Posts Tagged ‘International Leads’

Lead Validation, Part 3: International Lead Validation

This blog concludes a series of deep dives into our DOTS Lead Validation (US and Canada) and DOTS Lead Validation – International (Global) services.

In the first blog, we dove into the core components or building blocks of the Lead Validation service: Name, Address, Phone, Email, IP Address and Business. We described how each component works, the types of tests we perform, and how these tests fit into the overall score returned, when we verify a lead through our service.

In our second blog, we delved a bit deeper into important features and capabilities of Lead Validation outside of the core components. These include Test Types, customizations, service messaging and other important outputs. These two blogs serve as a solid overview of the Lead Validation service as a whole.

In this blog, we will explore the closely related service called Lead Validation – International, which, as its name suggests, verifies global leads. Lead Validation – International corrects, validates and cross-validates name, address, phone, email, IP and business data from around the world, while providing a quality score for each component and an overall quality score for the lead.

The Similarities

The domestic and international lead validation services are almost interchangeable and share the same basic building blocks. All six components; name, address, phone, email, IP and business data, are analyzed, and most of the same basic tests are run on them. Both of these products do in fact run off of the same validation engine, and if the lead is either from the United States or Canada, the results should be indistinguishable.

In the same vein, the input and output structures for these two products are almost identical, making mapping from one service to the next extremely easy. All of the same output fields can be expected.  Even when there are differences due to different tests being run for a different country, the results are mapped back to the same easy-to-use result. Keep in mind that Lead Validation – International is a different service, and therefore a different license key is needed, but other than that a generated “GET” URL is identical.

All of this makes upgrading from Lead Validation to Lead Validation International a breeze. Service Objects is happy to help you move your license key, and best of all, there is no price difference between the two services. The same set of Test Types can also be used on both services, and work in similar expected ways: since US and Canadian leads are treated the same way in both services, it makes sense for the Test Types to be the same. There are slight differences for other countries, but those are seamlessly rolled into the same balancing and scoring that the US and Canada get.

Likewise, custom test types and customizations work the same way between these two products. Customizations are easy, since they would primarily be built into the shared engine doing the work. We want improvements made in one service to help the other! Likewise, the messaging system is also shared and can be seen in the Notes in our Developer Guide.  As before, all of the same tests are performed, so it makes sense that both services would also return the same set of notes. There are a few added notes for the international service, but these are fairly minor.

The Differences

While these two services are very similar in many ways, there are some obvious and key differences.

The most obvious is that Lead Validation is designed to validate leads only in the US and Canada, while Lead Validation International can handle all leads globally (including handling US and Canadian leads on a level equal to the domestic service). It might seem like a no brainer to just choose Lead Validation International, however, a key difference lies in how those services treat other countries.

For example, for clients who only intend to collect or process leads from the US, it is often easier for them if we just fail a lead outright because it comes from an unsupported country. In the case of Lead Validation International, we are validating the lead as is, so if it is a good quality lead from Japan, we are going to mark it as good regardless of whether it is a good lead for the user. We do identify the country represented, so programmers can either not call the service based on country or choose to exclude the results post-validation, if it turns out to be one they do not want.

Another difference in validating global leads versus US or Canadian leads is in the quality of data. Many of the core components such as name, email and IP address are fully functional on a global level and perform all of the tests successfully. Others such as address, however, use different services for handling different countries.

We are very strong in the US and Canada, with a full suite of powerful validation features. However, while we are also strong internationally, there are specific countries and/or areas that the data just doesn’t exist for. For example, India does not have postal data for large portions of the country, making it nearly impossible to do provide accurate validation. The service uses what it is available to make the best guess possible, factoring in what we do know about the location in question and how it matches with other components provided. Likewise, with phones, contact data in the US and Canada is robust, but not always the case in other parts of the world. As with addresses, we have to be creative with matching location, other data points and looking for red flags with the number to give an indication of the likelihood that it is good.

European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

This is not so much of a difference between Lead Validation and Lead Validation – International as it is a necessity of the International service. For the domestic service, Lead Validation will fail any lead that belongs to a country that falls under the GDPR. This makes sense since Lead Validation users will not be interested in correcting and validating European leads.

Lead Validation – International tracks the location of the lead as a whole as well as the individual components. Any lead or data element found to be connected to a country that falls under the GDPR will be flagged with a note “IsInGDPR”.

