The Most Common Types of Bad Leads (And How We Help Detect and Correct Them)

How big of a problem are bad leads? According to recent figures from various sources, bad data costs American businesses over $3 trillion dollars per year, and over 10% of revenues for many of them. But many of these losses are preventable with proper data hygiene.

This article looks at some of the most frequent issues with marketing leads in your contact database, together with what kinds of automated solutions are available to address them.

Where bad leads come from

One of the most important things to understand about bad leads is that no matter how careful you are about data entry – or qualifying leads on the front end – bad leads are still a fact of life for any contact database.

Here are some of the more common problems you will encounter.

Bogus leads: For as long as lead generation has existed, there will always be people who want the goodies you offer, but don’t want to be on your marketing list – for example, window shoppers, competitors, or people who aren’t in your market. Using our comprehensive DOTS Lead Validation product, you can use both our confidence and quality score to determine which leads are viable, actionable leads.  We also have individual validation tools for specific contact record fields, like:

  • mailing address
  • email address
  • phone number
  • first and last names (detect celebrity, vulgar and garbage)

Incomplete leads: Depending on your intake process, leads may be missing critical data for subsequent marketing efforts, such as phone numbers or email addresses. Our DOTS Lead Enhancement products are designed to verify and append contacts’ USPS-certified addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and names, for your leads, and for specific telemarketing applications, DOTS Phone Append can search and append business and consumer phone numbers while identifying the line type.

Data decay: The one constant in life is change, and this is particularly true for business leads. Nearly a quarter of your leads go bad every year due to moves, job changes, new contact information, or other causes. Lead Validation not only checks the accuracy but the consistency of lead data, to help ensure accurate and up-to-date contact information.

Business versus residential: Suppose you are selling an expensive B2B solution, and your lead is a student in a dorm room who ordered your latest report for a class project and will never buy. Lead Validation can check whether a lead has a business or residential address, and weight the lead score appropriately. You can even cater your business logic to harshly grade a residential lead address, helping make better business decisions before your sales team even picks up the phone.

Duplicate leads: Someone signs up for your list as in two different places with slight variations in their address. Or they enter their address with the suite number in different places. Or they simply sign up multiple times. Our flagship DOTS Address Validation products will verify and standardize address data to make removing duplicates a snap.  This blog does a great job of describing how to use the USPS’ barcode to detect duplicates.

Potential fraud: Some leads have potential red flags that raise caution – for example, a domestic street address and an IP address from a known high-risk country, or a disposable or bot email address. Lead Validation detects each of these cases, and factors them into our assessment of lead quality.

In addition to these situations, some of the more important cases of bad leads are found by cross-referencing what may be individually good data: for instance, a name or address doesn’t match the lead’s phone record. Lead Validation checks over 130 data points as part of assessing a quantitative lead quality score between 0 and 100.

Bad leads: a solvable problem

The good news about bad leads is that you can manage this problem as a business process, with the help of a little automation. By combining good data entry and data hygiene practices with API-based tools that integrate directly with your marketing automation and CRM platforms, you can avoid many of the cost, manpower and regulatory compliance issues that spring from bad contact data.

Want to learn more? Download our free whitepaper Marketing with Bad Contact Data: A Recipe for Disaster, or contact us anytime.