort put into email subject lines and calls to action. Thoughtful management will help you make informed decisions about your marketing strategies, so it is important to identify, track and measure contact interactions as they become leads, Marketing-qualified leads (MQLs), Sales-qualified leads (SQLs), and, ultimately, closed opportunities.

So, if your database is a mess—like most are—here are three steps that will help you organize and optimize it (and even a few Pro tips for taking your email marketing to the next level).

Step 1: Determining the Source

The first step in measuring marketing ROI is to establish an original-source field.

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image of Maddie Hartle

Maddie Hartle is a digital communications strategist at digital marketing agency Pyxl. She specializes in email marketing, blogging, and social posting for robust, data-driven campaigns.

LinkedIn: Madeleine Hartle