If your company has a sales team, you're likely all too familiar with the phrase "feed the beast" and that never-ending quest to fill the pipeline with quality leads (the keyword being "quality"). Every company has a target audience, and you not only need to know who that is but actually reach it.
That, of course, is more easily said than done.
Just about every marketing and sales team will find themselves struggling with lead generation at some point. Moreover, for many businesses, lead generation is an ongoing battle.
So, what's a company to do? Though teams should definitely continue efforts to generate new leads, they should also put time, effort, and resources into data verification and management—an aspect of pipeline management that often gets talked about but falls to the wayside.
Data integrity is just as important as lead generation, especially if you want teams to successfully work the leads you generate.
Here are some lead-generation pitfalls to avoid.
1. Relying on a Single Contact Method
Sometimes, the only contact information you have for a lead is a phone number or an email address. If that information is incorrect or a lead ignores you, you're stuck.
Appending additional information so that you have the right phone number, email address, and mailing address (to that lead's office, not the company headquarters) gives you more opportunities to make a connection. An email or a phone call might never be returned, but a clever direct mail piece may catch a prospect's eye.
2. Incorrect Data From the Get-Go
We've all seen the following happen... A brand-new lead comes in via submitted form, and it looks like this:
Acme Anvil Company
Congratulations, you got a new lead—you just can't contact him. Information like that is the worst-case scenario, but all you can do is disregard the lead and hope that he will eventually actively engage with your business.
Sometimes, a new lead comes in with this type of information:
Now that information, though not perfect, is enough to go on, giving you an opportunity to clean up the information and generate a new, high-quality lead.
Evaluating lead information as it enters your system helps you clean up partially incorrect information, correct clear typos, or just format the information for consistent data input. It also helps you immediately filter out bad leads, saving your team time and effort in the long run.
3. Outdated Data
Information changes—people move, get promoted, leave companies, and change their names and phone numbers. The information you once had may no longer be correct. Not maintaining data integrity could be more harmful than it might first appear.
Rolling outreach efforts will be wasted if you don't know that a lead is no longer at that company or an email address has changed. If hot leads have moved to a different organization, reaching out to them at their new company is a great way to generate new leads.
To make sure you don't lose any steam, the lead's information in your database must be updated. You also need new contact information for that individual's replacement at the original target company. In situations like this, failing to maintain your data could cost two good opportunities.
4. Technically Correct Data
On paper, the information you have isn't wrong—it's just not quite right, either. The phone number and address in your database for a particular lead might be for his or her company headquarters in Los Angeles, but the lead is located in Dallas, Texas. That information may eventually connect you to the correct person, but a lot of time is wasted in waiting.
The lack of a specific location can also create issues when you do geo-specific outreach. If you want to extend a special offer, send an announcement about a new nearby location, or meet up with a prospect while in town, you must know the correct location.
5. Targeting the Wrong Leads
Having the right job title, location, and company size is critical to properly identifying target leads.
Spending time speaking to a junior manager could influence an opportunity, but he or she is not the decision maker. On the flip side, teams could inadvertently shelve a high-quality lead because the job title is incorrect. If your organization targets by job title, department, or company size, this crucial data needs extra attention.
6. Letting Leads Sit With Missing Data
If you don't have complete contact information, you're missing an outreach opportunity. It's as simple as that. Even if a lead didn't provide that information or the lead record you bought doesn't include the field, your data-appending software and APIs can often provide the missing information.
In the past, data clean-up was a daunting, manual, and time-consuming task. No wonder databases became cluttered and stale—but that excuse no longer stands. With the availability of data-verification and validation software, companies can quickly, easily, and even automatically clean up both brand new and legacy information.
Even addressing these data-management tasks one at a time will begin to increase the quality of your leads and database. Many companies begin by validating new leads as they come in, later moving on to legacy leads.
Whether you attack data integrity all at once or piece by piece, you provide your team with better quality contacts and a much higher chance at success.