What are the best leads for your business? Obviously the ones that purchase your products or services. Understanding what makes up these leads requires data, research and market intelligence.
Equally important, is understanding what your worst leads look like? We can help answer that one for you. Automated lead validation services helps identify leads with bad or fraudulent contact data, including people who submit fake names or contact information to get a free marketing goodie, potentially fraudulent customers, and leads whose data was entered incorrectly. Lead validation tools can also identify and restore leads with accuracy decay: over 70% of even your best leads can go bad per year.
With the aid of a little automation, you can mitigate these problems and substantially improve the quality and ROI of your lead database. Let’s look at how to make this happen.
Lead validation: an automated tool for lead quality
Our DOTS Lead Validation APIs – available for US, Canadian and international leads – are bundled products that combine the core strengths of our contact data validation services with sophisticated analysis and artifical intelligence (AI) to determine the quality of your leads.
These products validate the individual components of your lead data, such as name, address, phone, email, IP address, and more. More importantly, they also cross-validate this information and analyze over 130 data points to create a composite lead quality score from 0 to 100. In addition, they return individual scores for the quality of each element, as well as error codes for specific issues.
- Let’s say that a lead appears to have an accurate address in the United States, but uses a prepaid phone number or their IP address shows they are in a high-risk country. Situations like these are flagged, and may be an indicator to review the lead for potential fraud.
- Another example is testing for business leads, which are scored lower if the contact information includes a personal rather than a business phone number.
These are just two examples of how the overall score, individual component scores and error codes of these services can be used to help you make good decisions about your leads.
A sample use case for lead validation
Here is one example of a procedure for improving the quality of your leads database using Lead Validation:
1) Validate each lead at the point of capture, at each of the touchpoints where leads are normally acquired: for example, web-based forms, internal data entry, or third-party lists or sources. These are the “rivers” that feed the “lake” of your contact database, and validation at the time of data entry allows you to catch incorrect or fraudulent leads before they pollute your data. The API interface of Lead Validation makes it possible to incorporate these capabilities directly within major business automation platforms.
2) Validate and correct leads when you are preparing outreach and marketing campaigns. This helps recover and update leads that may have changed since initially being captured. This keeps the “lake” clean for the “rivers” that use this data downstream. This not only improves contact record accuracy and determines lead quality, but can also allow you to build business logic and processes around quality scores.
3) Create business logic that routes the highest (composite) lead quality score to your best sales representatives.
4) Use individual contact data element scores to determine the best way to reach a prospect. For example:
|Contact data||Marketing strategy|
|Bad (or no) phone / Bad Email / Good Address||Direct mail|
|Good Phone / Good Email / Good Address||Omni-channel marketing|
|Bad phone / Good email / Bad address||Email campaign only|
5) Use lead quality ratings to help evaluate and set marketing and sales performance metrics. For example, a poor quality phone number score might result in lower call center contact rate expectations.
6) Send poor quality leads to a lead recovery team, where they can research the lead for additional contact details and/or determine that the lead is fake or not salvageable.
7) Evaluate the quality of third-party lead lists by running them against the Lead Validation tool. Depending on the results you can negotiate the price for the list, choose not to work with a particular vendor, or buy with confidence.
The benefits of lead validation
Automated lead validation improves your marketing efforts in many tangible ways. First, it substantially improves the ROI of your lead follow-up. Second, it saves resources in terms of both money and human time that would be wasted pursuing inappropriate leads – particularly with high cost-per-lead channels such as direct mail or outbound telephone marketing. Third, you gain visibility about lead quality that lets your best team members execute better, while setting appropriate expectations for converting specific lead groupings.
There is also a substantial intangible benefit to improving the data quality of your leads. Your marketing and sales team’s morale will improve as they work with higher quality leads, resulting in better esprit de corps, particularly for people on commission – which in turn fuels employee retention and ultimately feeds back into better performance. Lead validation is a case where a small investment in your business process can pay big dividends in producing happy people, better results and more revenue.