That said, GDPR is one of many privacy regulations that are to be enacted.  Other countries are currently working on their own privacy compliance laws and even individual states like California have plans to create their own privacy regulations.  In any of these cases, we will do our best to keep pace with them and update both Lead Validation and Lead Validation International to track and flag new privacy acts as they emerge.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this blog gives some insight into the Lead Validation – International service and how it fits into the overall Lead Validation framework. Taken together, all three blogs in this series provide a good overview of the use and value of both services. If you would like to learn more about Lead Validation – International, contact our friendly technical support team anytime!

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Dealing with Difficult Countries in Lead Validation – International

What is DOTS Lead Validation – International?

For over a year now, Service Objects has been validating leads around the world with DOTS Lead Validation – International. This service looks at six key components – name, business, email, IP address, mailing address and phone – testing, analyzing and cross-comparing each to build a certainty score of 0-100 indicating the reliability of the given data.

Lead Validation – International can be used for any type of data quality need, be it validating data in an online web form or shopping cart, cleaning up a CRM or other database, passing leads through a marketing automation platform or just running against a list. It can be integrated with any major programming language, and is compatible with all of the major CRM and automation systems.

Lead Validation or Lead Validation – International?

Lead Validation – International is the global successor to our US and Canada based service, DOTS Lead Validation. Both services generate a lead quality score using our strongest data sets and algorithms to validate and cross-compare key contact data components – name, business, email, IP address, mailing address and phone. Lead Validation – International was built from the ground up with a new interface, tests and datasets. Once this new service was up and running, we circled back and upgraded the US and Canada service to take advantage of this new interface and engine.

For the purposes of validating US and Canadian leads, Lead Validation and Lead Validation – International will return the exact same results. Choosing between the domestic or international service really comes down to your needs and the mix of international leads in your data set. Since the results for domestic leads will be the same, we generally recommend using Lead Validation – International for most lead validation where any international leads may be captured. To make it easier, the new interface is shared between both services so switching from one to the other requires only a minor update to the request URL and a new license key for the other service.

What’s new in Lead Validation – International?

The power of Lead Validation – International continues to grow as we refine our algorithms and add new international datasets. Processing international data is still one of the most challenging things we do at Service Objects, due to the logistics of getting and working with international data sources. Our latest Lead Validation – International update includes more attention to identifying questionable phone numbers, weeding out reserved phone numbers country-by-country, and looking for combinations of phone numbers that are likely to be invalid.

Additional tests have been included in the logic that cross-compares the input and component country information. These new tests allow for better resolution in validating the consistency of leads data by allowing us to check from a few new directions. Above all, the main reason for this latest update was to upgrade how we handle problematic countries.

How does Lead Validation – International deal with problematic countries?

As mentioned, the primary motivation for the recent Lead Validation – International update was to help one of our clients deal with a large uptick in potentially fraudulent leads from questionable countries, that traditionally appear at the top of generic, drop-down country lists, such as Antarctica, British Indian Ocean Territory and Aland Island. The first two have almost no population, while the latter has a small population.

Prior to this update, we considered these unsupported countries. Because it was unlikely that these leads were actually genuine, and a choice of these countries should cause them to be flagged for further scrutiny, the service would return a quick error and not charge the user for the request.

A deeper dive into example data surrounding these leads suggested that quite a lot of fraud takes place using these countries. It seems likely that many leads selecting these questionable countries are coming from automated sources, like bots. Often these leads have additional data points that do not match up well or are clearly fraudulent. Our service is well suited to identify these cases.

What’s next for Lead Validation – International?

Our engineers are constantly refining all of our services, including Lead Validation and Lead Validation – International. The current solutions are great tools and we continue to improve their processes for dealing with problematic countries or whatever the next challenge. We are constantly evaluating and adding more accurate and reliable data and while improving and refining our algorithms to detect questionable leads, businesses, and suspicious input in general.

These are just a few of the things we will continue to explore to help Lead Validation and Lead Validation – International continue to meet your needs. If you have feedback or questions regarding our Lead Validation services, get in touch with our team.

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Why Should a Business Validate Leads?

Your business is measuring how many leads you generate with your marketing efforts. You’re even scoring your leads’ likelihood to buy with a marketing automation tool or CRM. But can your marketing and sales tools tell you if your contacts are legitimate prospects? Lead validation fills the gap between marketing automation and sales efforts, creating more visibility in marketing and more efficiencies in sales.

Validating leads can help any B2B or B2C business improve their marketing and sales tactics, but it can be especially transformational for international companies. While all businesses face the issues of incomplete, incorrect, or spam form submissions, there are unique challenges to doing business in the global market. Differences in country address formats and language characters can muddy your data. What’s more, automated validation can provide a solution to international compliance issues.

What is lead validation?

