I have spent 15 years in software technology creating marketing content: for different types of users, buyers, phases of the purchasing cycle, industries and solution areas…and on and on. As content is being developed, I typically work with campaign teams to determine how to make the content available through various marketing channels, including the use of marketing automation to provide content through email lead nurturing or other promotional mechanisms.
Marketing automation systems can be configured with sophisticated actions for each lead, with automation flows typically based on end-user interactions (e.g., where the user is navigating on the website; or, what asset/offer the user has requested). While it is possible to determine a logical next-best-action based on these interactions, there is a fundamental limitation in this approach – it doesn’t take into account the individual details of the lead.
In order to have a more customer-centric approach in your marketing efforts, you need the right data about each lead so that you can provide more personalized, more targeted content to create strong, lasting engagement. Unfortunately, most marketers are held back by three major problems in getting the data they need.
1. Problem: lack of data completeness
When it comes to taking the best next action for a B2B marketing lead, it helps to have as much information about both the person and the company where the person works. But there is only so much information you can ask for before you lose the lead. Multiple studies have shown that increasing the number of fields on a web form results in lower conversion rates. Once you go beyond 5 input fields, conversion drops rapidly, so trade-offs need to be made on what you can reasonable ask for without reducing lead volume. Having a lead enrichment solution allows marketers to keep forms short and simple, and then append the business information you need through a trusted 3rd-party data provider. And with a wealth of information that you can add to the lead record, now you can determine the best campaign or next step based on the additional knowledge about each individual.
2. Problem: lack of data reliability
If I asked you for your company’s annual revenue, would you be able to tell that to me without having to look it up? How about employee count? How about the primary industry code(s) that apply to your company’s products/services? For most people, these will be educated guesses if they are trying to complete a form, and in many cases people will just choose the top item from pull-down or just enter something in order to move on…so, what value can you really get from this data if you don’t even know how reliable it is? Again, a lead enrichment solution can provide validated data that is both more precise that what you can get through a lead form, as well as data that is continually updated so that it is always current.
3. Problem: lack of data relevance
Besides the basic facts that every marketer collects on their inbound leads, what other information could really make a difference in how you should interact with the lead? How about whether the company where that person works is really the subsidiary of another company that you already do business with? Or, what if there is already an existing sales rep relationship with lead? In both these cases, having this data should alter the way that your marketing systems behave…unfortunately, most companies wall off their inbound marketing data from their sales data until they have “qualified” it, when it may already be qualified without having to go through a series of marketing interactions. By being able to quickly cross-reference inbound lead data against data in your CRM, you will have a more relevant understanding of your leads and can take more intelligent actions to move them from leads to customers.