Data Governance #1: Three Reasons You Need Automated Lead Validation

In December, AdAge posted results of a survey stating 71% of marketers plan to increase their content marketing budgets in 2014. Marketers quickly blasted the stat through social media, underlining the need for quality content to discover new prospects and generate sales leads.

No doubt, a good chunk of the increased content developed will be used for lead generation. With so much time and budget investment in media and content to generate leads, it’s staggering how many marketing organizations are not taking the next, critical step to utilize available technology to validate data as leads come in from their marketing programs.

Too often data hygiene is over-looked as marketers mistakenly view lead and data validation software as a nice-to-have rather than a must-have. Consequently, they’re neglecting significant savings on media spend, time and resources and, most importantly, not assuring the prospect data is accurate and formatted for easy sales followup and lead nurturing. The old adage of “garbage in, garbage out” has never been truer.

Here are three reasons why marketers should incorporate automated lead validation into their lead generation programs.

1. To eliminate the costs of poor prospect data Lead Validation Benefits

The cost of bad data is shocking. According to research firm SiriusDecisions:

  • 25% of the average B2B database is inaccurate
  • 60% of companies surveyed had an overall data health scale of “unreliable”
  • 80% of companies have “risky” phone contact records

In its 2013 State of Marketing Data, NetProspex reports:

  • 64% of companies surveyed have “unreliable” data and 34% have “questionable” data
  • 61% of companies surveyed said 35% of their records were incomplete

Our customer stats at Integrate show an average blocked-lead rate due to bad or incomplete data of 30%-45%. Incorrect/insufficient data errors can range from a bad phone number, email, postal address, or the lead may be a duplicate or not meet the marketing campaign criteria (wrong country, etc.).

Now let’s put a price tag on it. Say you ran a campaign that generated 1,000 leads. Assume a conservative 30% of those leads (300) have some type of insufficient data disabling nurture or follow-up efforts. If you paid $40 per lead then $12,000 of your marketing budget was wasted. This cost may even increase if the bad data is passed into your CRM or marketing automation system, which typically charge customers by contact volume.

2. To regain valuable time and marketing resources

There’s usually at least one person on a marketing team that has the much-envied privilege of scrubbing leads (a triumphant honor for four years’ worth of university-level marketing courses). No one enters the marketing world with visions of combing through endless spreadsheets. Quite simply, automated lead validation removes this tedious chore, giving back precious time to marketing professionals so they can spend it on more strategic matters. An automated system is also more effective and it removes the possibility of human error.

3. To increase marketing performance and results

It’s simple math. If you include the bad leads in your equations, conversion rates will falter. Removing bad leads results in instant improvement to the bottom line and for demonstrable ROI.

Including automated lead validation in your marketing programs is not only beneficial, it’s necessary in order to succeed in the rapidly changing world of marketing. We’re all more accountable than ever for budgets and results. Implementing a data health-check system will improve results and directly impact your budgets and revenue opportunities. I encourage you to make this a priority for 2014.

There are myriad types of bad data and incomplete leads being passed to sales, marketing and nurturing programs. Take control and validate your lead data for yourself, your company and your future customers!

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