According to Michael Brenner, the CEO of Marketing Insider Group, lead validation is critical to your marketing – without it, you run the risk of grossly overestimating the ROI of your marketing campaigns. We agree wholeheartedly.

Lead validation is the process of verifying and scoring the quality of the leads you generate. It’s risky to assume that each phone call to your sales team or form completion on your website indicates a strong lead. According to a recent study by marketing services firm Straight North, analyzing over 350,000 marketing inquiries, barely half of them were legitimate sales leads. Manually sorting through past inquiries could be considered a form of lead validation, but in practice it’s inefficient. Moreover, you may not recognize typos or spam entries by sight alone.

By implementing a lead validation service, you can use automation to cross-check new lead information and push your most promising leads to the top of your sales team’s to-do list. Our DOTS Lead Validation – International service supports more than 250 countries with the most accurate, current data available and integrates with leading CRM and marketing tools like Salesforce, Marketo, and Hubspot.

How does lead validation work?

Simply put, the contact input you collect from your leads is verified as real, then compared to existing data sources to correct and append the information where needed.

How does our Lead Validation – International service work? It verifies and cross-validates contact data, including a prospect’s name, address, phone, email, and IP address against hundreds of authoritative data sources. Following verification and correction, it provides an overall quality score of 0-100 for the lead itself, and a specific quality score to each data point. Your business logic determines the parameters of how the output works with your processes. Our notes even indicate if a contact is covered by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), so you can be sure you’re in compliance.

Why is lead validation important?

Almost every department in your organization benefits from lead validation. Here are just a few of the ways that lead validation can directly strengthen your business practices:

  • Marketing – Gain a better understanding of effective (and ineffective) marketing practices, pivot campaigns quickly, and create powerful and personal marketing automation. Scores can be connected to campaigns for a more accurate lead gen reporting.
  • Sales – Spend more time and energy focusing on leads that score the highest, gain insights to leverage during sales calls, and deploy effective sales drip automation.
  • Business Development – Collect clean, accurate data to make projections and plan growth.
  • Compliance – Adhere to regulatory guidelines, such as GDPR.

Lead Validation – International can be deployed in four ways

  • Real-time API – Check and score data at the point of entry.
  • Cloud Connectors – Connect with major marketing, sales, and ecommerce platforms.
  • List Processing – Batch services are available to clean up existing databases.
  • Quick Lookups – Spot-check leads that come in through nontraditional channels.

The bottom line: validating your leads ensures your contact records are as genuine, accurate, and up-to-date as possible, and helps your team identify contacts that fall under data privacy regulations. If your business is spending time and money on global marketing and sales efforts, lead validation should be the next tool you add to your toolkit. Get your free API trial key and see how Lead Validation – International provides powerful insights to help your business grow.

Comparing Lead Validation – International Components

As with many of our services, DOTS Lead Validation – International fits in our main company objective to reduce fraud, increase conversions, and enhance incoming leads, Web orders, and customer lists. One of the main purposes of this service is to allow organizations to prioritize leads based on their quality.

This service returns an overall quality value and an overall certainty score that examines all of a lead’s component inputs – such as business name, name, email, address, phone number, and IP address – and evaluates them as a whole. The certainty score is a value in the range of 0-100 that represents the overall certainty the service provided on this lead, while the overall quality value indicates whether a lead should be rejected, reviewed or accepted. Each component has several outputs that paint a picture of the component result, including each individual component’s certainty and quality.

Which brings us to the purpose for this blog: explaining the differences between the component results of Lead Validation – International and the component services themselves.

Lead Validation – International leverages other services we offer to help it make and determine a score, because there is often confusion between these two different sets of results.

Email Validation 3 versus the EV component

What Email Validation 3 does

DOTS Email Validation 3, which is used by Lead Validation – International, follows a series of steps to determine the validity and meta data about an email address. It dives deep into the input email, with high level steps that include email correction, syntax check, DNS check, SMTP check and integrity checks. Data points returned include flags to show if the mail server is operational, will accept mail for the specific box, or will accept mail to any box in that domain. Other data points include an estimate on the validity of the mailing address, warning codes with flags indicating a bogus, garbage, spam trap, disposable, known spammer or vulgar email, and many other data points.

How Lead Validation – International is different

The key difference why one service is not a replacement for the other is because Email Validation 3 only has the email to validate against. Everything Email Validation 3 finds can be determined based on the email itself. Lead Validation – International has many fields that can help make other determinations that work in concert with the email data points. For example, Lead Validation – International asks itself how the email stands up against a name input, the name of the person on the phone contact, or even the name of the company involved in the lookup. In other words, the email is evaluated and the data is returned based on how the email results stack up against the entire lead as a whole.

