We live in the age of data. The rate at which we can collect, store and analyse information is unprecedented. And for the time being, this is a trend that is only set to continue. With so much data at our fingertips, filling our sales pipeline with promising B2B leads is simple - right?
For many organisations, turning data into sales funnel is an uphill battle. Not all data is created equal, and along with all the valuable data there are often just as many invaluable records that can detract from the overall success of a B2B lead generation campaign. Funnelling the good from the bad is not often as easy as it might first seem.
Consider these 6 steps to achieve data enhancement and prevent bad data from your killing campaign progress:
- Buyer Personas –
The first step is obviously to know what the good data looks like in order to start filtering out the bad. A Buyer Persona is a complete profile of a fictitious ideal buyer based on unique target market profile; from demographic data to interactions and behaviours with your brand. Once you have outlined how your market segments into the different buyer personas it is important that all members of your team are able to use this information to effectively target your prospects.
- Target Accounts –
Your target accounts should be the embodiment of your Buyer Personas and good data. Selecting target accounts purely for reasons such as deep pockets can end nastily. These are the accounts that your team will be focusing a large portion of their resources on – make sure these are positive personas and will guarantee a good ROI by ensuring that they are a good fit for your solution or services.
- Data Profiling –
Profiling the data, you have is the most effective way of weeding the bad data from the good. No matter how your information was acquired – be it digital or direct sources – it isn’t always complete, correct, or in date. Spending time working your data to grow its potential as well as expanding your contact list, enables your team to target the organisations and decision makers effectively. The more data you have on potential buyers, the easier it is to sell. Monitor information about your prospects that could give you an indication of when they may be most willing to engage – e.g. the technology in use and contract expiry dates. Don’t forget about your old lead data, just make sure you strike when they are ready to engage.
- Data Set Size –
The size and nature of the data set you choose to start off with can also have a lasting impact on the success of your campaign. By nature, your sales team are always on the hunt for the biggest and freshest leads – targeting the ones they judge to have the biggest reward rate. With a data set that is too large many of the “not so ideal but still valuable” prospects will be overlooked as your sales team flock to what they perceive to be the bigger prize. Alternatively, with a data set that is too small the pool of potential prospects who are commencing their buying cycle and are therefore willing to engage with your sales team is proportionally smaller. Of the biggest concerns with a small data set is overworking; so if the pool becomes too small, then it will become too difficult to support the successful delivery of a lead generation campaign.
To avoid either of these scenarios it is important to understand the methods by which your team approach and analyse the available data sets. Use your buyer personas and profiling capabilities to identify the optimal data set for the size of your sales team.
- Marketing Mix –
The different lead generation strategies you deploy will often collect information of different types and natures and sometimes with varying degrees of credibility. To ensure that there is consistency across both your direct and digital approaches it is best to first identify the information about your prospects that you would deem essential; desirable and additional. Segmenting your data like this means that you can then develop processes for reliably collecting this information across all of the channels available to you without overwhelming your prospect.
- Lead Identification & Prospect staging –
With your data set all primped, primed and raring to go there’s only one thing left to do before you let your team loose. It might seem unnerving to admit but some of the biggest contributors to bad data are your own team. As your team work through the data they are tasked with documenting their engagements and progress – often catalogued through a staging system. When members of the team all apply their own understanding of this staging system and begin to leave incomplete or misleading notes on a contact profile they contaminate what was previously good data. By ensuring that everyone interacting with the data is highly aware of the qualities that identify a lead and are able to accurately categorise a contact is the number one step in eliminating bad data.
It would be anyone’s ideal scenario that all the data collected would fall neatly into the category of good data – highly relevant, specific, complete and up-to-date. The reality is that data exists in all its forms and it is up to us to streamline our process in order to be able to quickly identify the data that is most relevant for our B2B Lead Generation requirements.