Lead Validation – International could steer a user down the wrong path if they are trying to use the results to determine whether they should send mail to a given email address. Lead Validation – International gives some basic indications, but it does not reveal everything that would be helpful for validation geared towards an email campaign, because it doesn’t need to – Lead Validation – International is for validating leads as a whole and not just its parts. The evaluation of the component parts does not happen in a silo.

Address Validation versus the AV component

What Address Validation – International does

What DOTS Address Validation – International does, in a nutshell, is validate international address. (I know, it’s strange, you were likely thinking it measured gravitational waves…) But seriously and more specifically, I pulled this from our developer guides since it sums it up so well, “Address Validation – International is designed to take an international address, validate it and return a standardized international version of the address. Depending on the information available for a given address, Address Validation – International can return additional information about a given address. For example, it can return Delivery Point Validation (DPV) information for US addresses”.

What Address Validation 3 does

DOTS Address Validation – US 3 is our US address validation product. The input to the service is typically a non-standardized address, and what is returned is a standardized, deliverable (where possible) address that is validated against the latest USPS data. It also returns a DPV score that lets the user know the degrees of validation of what was determined by the service: for example, a DPV score of 1 indicates a valid mailing address was returned, and a DPV score of 2 shows that the address was not found in the USPS database of valid mailing addresses. Further, a DPV score of 3 and 4 typically indicates that portions of the address were valid but with a critical piece missing for making mail delivery flawless.

There are a lot of details returned with this service, such as features that help save on shipping costs or allow for processing the fragments of an address when companies have limited space on labels, and much, much more. The service returns a lot of codes that can help you understand the changes that were made to an address during the validation as well as error codes to tell you what went wrong.

What Address Validation – Canada 2 does

DOTS Address Validation – Canada 2 is the Canadian counterpart to Address Validation 3. The goal of the service is very similar to the goal of Address Validation 3, but due to the nature of available Canadian data it does not have all of the same type of fields. For instance, it does not have DPV scores. If this service does not return an error then you are looking at a valid address. But like Address Validation 3, it does have correction codes to guide you through the changes that were made. Since Canada is bilingual Address Validation – Canada 2 allows for French and English validations based on a Language input flag.

How Lead Validation – International is different

The magnitude of the differences here is not so large when it comes to the address component. Just like EV3 and the other components, Lead Validation – International benefits by evaluating the address with other data points outside the address component values. A perfect address in Address Validation – International may not have an address certainty score of 100 in Lead Validation – International, however, because some of the other components may have not been a good match for the address. In general there may be good reasons to penalize an address or good reasons to increase its score, based on the other components. Again, the address component in Lead Validation – International is not a strict address validation.

Name Validation 2 versus the NV component

What Name Validation 2 does

Users can use DOTS Name Validation 2 to validate names, verify name accuracy, fix unordered names and return gender information, among other details. In essence it gives you insight into a name, even providing similar names to the name in question, as well as outputs such as name origin, vulgarity, celebrity, bogus and garbage name scores. These are just a few of the main results from the service.

How Lead Validation – International is different

So what is different? Most of the things mentioned in the Name Validation 2 service can be found in Lead Validation – International, however only to varying degrees. For instance, the Name Validation 2 outputs for vulgarity, celebrity, bogus, and garbage are scores, while in Lead Validation – International they are flags, which means that the Name Validation 2 product will return greater resolution when it comes to these kinds of result fields. Lead Validation – International will have less detail on the name component, but it is not designed as a name validation service, so even in this situation this component is again evaluated in context of the lead and not the name alone.

Summary

We intentionally did not go through all the components in Lead Validation – International, because the examples above all make our main point: the underlying services work in a silo, and Lead Validation – International does not. Component results from Lead Validation – International are tightly associated with each other to help people make decisions on the whole lead, rather than just the individual components of a lead.

The decision between using one or more component services versus Lead Validation – International is tightly tied to your project requirements. For example, you might use Lead Validation – International if you have a couple or more components that you want to make larger decisions upon and don’t have a heavy requirement for the underlying component to lead the way. Conversely, if you are doing email marketing and don’t have much need for the other components then Email Validation 3 is better suited, because you’ll have access to better email data points. The same can be said for the other components.

Of course, the best way to determine which combination of services is best for your project is to talk about it. Reach out to us and we’ll go over, in detail, the advantages and disadvantages in each scenario. We are always available to help you make the best decision and make your project a success.